Everybody loves Netflix. The video streaming service has seen exponential growth, especially during the pandemic, as more people turned to streaming entertainment to fill long hours. As prices for cable TV continue rising even as more content moves to streaming, many see services like Netflix as a cheaper alternative to pricey cable packages. But if you are looking to learn, can Netflix provide you with an education? In this article, we’ll take a look at the ten best educational movies on Netflix and talk a bit about what you can learn from them.
But first, we need to talk a little bit about what we mean by “educational.” There are many ways to define educational movies. They might be films that look to teach a new skill or new information. They may be movies meant to inspire. They might even be movies that are intended to depict the educational system and student life to inspire students. For our purposes, we’ll be considering documentaries and films that are intended to teach and to inspire.
Without further ado, here are our ten favorites on Netflix, in no particular order.
If You Build It (2013)
This documentary directed by Patrick Creadon was filmed in Windsor, North Carolina and follows a year in the life of a group of high school students as they work together to design and build a farmer’s market pavilion. This inspirational film will have you rooting for the students as they overcome challenges to create the first such pavilion designed and built entirely by high school students.
Race to Nowhere (2009)
This documentary directed by Vicki Abeles and Jessica Congdon explores issues related to homework-induced anxiety after Abeles’s middle-school-aged daughter became ill from the pressures of too much homework and too many extracurricular activities. This eye-opening examination of education will have you thinking about school and homework in a whole new way—and longing for some free time.
American Promise (2013)
This documentary directed by Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson follows two families through the prep school process over the course of thirteen years. The film explores the prep school world through the eyes of an African American family in the face of a persistent achievement gap that sees Black children underperforming their peers.
This documentary directed by Greg Whiteley explores the world of high school debate. High school debate teams have been the subject of many dramas and comedies, but in this award-winning feature, Whiteley takes us behind the scenes of a real high school debate championship as we explore what drives high school students to want to achieve at a high level.
Approaching the Elephant (2014)
This documentary by Amanda Wilder looks at Teddy McArdle Free School in Little Falls, New Jersey over the course of a year. What makes this school unique is that it does not have a curriculum or even a set of rules for students to follow. This film will make you think about what education can be and how we can best provide an inspiring and beneficial educational experience for students.
The Wolfpack (2015)
This documentary by Crystal Moselle explores the lives of a family homeschooling seven children in a small apartment in New York City. This documentary will leave you thinking about the role of family and how much of what we learn is shaped by the people around us, and what we gain from the broader world beyond our doors.
Girls Rising (2013)
This documentary by Richard Robbins examines the struggle of various girls to overcome cultural and social barriers. The documentary is connected with an organization of the same name which works to empower girls around the world. This documentary will inspire you with the strength and resistance of young women and what they can achieve.
On the Way to School (2014)
This documentary directed by Pascal Plisson will take you to Africa and India to look at the challenges that children face just getting to school—such as crossing mountain paths or dodging lions and elephants. By seeing what others go through to get an education, you’ll appreciate your own education that much more.
Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)
This documentary by Marilyn Agrelo follows a group of elementary school students in New York City as they take up ballroom dancing and compete in a dance competition. You’ll want to root for these kids!
Brooklyn Castle (2012)
This documentary by Kate Dellamaggiore follows the challenges and the triumphs of a middle school chess team during a time of unprecedented budget cuts and financial crises in the New York City school system.
If these movies have inspired you to go back to school, or you are a student already taking courses, you might need a little bit more inspiration to complete your studies than a movie can provide. When you need a bit more help than a movie can provide, you can always get assistance from professional academic writers who help students with their essays.
An online essay writing company like Smart Writing Service can be life saver when it comes to getting custom-written papers done fast and well. A professional essay, like a good movie, can inspire you to achieve more and show you approaches to your essays that you never thought possible. A great custom essay is never more than a click away.