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The Learning
A film by Ramona Diaz
US, 2011, 98 minutes, Color, DVD, US, English/Filipino, English subtitles
Order No. W121045
One hundred years ago, American teachers established the English-speaking public school system of the Philippines. Now, in a striking turnabout, American schools are recruiting Filipino teachers. THE LEARNING, from award-winning filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz (IMELDA), is the story of four Filipina women who reluctantly leave their families and schools to teach in Baltimore. With their increased salaries, they hope to transform their families' lives back in their impoverished country. This absorbing, beautifully crafted film follows these teachers as they take their place on the frontline of the No Child Left Behind Act. Across the school year's changing seasons, the film chronicles the sacrifices they make as they try to maintain a long-distance relationship with their children and families, and begin a new one with the mostly African-American students whose schooling is now entrusted to them. Their story is intensely personal, as each woman deals with the implications of her decision to come to the US, and fundamentally public, as they become part of the machinery of American education reform policy.


Video Librarian's 2012 Best Documentaries
2011 IDA Humanitas Award, Nomination

  • Urbanworld Film Festival
  • San Diego Asian Film Festival
  • Silverdocs Documentary Festival
  • Asian American International Film Festival
  • Maryland Film Festival

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    "Few real-life narratives can be more involving or inspiring than a teacher's impact on students. ...Packed to the gills with human interest."

    "...illuminating, absorbing documentary...Diaz's heroines become the unforgettable faces of a story all the more shocking for being so little-known."
    The Washington Post

    'The Learning' is like no other teaching film you've ever seen -- it sensitizes you in fresh and unexpected ways to the transactions between instructors and students... The film raises multiple questions without hitting you over the head."
    The Baltimore Sun

    "The Learning shows what happens in the little-understood urban reality when good and great educators are thrown into a dysfunctional system. ...Being a good or great teacher is not necessarily enough, however, in order to be an effective teacher. ...And a first step is honestly looking at ourselves in the mirror that Ramona Diaz holds in front of us."
    The Huffington Post

    "Highly recommended to people who are interested in knowing about the lives of internationally hired teachers... This film hopefully will raise the awareness of top decision makers and encourage discussion among concerned people."
    Educational Media Review On-Line

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    The Learning is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us