This post is the first of three in which I share my thoughts and reflections related to the film, Girl Rising, and the ongoing campaign to educate girls and change the world.
My quest to explore girls' education in developing countries began several months ago when the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Cake & Whiskey sent me the trailer for the film Girl Rising and asked if I would consider writing an article for the do-gooding column of her magazine's fall issue. Well, one look at the trailer, and who could resist?
In honor of International Day of the Girl, I used a chapter from the film, Girl Rising, with my students who are pre-service teachers. In this university class we are always discussing standards and how to teach them. Not only do we discuss how to teach the standards, we practice teaching the standards. I model lessons, and the students also create their own lessons which they teach to their classmates. While I think it's important these pre-service teachers leave the class with a thorough understanding of standards based instruction and curriculum design, I also think it's important for them to leave inspired and motivated to engage learners in the world.
Suma inspires us. Wearing a bright orange and yellow sari and a serious look on her face, Suma rides her bicycle along tree lined roads as she takes us on a journey to the various homes where she lived and worked as a bonded servant or Kamlari for much of her young life. At six years of age, her parents sold her into bonded servitude to ensure she would always have shelter and food. She lived with different masters and was treated unfairly and even beaten, until a school teacher entered her life at age 11.
For example, consider this question: How do you feel about Suma’s situation when she was a young girl? Would you define serving as a kamlari to be slavery? do you feel her parents had a choice about whether to sell her as a kamlari? Why or why not?
As a class we discuss how to modify the vendor-created viewing guide to make sure it really would be aligned to the standards, but we proceed with caution. We want to maintain the humanity of the situation and the important issues and at the same time ensure comprehension of the text.
A sample of our class revisions:
Instead of--How do you feel about the social worker's determination?
Let's use this--How did the social worker's determination impact Suma's life and the life of the girls around Suma?
I was really proud of the students for the modifications they made to the viewing guide. They left the class with smiles on their faces and determination in their steps because they know they will have an impact on adolescents in their classrooms both in America and abroad. Many of them also recorded the date for our Lexington, KY Girl Rising Screening in their phones because they intend to attend and look for ways they will take action as well.
If you live in the area, please consider joining us on November 6th for the viewing at The Kentucky Theatre.
Part 2 of my thoughts & reflections on Girl Rising will post on October 16th, Blog Action Day. Part 3 will post after our viewing on November 6th.