“Our stories shape our identities. The strength of Girl Rising is in the way the girls bravely rise up and challenge us to value their stories. Value our own stories. To move past the limitations of our stories to the possibilities. To want to be the change we seek.”
School: North Broward Preparatory School, Coconut Creek, FL (IB School)
Grades: 11 and 12
Subject: IB Language and Literature
Number of Students: 61
What was your goal in bringing Girl Rising into your classroom?
As an English IB Language and Literature educator, the Girl Rising documentary meets the spirit of the IB programme “to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet, help to create a better and more peaceful world.” Girl Rising is a perfect curriculum text for my student learning outcomes "to develop an understanding of non-literary texts and a variety of perspectives, cultural contexts, and local and transnational global issues and an appreciation of how they contribute to diverse responses and open up multiple meanings.”
How did you use and teach Girl Rising? Please be as specific as possible.
I created a five-week lesson that embedded the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Girl Rising into the Language and Literature curriculum. It included:
Introduction of International Mindedness and Thinking globally; Acting locally.
The UN Sustainability Goals and Intersectionality
PBL Group Project on the UN Sustainability SDG Goals and Intersectionality
Study of the documentary Girl Rising and codes and conventions of the documentary as a text type
Students formative reflections on Girl Rising as part of their IB Learner Portfolio
At the end of their junior year, students could choose to use GR for the IB Oral Assessments as their non-literary body of work to link with a literary body of work studied, and a Global issue and field of inquiry.
The learning outcomes of for this unit of work were:
Develop an understanding between literary and non-literary texts and a variety of perspectives, cultural contexts, and local and transnational global issues and an appreciation of how they contribute to diverse responses and open up multiple meanings.
Explore a variety of global issues and non-literary bodies of work, in this instance, the documentary Girl Rising and reflect in their Learner Portfolios.
Gather and develop ideas on how texts studied deal with global issues before selecting one issue for their IB Assessed Orals.
Which Girl Rising chapters did you screen?
From your perspective as an educator, what is the strength of Girl Rising?
The strength of GIrl Rising lies in the authentic narrative voices of the girls, filmically artistic, intimately evocative; the poetry and the pain and the resilience woven throughout. In the classroom and outside of the classroom, we are all our stories. Our stories shape our identities. The strength of Girl Rising is in the way the girls bravely rise up and challenge us to value their stories. Value our own stories. To move past the limitations of our stories to the possibilities. To want to be the change we seek.
What was the impact of the Girl Rising experience on your students?
My 61 students come from 16 different countries, so the power of the experience resonated and impacted in a diverse cultural way based on gender and identity. Roughly a third of my students chose to use GIrl Rising as their non-literary body of work for the English IB Language and Literature Oral assessment. More significantly, two years later as graduating seniors, many of them want to be the change-makers for Girl’s Education. Their inner landscape has an expanded lens, which hopefully leaves a legacy on how they co-create a more just and equitable world for girls and women. Perhaps, the beautiful words of one of my students says it best, “I believe if this documentary was watched by every person on this planet, our world could evolve into what we pray for.”
Did the experience of teaching Girl Rising affect your teaching process in any way? If so, how?
As an international educator and life-long advocate for womens’ social and educational justice, the wider mission of the work Girl Rising does worldwide, (as well as the UN SDG’s) is symbiotic with my values and mission. I was able to embed the UN Sustainable Goals, and their intersectionality with my teaching of the Girl Rising documentary form in a manner that fostered deeper critical thinking skills to prepare my students for how they might analyze Girl Rising and a global issue in relation to the literature we study. I believe students could negotiate their own meaning of the documentary in ways that lends a depth of focus to the lens of our global world.
Any final thoughts?
Girl Rising matters to me in a deeply holistic way, as an educator, as a woman, as a global citizen.
Ariste asked some of her students how Girl Rising impacted them. Here is what one student said.
After watching the documentary “Girl Rising”, I understood the title and the reasoning behind it. During the documentary, the last girl touched my heart the most, (even though they all deeply touched me). She lived in a society where girls at the age of 12 had to experience motherhood by force. They didn’t get the chances to fall in love or pursue their own versions of happiness or achieve their aspirations. This particular girl inspired me to not allow any limitations interfere with my aspirations. I felt a deep level of pain for the girls; seeing the inhumane lifestyles they lived broke my heart and made me angry because no human should live life the way they do. I believe if this documentary was watched by every person on this planet, our world could evolve into what we pray for. A world where human rights are available for all, a world where the freedom of choice is not questionable. A big majority of people around the world are aware of what’s going on in different countries, but not everyone. The documentary was an eyeopener, it didn’t hide the pain or the realities in certain countries. It was raw and honest which I think is why it allowed me as an audience to deeply connect to it. After watching this documentary, I had the urge to do something. I want to do something to help those girls to live a life that they deserve. I want to take their suffering away. I want to change how their countries expect girls to live. I want to give them their basic human rights, and never did I realize how much I take my human rights for granted.
- J. Khalil, Graduate 2021