Exploring Gender Roles Through the Story of Malala Yousafzai

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  1. My cultural studies unit plan will focus on gender roles. We will be reading Malala Yousafzai’s story titled: I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban. Malala was the youngest recipient to win the Nobel Peace Prize and is around the same age as my students. By reading this book and learning about Malala I hope that my students realize that women are just as strong as men and that no one should be doubted despite age, gender, race, etc. My students will be able to see the horrifying truth that there are children around the world who have to fight for their education, and many who get punished for fighting for what they believe in. Malala should and I’m sure will inspire my students to fight for what they believe in and possibly even advocate for those who cannot stand up for themselves. I would love to have many resources for my unit plan such as guest speakers, as well as websites that are helpful for my students to better understand Malala and the idea of gender roles as it applies to her life. I realize that teaching this subject may cause students to focus more on the role of women, but I want it to be a more compare and contrast kind of thing to show the power of women and men. Mostly, I want my students to feel as passionately about Malala’s story as I do. Malala started fighting for education when she was just eleven years old and she got shot by the Taliban when she was 15 years old.
  2. I will begin the unit by asking the students to brainstorm everything they know about the Taliban and about Malala. Once they are done we will share and make a large list. Then I will ask them how gender roles can play a role in learning about the Taliban and Malala. The first day of the unit will focus on a brief outline of what we will cover during the next few weeks. I hope the students will get excited about learning about this topic after the first day. The second day I will pass out a copy of Malala’s autobiography to each student. We will go over the schedule of reading (what they should have read each day, week, and so on) and we will also briefly discuss the final project tied in with unit. I hope during the unit plan to bring in a guest speaker, maybe a woman in the community who has broke the glass ceiling and has accomplished something major or maybe a war veteran who can talk about the Taliban. I plan on showing videos of interviews with Malala in class, we will do small projects along the way such as posters, poems, and so on. My students will also be doing research on the Taliban and on Malala throughout the unit, by the end of the unit they will all practically be experts on the subject. Each day we will all partake in discussions where questions and opinions can be brought up, this will foster their thinking and further extend their knowledge and ability to talk with their peers about a meaningful subject.
  3. I will encourage my students to do a close reading of this text. I’m hoping that they get so involved in their reading that they will highlight, make notes, bring in questions, etc., anything for them to really grasp the concept. By having a schedule of assigned reading my students will keep up with each other and there will be daily or weekly checks to make sure they students are in fact doing their reading. If there are students who struggle with reading I will set aside some time to read with them, or make sure a parent or guardian in their house knows that their child is reading an important text and they might need a little assistance with it.
Week One:
  • Day One: Brainstorm what we know about the Taliban, Malala and Gender Roles in text
  • Day Two: Assign book, with scheduled reading instruction and read the first chapter out loud together
  • Day Three: Discuss the final paper that will be written
*Daily Discussion
*End of the week quick quiz
Week Two:
*Guest speaker comes in
*Watch video interviews of Malala
*Daily Discussion
*End of the week quick quiz
*Make poster about gender roles stereotypes
*Library research for final paper
Week Three
*Daily Discussion
*End of the week quick quiz
*Continue research
*Watch movie “He Named Me Malala”
*Begin final paper
Week Four
*Finish book
*Have test on the book with essay questions
*Finish research and final questions
Week Five
*Final paper due Monday of Week Five
Week Six
*Final papers are returned to students to be discussed