If you want students to truly understand and care about the experiences of others around the world, you need to make them feel something. Documentaries and even fictional movies can move students in a profound way. He Named Me Malala follows teenage activist Malala Yousafzai as she travels the world on a mission to make sure all girls have equal opportunities. Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban on her way to school in Pakistan. She was transported to the United Kingdom where she faced months of recovery.
The documentary not only follows Malala since the shooting, but it also focuses on the strength of her father. As a Malala states in the film she is a normal girl, but her father is the one who is not typical. Even though Pakistani fathers would not typically encourage their daughters to speak out, Malala’s mission is strengthed by the support of her father. Her father also risked death by speaking out against the Taliban.
After watching the film, my students asked important questions.
“How is it possible for Malala to not feel angry at her attackers?”
“Why did she not give up?”
Not only did my students learn about political issues in Pakistan, but they learned important life lessons about grit, equality, and love. What more can you want from a lesson.
He Named Me Malala is available on Amazon or Hulu.
- Use excerpts from Malala’s book I am Malala (available on Amazon) to enhance the students’ understanding of the topic.
- Have students pretend they are in Malala’s situation and write a journal explaining how they would feel in her position.