This week we have a post by Luzan Mattar, a teacher at Beach Elementary Co-ed (C) UNRWA school, Beach Camp, Gaza who has been coordinating HUP sessions in her school for a long time now. Luzan is very interested in using drama activities and her students performed one of my favourite plays in last years’s competition – ‘I will wait till they open the gate’ . Here though she writes about a strategy for involving students who feel less confident about acting in front of others.
Teaching English as a second language for Palestinian children is a big challenge, especially under the tough circumstances they live in. Palestinian teachers are always looking for suitable techniques that may facilitate and support their process of learning English. So the Hands Up Project has been a golden opportunity for the children in our care. It’s their chance to practice English through drama and the online sessions in which they can express their ideas, feelings and emotions freely. They also have a lot of fun during the online sessions and they feel they can improve their English very easily like this . The playwriting competition made their dreams come true and stimulates their creativity by enabling them to write and perform things that express their life and dreams in the real world. The competition opened a window to the whole world to tell other people around the world the truth about Palestinian life.
Although lots of students at school want to participate in hands up project online sessions and participate in writing and performing plays, still we have students who are not brave enough to do so. I tried to find a way that may help these students to be involved too. So I thought about asking them to write their own stories, or rewrite a story they like in their own words and to make an animation out of it. This technique was really good because it encouraged the shyer students to get involved in the world of storytelling and they were excited and motivated by doing it. Then when they watched the animation of their stories it helped them feel braver about speaking English in their regular classes.
Here’s a short film of some of the animated stories my students made..