I first heard of ‘Show and Tell’ when my eldest son, who’s now 24, told me he needed to get ready for it at his primary school in the UK. The basic idea is that children take in an object which has some personal significance to them. It could be one of their favourite possessions, a picture of one of their favourite people or a place they’ve been to, or something related to one of their hobbies. They then are given some time to show the object to the rest of the class, and to tell everyone why it is important for them.
Given the obsession with targets, curriculum and exams in UK primary schools in recent years I’ve always felt that this was a very welcome break from all that for children – a rare moment of personalisation and an opportunity to develop their confidence by actually talking about something that matters to them. Of course Show and Tell isn’t a new idea; here’s the classic moment in the Film ‘Kes’ by Ken Loach where the main character, Caspar gets to stand in front of the class and talk about his pet kestrel.
I also think that Show and Tell is a great thing to do in the online sessions that we do with young people in Palestine – either with their HUP volunteer, or when linking to a class of similar age young people somewhere in the world.
Last Autumn I spend a month travelling around the Balkans to establish links between schools in Palestine and schools there and we did this activity with schools in Croatia, Montenegro, and Kosovo.
So here’s 15 year old Mislav, in a state grammar school in Split, Croatia connecting to a group of similar age in Rafah, Gaza. He’s telling the story of how he got his first Lego set when he was a little boy by persuading his granny to buy it for him.
And here’s Amal in Rafah talking about the ring that her best friend gave to her and which she’ll always treasure.
And this is Katja showing her Beatles badge and talking about how this band has had a big influence on her life. The girls in Gaza didn’t know the Beatles so we ended up sharing the song ‘Yesterday’ on youtube with them and this led to a discussion about well known Palestinian singers, eventually leading to the girls in Gaza all coming up to the webcam and singing a song by the Palestinian winner of Arab Idol, Mohammad Assaf.
I’ve started to think that the online version of ‘Show and tell’ might actually be even more motivating than the face to face version. For a start, there’s something very powerful about holding the object right up to the webcam so that it can be seen really clearly. It’s also perhaps more meaningful, and certainly more moving, when students who live in completely different contexts discover that perhaps they have more in common than they might previously have thought.
And here’s one such moment when Maram, a 13 year old student in an UNRWA school in Gaza, and Eva a 13 year old student in a state school in Montenegro, discuss their shared hobby, horse riding.
This semester we’d like to encourage even more of these intercultural student to student connections so, wherever you are in the world, please get in touch with us if you’d like to arrange something similar in your school and Haya, our new administrator based in Gaza will sort it out.