Monday 2 June was our second session with Webster Primary school group of girls and their Mothers. We ran two sessions to make up for missing a session in their half term last week. The first session was about People and Communities, and the second session was about Role Models.
People and Communities
The first activity for this was to create a memory circle where we explored what activities everyone enjoyed, with an aim to bringing out a theme that these activities are non-gendered, anyone can enjoy swimming, reading, playing with kittens!
The next stage of this continued exploring what the possibilities are for everyone. We put photographs of different people in different job roles up on the walls, we asked the girls to stand in small groups by each photo and they all had two minutes at each one to put up post its for what the job was, what the person’s duties were, and also what qualities they needed to do that job. Here is a summary of what they wrote:
Teacher (female) – ‘helps people in life!’, ‘Make sure people get the right education’, ‘bossy!’, ‘Be good’ ‘teach well’, ‘help children become better people’, ‘clever’, ‘helps people in life/education for a job’.
Politician (Barack Obama) – ‘He is president of America’, ‘he has to care for people and be confident and stand up to people’s rights’, ‘kind’, ‘he looks after America fully’, ‘makes sure the country is fine and safe’, ‘listen to others, saying his speeches, standing up for his rights, talks confidently’.
Dancer (male) – ‘this is a gymnast man he does different shapes on his body’, ‘this is karate he fights bad people’, ‘dancer maybe for keeping fit or fun’, ‘this job needs to have perseverance, you need to work hard’.
Doctor (female)- ‘Doctor helps people if hurt’, ‘be prepared to see blood!’, ‘makes sure people are healthy’, ‘saves people lives, giving the right medicine’, ‘helps people survive when they are ill’.
Firefighter (females)- ‘be brave, be up for anything, be prepared and come to the rescue’, ‘these are firemens they help people get out of the fire’, ‘save people’s lives’, ‘be brave and proud’, ‘help others’, ‘be patient’, ‘rescue people from fire or something related!’, ‘Help animals stuck in trees’, ‘these people are fireman ladies’.
We choose a mix of men and women to represent different roles; some of the girls couldn’t help referring to the firefighters as male although they were female firefighters in the picture. This gendering of the role is confusingly expressed in the last statement: ‘These people are fireman ladies’. We used this example to draw out that no job is gendered, and that although we might be used to saying firemen women can also be firefighters.
There was a really interesting discussion around politics, one of the parents saying that they were interested in politics because the world needed to change, which is quite an inspiring statement.
They then created a comic strip in twos and threes for a day in the life of one of the job roles, here is one for a Doctor:
Then we had a break!
This was our third session with girls and mothers. The session started with a short video, which you can find below, of a British Muslim young woman talking about her job and her faith. This was a great start to a discussion that kept coming back to the idea that everyone deserves equality, as the mothers said in their discussion, ‘treat others how you’d treat yourself’.
In small groups we created mind maps to look at qualities of a role model, and who our role models were. Then two people from each group presented their poster and spoke about what they’d discussed.
We asked the mothers to work in a group together on this activity rather than having them scattered amongst the girls, so that we could get more discussion of their own interests and role models.
They drew on their faith listing: Prophet Muhammed, Nelson Mandela, Hamza Yusuf, Maya Angelou, and Mother Khadija. Mother Khadija is known as mother of the orphans, you can read about her on the Islamic e-book website. It speaks about her taking in children, daughters, whose fathers did not want them. The mothers had role models who are political, philosophical, active in helping others and embracing of humanity:
“The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.” – Hamza Yusuf
The girls spoke about a range of role models, from Anne Frank and Nelson Mandela, Princess Kate and Queen Elizabeth, Allah, Mum and Dad, sisters. A photograph of Malala was up on the PowerPoint, we kept it there throughout the sessions to give an example of a role model who was very recent and is still giving support to issues such as FGM, BringBackOurGirls while studying for her GCSE’s. As soon as they saw the photo they said her name, and were obviously interested and excited to see her.
One girl had some idea of what had happened to her, but none of them knew that she had survived being shot while fighting for rights to education!
We shared our own role models to close the session and talked about how they had inspired us. Another small activity was to reflect on what job they would like to do when they grow up.
I’ll close with some quotes from the sessions:
“I want to be a writer and to be a writer you must think outside the box.”
“My mother is my role model because she raises money for poor people.”
“If you smile, smile for your family” (from the mother’s role model poster)
“I want to be a nurse and you have to know how to treat people well.”