ISLAMABAD: The Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) began at the Federal College of Education, H-9, with a Teachers’ Literature Festival on Thursday.
The festival aims to promote reading, self-expression, critical thinking and creativity in children outside the classroom. However, it goes without saying that for children to gain an interest in reading outside the classroom, they must first enjoy to read within it.
The teachers’ festival focused on various topics along this basic theme: ‘methods of teaching that hold children’s interest and their attention’.
Among many others, the festival featured a session by actor and director Adeel Hashmi, titled ‘Understanding Faiz Ahmed Faiz in the Classroom’. Hashmi spoke on the values teachers should instill in “my country’s children”. He gave the examples of how these values could be seen in iconic Pakistani literary figures such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Allama Iqbal.
Hashmi spoke asked the teachers to teach the children the importance of justice and hope. He discussed the value of dreams and said children be encouraged to dream as big as they can, and also talked about the importance of peaceful rebellion. He added that teachers should focus on instilling in their students a love of their language, Urdu.
These locks of illiteracy regarding their own language should be unlocked. He also discussed religiosity with the students so that they may understand the difference between following one’s religion and making an exhibition of it.
Hashmi peppered these guidelines with his trademark humour as well as references to the life and work of Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
Filmmaker Samar Minallah held a session titled ‘Use of new media in the classroom’. The session focused specifically on the use of media such as film and music in teaching.
She explained how the use of ‘new media’ can make it easier to approach difficult, and sometimes even controversial, topics with children. She used an example of a video on child rights and explained how short clips can be used to generate a discussion. She said videos could encourage children to think about the difficulties faced by others within their society. The session included some short documentary-style clips and other music videos. Minallah used these videos to highlight how new media can serve to embolden children and lower stress levels when it comes to schoolwork. She also illustrated how children can be taught about difficulties faced by other children around the country through positive stories that promoted hope, as opposed to the destruction and negativity found on the news.