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Women's Folk Traditions in North African Literature

A Group Project Abroad (GPA) by Casey Quirarte

Topic: Women’s Folk Traditions in North African Literature

Subject: World Literature/ Storytelling

Duration of Lesson(s): 2 Class Sessions

Grade Level: 6-12

Rationale: This lesson plan is a supplementary unit. It is designed to be used in conjunction with another larger unit, or it can stand on its own as a smaller unit in a World Literature class. The themes of this unit are Women’s Folk Literature in North Africa, common stereotypes of North African Women, folk tradition and oral history. A common stereotype of Arab women is that they are subjugated to men and are treated like goods and chattel, and in the Western world, we do not perceive the lives of Arab women as that of a” typically” human existence. This unit addresses the differentiation between public and private, male and female, restricted and unrestricted spaces in the Arab world. The goal of this unit is twofold: to teach students of the rich oral tradition (where women are often heroes) of North African Women while addressing and confronting traditional gender and social stereotypes that exist in our world. From the pre-writing activity (INTO), to the synthesis/reflection activity (BEYOND), students are engaged critically with the texts, and are invested in reshaping the way that they consider Arab women, while exploring the rich oral tradition that is present here. This unit includes a few select tales specifically from Morocco, but the final unit plan will be in a webquest format and include texts from a multitude of Arab countries for students and teachers to choose from.

Lesson Objective: Students will analyze selections from North African women’s folk tales and compare and contrast these to their prior
perceptions of these cultures. Reflect on the differences between your prior opinions and your newly acquired knowledge.

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