For students: We hope this two-page guide will help sharpen your reading skills and deepen your understanding of this issue’s articles.
For teachers: We encourage reproduction and adaptation of these ideas, freely and without further permission from Saudi Aramco World, by teachers at any level, whether working in a classroom or through home study.
— THE EDITORS
The cover story, and other articles in this issue of Saudi Aramco World, relate to the idea of “integration.” The following activities can help you explore it.
What does “integration” mean? Start by looking over “The Art of Integration.” Look at the photos and read the captions to get an idea of how photographer Peter Sanders is thinking about the concept. Then use a dictionary or the Internet to find a definition of integration that you think is suited to the article. Write it down. One way to clarify a definition—to really understand the shades of meaning in a word—is to explore other words that are related to the word you are defining. Working with a partner if you’d like, write answers to these questions:
- What is the difference between integration and assimilation?
- What is the relationship between integration and harmony?
- What is the relationship between integration and tolerance?
Look at the definition you started with, and at your answers to the two questions above. Use them to write a one-paragraph definition of integration. A paragraph gives you more space to explain the word than a dictionary entry would, but it still requires you to be concise. Share your paragraph with other students. Revise your definition in light of any new ideas you’ve got from your peers. Now, armed with your clear understanding of the term integration, turn your attention to the content of the magazine.
What is valuable about integration? What problems, if any, might it lead to?
Integration may be physical, like the integration of buses for black and white riders in the South in the 1950’s. It can also be more abstract. “Effat’s New Roses,” for example, describes a new college in Saudi Arabia. The college is only for women, so in that sense, it’s not integrated. And yet, if you read carefully, you can see that the mission of Effat College includes moves toward a different kind of integration. Find those ideas in the article and highlight them. Here are two hints: What language are courses taught in? What unusual majors are some students pursuing?
Take your answers to these questions, and develop a graphic that shows the worlds into which Effat College is integrating, as well as the cultural traditions the college is holding onto. Study your graphic. How are Effat’s students likely to benefit from integrating into the worlds that are opening to them? Now look at the other side: Do you think they might be losing something in the process? How are they likely to benefit from holding on to their society’s traditions? Keep your answers ready while you look at another instance of integration.
Read “A New Generation of Superheroes,” and then read the preview of The 99 Origins at www.teshkeel.com. How does the look of the comic compare to other comics you have seen? How does the story compare? Think about the comic book form. What does The 99 creator Naif Al-Mutawa say about why he chose the comic format for his stories? How is The 99 an example of integration? Who is likely to benefit from this integration? Who might oppose it? Why?
Now go back and look at your definition of integration, these two articles and the work you’ve done with them. Then role-play one of these dialogues: The first is between Naif Al-Mutawa and someone who doesn’t like the idea of presenting religious concepts in a comic book; the second is between Dean Haifa Jamal al-Lail of Effat College and someone who doesn’t like the fact that courses at the college include engineering and are taught in English.
How can visual images express integration?
The photo essay “The Art of Integration” includes beautiful photographs that show the integration of Muslims in the United Kingdom. In these activities, you’ll be looking at some of them.
Start with the two photos on page 24. Both include two people. One of the people in the top photo is film director Ovidio Salazar. Who do you think the other person is? (Use the caption to help you figure it out.) Think about what the photograph might symbolize about integration and the theme of the article, even its tone. Why do you think the two men are facing each other? Why are their eyes closed? Why is one in light while the other is in shadow? Why is this photo important? Contrast this photo with the smaller photo beneath it on the page. Who are the two men in that photo? How do light and shadow affect those images? What does this photo suggest about integration? Write your own caption that explains the symbolism about integration in these two photos.
Turn to the next photo spread, on pages 26–27, which focuses on the theme of integration as it relates to architecture. What do the Sultan Jahan Mosque and the part of the Moslem Cemetery shown in the photo to its left have in common? How do they differ from the Jamiyat Tabligh al-Islam building? Look in your community for buildings in different architectural styles. In a group, photograph some of them, and bring your photos to class. Which buildings reflect a culture’s traditions? (Which cultures?) These might be religious traditions, if it’s a place of worship. Or they might be historical and/or ethnic, if, for example, some of your town’s buildings come from an earlier century or from a colonial power or from a native people’s culture. Relate your photos to the theme of integration in the place you live.
Then, look at the photo taken at Cambridge University (pages 28–29) and the photo of Ayesha Qureshi on page 31. The first situates people in a traditional English setting; the second shows a person in a modern office building. How do the two photos express the theme of integration? What similar scenes might you see in your community? Or in the news? Or in another magazine?
Finally, look at the photo of the Globe Theater in London, pages 32–33. How does this image show the integration of Muslims into the uk? How is it also symbolic? Explain how the image expresses some of the complexities of immigration that you explored earlier.
Now do your own photo essay showing integration in your community. Use your architecture photos as a beginning. The integration might be taking place now, in which case you can take your own photographs; or it might have happened in the past, in which case you can look for photos at your local library or historical society. Put together your own essay, similar to “The Art of Integration.” Make it at least four pages. Include introductory text about integration in general and about your community specifically. Write captions for your photos. The captions should tell the reader about the photo, and also connect the photo to the theme. Copy the format of “The Art of Integration” as closely as you need to, keeping to the theme of your own community.
For most students, getting an education is more or less a full-time job—at least until you’re 18. But how much do you think and talk about your education? Do you think about how you learn? About how your classes suit your ways of learning? About what you want to get out of your education? With this issue, you will have a chance to think about questions like these as you read about a new college in Saudi Arabia.
Before you read “Effat’s New Roses,” think about your own education, and about your ideas about what makes for a good education. Start by writing answers to the following questions. Your answers are just to get you thinking. Don’t worry about perfecting the presentation.
- What do you like about school? What don’t you like about it?
- How much is your school part of your “education”?
- What do you want to get out of your education?
- What do your parents and teachers want you to get out of your education?
- If you could learn any way you wanted, how would you do it?
Take the thoughts you’ve jotted down, and working with a small group or as a class, discuss the questions and your answers.
Then read “Effat’s New Roses.”
What are the goals of education?
A School’s Goals
Begin thinking about this question by looking at Effat College. According to the article, what are the school’s goals? Make a list of them. You can add to your list, and expand what you know about the goals the article describes, by visiting Effat’s Web site at http://www.effatcollege.edu.sa.
Now turn to your own school’s goals. Your teachers and your school’s administrators give a lot of thought to what they want your school to accomplish—and what they want you to accomplish there. Find out about your school’s goals. As a class, come up with interview questions about your school’s goals. Start by interviewing your teacher about his or her goals. For the interview, assign different class members to ask the questions, take notes of the answers, record the answers if possible, and transcribe the recordings. Remember that part of your job is to be sure you understand what your teacher is saying to you. In other words, don’t let him or her hide behind jargon. For example, if your teacher talks about “critical thinking,” push for a definition of the term.
Then invite your school’s principal or headmaster to your class, and interview him or her about the school’s goals. How are the principal’s thoughts about goals similar to your teacher’s thoughts? How are they different?
You, as students, are the real focus of all this attention to education, schools and goals. So what about you? What do you want from your education? To answer the question, work with a group, and break the question down into subtopics. Make lists of your goals in these areas: Information you want to learn; skills you want to learn; social experiences; reaching career goals. Add any other subtopics that apply. Summarize your group’s goals. Make a Venn diagram to compare them to the goals your teacher and principal talked about. What does the diagram tell you?
How can schools and students reach those goals?
Look at Effat College’s goals. What does the article say about how the college tries to meet those goals? See if you can match up each goal on the list you made to different aspects of the school’s day- to-day operations. Think, for example, about class size, about what professors are expected to do and about what kind of environment the school strives for. Try the same exercise for your school’s goals. How is your school organized so that students will meet those goals? How do you think your school could be organized to help you reach your goals?
With your group, imagine that you have the chance to start your own school. Using the Effat College Web site as your guide, write your school’s vision and mission statements.
||Julie Weiss is an education consultant based in Lowell, Massachusetts. She holds a Ph.D. in American studies. Her company, Unlimited Horizons, develops social studies, media literacy and English as a Second Language curricula, and produces textbook materials.