Literacy for lifelong learning
On World Literacy Day in September 2021, the fifth graders at The Aga Khan School, Dhaka (AKS,D) completed class projects to demonstrate their literacy skills.
Student Tashnim Haq Biban authored her own retelling of the folk tale The Greedy Merchant, which is about how unrestrained greed brings misfortune to a wealthy merchant. She then re-scripted it into a puppet play, and performed it via live telecast to her peers, teachers and other participants of the school’s online World Literacy Day event.
Tashnim and her peers are learning to thrive in a rapidly changing world, where conventional ideas about literacy and learning are no longer sufficient for success. Teachers today talk about multiple types of literacy, many of which are evident in Tashnim’s project. Her live broadcast showcases digital literacy and ethical literacy, which are strong components of the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum offered by the school. Her ability to present the story in front of an audience is an example of functional literacy and her ability to navigate socially.
Every classroom at AKS,D has a mini library with word walls, books and reading materials that provide opportunities to learn and explore at every step. Literacy Weeks on campus have traditionally been colourful festivals of learning, with students dressing up as their favourite characters, preparing bookmarks and sharing book reviews of favourite stories, says homeroom teacher Ms. Sabina Tuli.
In response to the physical closure of libraries, staff held events to showcase eBooks and resources that were available to students online. They also organised author talks, brought guest readers (including parents and grandparents) into online classrooms, and organised games and activities associated with literacy — such as scavenger hunts and quizzes. They encouraged performances, such as the dramatisation of favourite stories and puppet shows at online storytelling sessions.
During these unprecedented times, we have all adapted to find new and innovative ways to ensure the continuity of education at AKS, D, whilst also expanding students’ inquiry and critical thinking skills – both of which are key components of the IB curriculum. And with this we have learned that the value of education today is not simply a function of how much students know, but how they are able to apply their learning in unique ways and thrive, which is evident in Tashnim’s project. Through these experiences, we envision our students to carry with them the knowledge and skills they have acquired, such as literacy skills, and share them with their communities locally and internationally in order to become leaders of tomorrow.
Photos (top to bottom):
- Every classroom at The Aga Khan School, Dhaka has a mini library with word walls, books and reading materials that provide opportunities to learn and explore at every step (photo taken prior to COVID-19).
- We envision our students to carry with them the knowledge and skills they have acquired, such as literacy skills, and share them with their communities locally and internationally in order to become leaders of tomorrow (photo taken prior to COVID-19).