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Children Festival Begins With A Day Dedicated To Teachers

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Karachi:Around 2,000 teachers from both private and government sector schools attended the first-ever Teachers’ Literature Festival, held as part of the three-day 11th Children’s Literature Festival that kicked off at the Arts Council on Thursday.
The highlight of the day was a session called ‘Teachers’ Voices’, which focused on factors that promote or inhibit reading and creativity in classrooms. During the session, which was moderated by Swaleha Alam Shahzada, Zubeida Mustafa, Bernadette L Dean and Nargis Sultana, teachers aired their experience-based opinions over ways to inculcate healthy reading habits among children and develop their interest in books.
Talat Ahmed, who runs a Montessori in the city, believed that characters such as Harry Potter had helped immensely in pulling children back towards books. “This is a good sign and we must build on it by developing our own literary characters that can garner similar interest from children,” she said.
The headmistress of a public school lamented that teachers spot errors and lacunas in published textbooks all the time. However, she said, it is quite hard to find publishers if they want to come up with their own versions of a comprehensive textbook. “Textbook boards should facilitate teachers and make it easier for them to write and get their own textbooks published,” she urged, while also advising teachers to be more creative in classrooms and make learning enjoyable for children.
Other sessions at the festival, which has been organised by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi and Ameena Saiyid of the Oxford University Press in collaboration with the Open Society Foundations (OSF) and Karachi Youth Initiative (KYI), included book launches, dramatic readings and workshops on creative writing and other subjects.
The Arts Council itself did not look less than a story book, with various sections decorated in different themes of classic and popular literature and given names such as Daastaan Sraa’aay, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Kitab Ghar, Talism-e-Hoshruba, Tot Batot, Autaaq, Tota Khanani, Shahi Guzar Gah and CLF Dhaaba.
A lively and colourful session on the ‘Art of Reading with Expression’ was also conducted by Imrana Maqsood, Seemi Zaidi and Zambeel Dramatic Readings.
Asif Farukhi held a workshop on creative writing while a session on the ‘Use of New Media in Classrooms’ was also conducted. Other events included a comprehensive session on ‘Teacher’s Education and Literature’ by Shahid Siddiqui, a literary session on ‘Mobilising Living Heritage From Our Literature’, ‘Transformational Teaching and Introduction to Teaching as Leadership’ by Teach for Pakistan and ‘Teachers’ Katcheri: Discussion on Teachers Duties and Right to Education.’
Moreover, a number of books including Layla aur Munni Gudia, Laddu Paida Hua, Tasweeri Kahani Silsala, Something Black and White, Suraj the Tiger Cub, Magical Tale About Pakistan, Dotty the Unique Zebra, The Book of Little Stories and Big Dreams and Peace were also launched at the festival.

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