Source: Wide Angle: "Back to School"
Funding for the VITAL/Ready to Teach collection was secured through the United States Department of Education under the Ready to Teach Program.
In this video segment from Wide Angle, Nanavi faces many challenges to attend school. Nanavi was filmed in 2003 when at the age of nine she was recruited to attend school as part of a nationwide effort to educate the girls of Benin in West Africa and again in 2006 at age twelve. Between these time periods dynamic changes occurred in Nanavi’s family. Because her father became ill and died, the family's savings dwindled and they were left with little income. Meanwhile, Nanavi’s mother struggles to keep Nanavi in school. With support from her family and community, Nanavi pursues her education as she was encouraged to do by her father. For more about Nanavi, see "Nanavi 2003."
Social studies, geography, economics
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for elementary or middle school students using this video in an English language arts or social studies lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) In a narrative, what motivates characters to behave the way they do?
Focus (ELA) What are the factors, circumstances, and characters that motivate Nanavi to attend and work hard in school?
Follow Up (ELA) How might knowing or suspecting what motivates a character affect how we see and understand that character? Discuss other texts you have read or media you have viewed. How might understanding a character’s motivation influence your thoughts about the character’s behaviors or actions?
Frame (SS) Is it important for a country to educate its citizens? Why or why not?
Focus (SS) In Benin, the country where Nanavi lives, many people cannot read or write. Often girls are not offered the opportunity to be educated. How do literacy and illiteracy affect Nanavi and her community?
Follow Up (SS) How might your life be different if you were not able to read or write? For example, what type of Follow Up jobs would you be able to obtain? What is the impact on a country's economic, social and political well-being if its citizens are able to read? What if its citizens are not able to read? How does not being able to read impact an individual or a family?
NARRATION: When we returned in 2006, Nanavi had suffered a devastating loss. Her father had died—leaving the family destitute.
KEKE AKODA: Since my husband’s death, I’ve been suffering. Who’ll support my children with me? The fields are all we have to live on.
MICHEL AIOUNKO: He had money, the mill operated well but when he became ill, he started to spend money to find a cure, and little by little he spent all his savings. That’s why the family now has nothing.
NANAVI TODENOU: This is my father’s corn mill. Since he died, it doesn’t work anymore. The crank shaft is broken. This is the place where my father’s storage used to be. Now it’s gone. He used to play with me. If I didn’t come back from school and it was getting dark, my father would pick me up in the village.
NARRATION: Now more than ever, her mother could use her help on the farm, but it was Nanavi’s father’s last wish that his daughter remain in school.
NANAVI: My father told me to go to school and not to rest.
NARRATION: Nanavi’s dada, Marguerite, kept an especially close watch on her in the weeks following her father’s death.
MARGUERITE TADOUGBE: I told her to keep going to school, and if she needed chalk I’d give her some. Her father’s death shouldn’t be an excuse to abandon school.
ANGELIQUE KIDJO: A l’école, a l’école, on travaille, on travaille. Jamais la paresse, jamais la paresse. Travaillons, travaillons
NARRATION: Nanavi has made it to the third grade. Her mother was able to scrape together a few dollars for chalk and supplies with help from an uncle and the school.
MICHEL: When poverty hits a family, the only thing that can fix that is school. If she’s lucky enough to go to school she can leave a nurse or a woman of the state. School is the door. If you continue with it, it’s the opportunity that allows you to come out on the other side.
NARRATION: Nanavi’s class is studying French, geography and geometry.
THEOPHILE AISSAN: Here are the shapes. Nanavi, come and choose a shape you found on page 40 of your book. Very good.
NARRATION: Regina, the médiatrice, drops by regularly to make sure the students are making suitable progress.
REGINA GUEDOU: Students, how are you? Who’s the top student in the class? Clap for him.
NARRATION: Regina is interested in all the students, but she keeps a special watch on the girls to make sure they stay in school.
REGINA: How many boys are here? How many girls are absent?
THEOPHILE: Two girls.
REGINA: Why are the two girls absent?
THEOPHILE: The girls are sick.
REGINA: They’re sick?
NARRATION: Regina travels nearly 200 hundred miles a week to support the girls she’s taken under her wing.
REGINA: I’ve been using the same motorbike for the last five years. It breaks down constantly and that really bothers me.
NARRATION: Today she’s visiting Nanavi’s mother to show her Nanavi’s latest report card.
REGINA: Did you see how well Nanavi did this month? Every three months we give them a test to see how well they’re doing at school.
NARRATION: Regina has high hopes for Nanavi, but she’s concerned about her future.
REGINA: Her mother says she can’t keep Nanavi in school, especially in two years when it’s time for middle school. She won’t be able to afford it. So we need to do everything we can to help Nanavi stay in school.
NARRATION: For now, Nanavi has a circle of support, but costs in middle school will only increase, and next year she won’t have her dada’s help, as Marguerite is headed to middle school herself one village further away.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.