Lesson 2: Family Support in the Arab World

Lesson Information

About this Lesson:

Family relationships play a prominent role in Arab culture and shape the dynamics of both public and private life. In this lesson, students continue to explore the centrality of family in Arab culture by watching the film I Exist: Voices From the Lesbian and Gay Middle Eastern Community in the U.S (US, 2003), directed by Peter Barbosa and Garrett Lenoir. Through this film, the role of families in Arab society is brought into stark relief by the comments and stories of lesbian and gay Middle Easterners as they speak about the overwhelming support or devastating loss of contact with their family structures in the wake of their coming out. The film provides a window into how Arab families function and what they expect from each member.

Time

100 minutes (2 class periods)

In this lesson, students will:

  • watch and discuss the film I Exist: Voices From the Lesbian and Gay Middle Eastern Community in the U.S (2003), directed by Peter Barbosa and Garrett Lenoir.
  • write an essay about the role of family.

Key Terms:

  • Kalaam an-naas: Literally, talk of the people, gossip. For more information about gossip in the Arab world, click here and search for the posting on gossip.


Enduring Understandings

  • Family is the central social and economic structure in Arab society and kinship stands at the root of social, economic and political decision-making.
  • Relations of kin serve as the primary affiliation, resource and responsibility for individuals in the Arab world.
  • Decisions, actions and behaviors of individuals can have a real and critical impact on the family.

Curriculum Framing Questions

  • What is the role and function of family in Arab culture?

Learning Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify the attributes of families in Arab society.
  • infer the impact of family structure on Arab society.

Assessment & Evaluation of Student Learning:

  • Discuss the film and the role of family in the lives of the characters
  • Write an essay about the impact of family structures in the Arab world

Curriculum Standards Information

Writing

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Speaking and Listening

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Language

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

History / Social Studies

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.

Writing

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Speaking and Listening

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Language

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking

History / Social Studies

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

Standard 2.1: Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the culture studied.

Implementation

Materials Needed in Class:

I Exist: Voices From the Lesbian and Gay Middle Eastern Community in the U.S (this film is not available online free. If you’d like to borrow a copy from the Middle East Studies Center, please email us)

I Exist Note Sheet

Implementation Overview:

Click here to download PDF version

1.

Introduce the film, I Exist: Voices From the Lesbian and Gay Middle Eastern Community in the U.S, and explain to students that they will continue exploring the form and function of families in the Arab world. Note for students that the texts from the previous lesson dealt specifically with Jordanian customs and culture. I Exist presents a much wider geographical sampling.

2.

Distribute the I Exist Note Sheet to students and instruct them to take notes on the following:

  • Role of the family in the lives of children
  • Parents’ expectations for their children
  • Attitudes about having children
  • Inclusion and exclusion from family

3.

Watch I Exist.

4.

After the film, ask students to use their notes to discuss the role and structure of family in the Arab world.

Homework:

Each student will write an essay answering the following questions:

  • What are the challenges and benefits that Middle Eastern homosexuals experience in their family relationships?
  • How are these challenges and benefits relevant to the society at large?