A memorable experience of working with young children at Children Literary Festival
In an earlier post on my blog I shared my experience of participating/conducting some interesting sessions in Children Literary Festival and thrilling performance of Lal Band . I promised then, that I would be sharing the most exciting session I had had with little kids belonging to a suburban school of Rawalpindi, belonging to humble socioeconomic background. When I entered the room I saw around forty to fifty students who looked curious about the dynamics of the sessions. I asked them about their understanding of poetry. One girl stood up and said that in poetry ‘we use difficult words’. To facilitate more active participation of students the medium of interaction in the session was Urdu. When I asked the girl why did she think poetry can only be composed with difficult vocabulary. To my pleasant surprise the girl shared with the group three verses of Ghalib with difficult vocabulary.
I could now see that everybody sitting in the room was enjoying what was going on in the room. I asked them another question, “Is it possible to compose poetry with simple vocabulary?’ One boy got up and said yes it is possible. He could not give any example and I gave them a clue of some very easy poems of Iqbal and then some of the students recalled those poem, e.g.,’Aata hay yad mujh ko guzra hua zamana+Wo bagh ki baharain wo sab ka chehchana’. So we agreed that it is not necessary to compose poetry only using difficult vocabulary and that poetry can be composed in simple language as well.
I then asked how many of them think that poetry can only be composed with inborn faculty and rest of us cannot compose it. Here the students were divided. Some of them believed that poets are born poets while the others believed that with appropriate training and practice poetry can be learnt. A few of them shared that it is a blend of both and the inborn faculty can be further polished by training and practice. I then asked them do they know what is meant by a rhyming (ham-awaz) word. Majority of them said yes. But to be sure I further explained it by giving them some examples.
I then gave a word AIK for which the students came up with rhyming words like CAKE, NAIK. I asked them to write a sentence using these three word in it. The response was interesting. There were some funny, but meaningful sentences. Now that I knew that they got the understanding of how to rhyme words, I asked them to rhyme the word, payara (dear). This time the response was much faster and the came up with words like words like Tara (star), Sanwara (decorated) ,Gayara (eleven).
I then asked the students to close their eyes and imagine that they were living in a cave but a cave of their choice. It is modern cave with all facilities. The students were asked to imagine (closing their eyes) what colour can they see in and outside their cave, the fragrance and smells they can smell, and the noises they can hear. The purpose of this activity was to let them capture the scene with the help of their senses, i.e., sense of sight, hearing, smelling, touch, and taste. I then asked them to make a list of colours voices, smells, etc which they saw, heard, smelled, felt while visualing about their cave while closing their eyes.
The students were then asked to draw their cave with all what the visualized. They came up with some good drawings. The final stage was to compose a short poem about their cave comprising four to six lines. To make their job simpler I asked them to use the rhyming words payara, sitara, which they had already practices. They managed to come up with some interesting poems. I then invited them to come to the front and celebrate their poetry. In the first round half of the group shared their. Each presenter got good applause. This gave courage to the rest of the group and in the second round the remaining students came and presented their poems. It was great to see the excitement and sense of achievement in their eyes. Thus this wonderful session ended as young poets were were rewarded with ice cream.