Analyzing Malala Yousafzai’s Speech to the United Nations

The stage is set. Now it’s time to meet Malala Yousafzai. My students were already somewhat familiar with her, because her book graces my whiteboard marker holder. However, they really didn’t know her full story—except for the students who were curious enough to read the book. And since her speech to the United Nations mentions how the Taliban attempted to murder her and that she’s passionate about education, I thought it would only make sense to introduce the students to her through short video clips.

I found a good one published by The New York Times titled “The Malala Yousafzai Story: The Pakistani Girl Shot in Taliban Attack”. It introduces the viewer to Malala’s family and their experience with living in a community in Pakistan that was transformed by the Taliban. It is less than 20 minutes long. Then I supplemented it with a video, only about 5 minutes, titled “Malala Yousafzai, 16, and Her Miraculous Story of Surviving Being Shot by the Taliban”.

Malala had a dream to become a doctor. She attended the school her father owned. Even after the Taliban forbid families from sending their girls to school, Malala and others risked their lives to get an education anyway. One day she was riding the bus with her classmates. At a checkpoint, the shooter opened the bus door and asked for Malala. After she identified herself, the shots fired. She was shot right through the side of her forehead.