Consortium for Media Literacy

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home MediaLit Moments He Named Me Malala

He Named Me Malala

E-mail Print PDF

“He Named Me Malala” is a 2015 documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim; the story explores the life of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban for championing girls’ education in Pakistan, and who subsequently became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

This videoclip from the documentary is the opening of the film, and it features an animated version of the story of the Afghani folk heroine Malalai of Maiwand, for whom Malala Yousafzai’s father named her. This animated opening provides a frame for the remainder of the documentary, which contains subsequent animated sections as well as interviews and recordings representing Yousafzai’s life.

Ask students why this animated story is chosen for the opening of a documentary film.

AHA! Malala Yousafzai’s name provides inspiration for her life and for the telling of her story.

Grade Level: 6-12

Key Question #2: What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
Core Concept #2: Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.

Key Question #4: What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in – or omitted from – this message?
Core Concept #4:
Media have embedded values, lifestyles and points of view.

Materials: Screen, LCD projector, computer with high-speed Internet connection.

Activity: Use the videoclip* (2:15 minutes long) found at http://ow.ly/Z0nWM.

Before identifying the film that the videoclip is taken from, ask the students if the animated clip caught their attention. What did they like or dislike about the creative techniques used to tell the story? If time permits, show the clip again. Then have the students list out the values, lifestyles and points of view they identify in the clip.  Be sure to have students address omissions, such as other points of view.  Students may want to explore historical information about the opponents and the context surrounding the battle depicted, or typical customs regarding women at the time.

After analyzing and discussing the videoclip, provide students with the name of the documentary and ask students what their expectations may be of Malala Yousafzai, the contemporary girl whom the documentary features.  What kind of girl might they expect to meet or see?

Extended Activities: A complete teaching guide, “He Named Me Malala,” is available free from Journeys in Film, http://journeysinfilm.org/films/he-named-me-malala/. Once students have had an opportunity to explore the framing of Malala’s story from the standpoint of the opening animation using a media literacy approach, it is illuminating to contrast and compare Malala Yousafzai’s own story with that of the ancient heroine. 

Additionally, the book authored by Yousafzai, “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban,” provides another media venue to explore Yousafzai’s story, allowing for a comparison between various approaches possible through different mediums.

* The videoclip is excerpted from the 2015 film “He Named Me Malala.” CML thanks Fox Searchlight Pictures for permission to use this clip for educational purposes.


The Five Core Concepts and Five Key Questions of media literacy were developed as part of the Center for Media Literacy’s MediaLit Kit™ and Questions/TIPS (Q/TIPS)™ framework. Used with permission, ©2002-2016, Center for Media Literacy, http://www.medialit.com

Last Updated ( Friday, 31 March 2017 11:18 )  
Previous Issues:

 21st century skills
 a day in the life of a media literacy educator
 a year in review 2014
 a year in review december 2012
 advertising consumer debt and media literacy
 anytime anywhere learning
 big data
 body image and media literacy
 building a strong foundation
 call to action
 cell phones as learning tools
 change management in schools
 children and media literacy part 2
 children and media literacy
 citizen journalism
 citizenship in the digital age part 2
 citizenship in the digital age
 cml media literacy trilogy
 comics and media literacy
 community media
 criteria for media literacy instruction
 crowdfunding and media literacy
 digital britain
 documentary film and media literacy
 education and creative economy
 education creative economy australia
 fair use for media literacy
 faith and media literacy
 frameworks for inquiry
 global citizenship media literacy
 global education
 globalization
 heuristics nudge theory and the internet of things
 history of media literacy
 leadership elizabeth thoman
 len masterman and the big ideas of media literacy
 libraries museums and informal learning
 maps and media literacy
 media and body image
 media and information literacy
 media and information literacy part 2
 media deconstruction as essential learning skill
 media literacy computational thinking
 media literacy risk assessment
 media literacy and 21st century skills
 media literacy and arts education
 media literacy and common core
 media literacy and human rights
 media literacy and masculinity
 media literacy and media construction
 media literacy and nutrition
 media literacy and personal data management
 media literacy and pharmaceutical advertising
 media literacy and science
 media literacy and student empowerment
 media literacy and the environment
 media literacy and video games
 media literacy early childhood education
 media literacy for grown ups
 media literacy in the community
 media literacy pioneers
 media literacy policy and legislation
 media morals and empowerment
 media violence and media relationships
 media violence
 monsters and media literacy
 new curriculum and media literacy
 online privacy and media literacy
 online safety
 parents and media literacy
 participation in what
 professional development for media literacy
 propaganda and media literacy
 reality tv and media literacy
 research media literacy
 responding to racism and stereotypes in media
 sexism in media
 social networking
 sports and media literacy
 systems thinking and media literacy
 teaching healthy skepticism
 television and media literacy
 the mediated city and the public
 the role of journalism in society
 trust through technology
 us department of education
 voices of media literacy
 what media literacy is and is not
 whats in a name
 where are we now institutionalizing media literacy

CONNECTIONS