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Rose Brown

Lesson Plan
Egypt

Teaching about culture through native literature

Objective: Upon completion of this lesson, students should better understand the current political
and social culture of Egypt as seen through the eyes of a common citizen: a taxi driver.

Time: This lesson will take four class periods

Rationale: While visiting Egypt, the most shocking aspects of society for me were the taxis and
traffic in general. While in Cairo, we traveled by taxi many times in a short period of time. While we
were delivered safely to our destination each time, the process was quite memorable. These
drivers represent the everyman of literature. While poor and frequently illiterate, they are often
wise in the ways of the society. I have chosen this topic as an opportunity for my students in
America to see beyond the tourism and political propaganda into the minds of real people.

Text: Taxi by Khaled Al Khamissi Amazon book description: Underscoring the most diverse species
on the planet—the taxi driver—this striking portrait unveils the polluted, unforgiving streets of
Cairo, a city that simply refuses to stand still. Bringing together 58 fictional monologues from Cairo
cabbies, recreated from actual experiences while traversing the city, this novel takes readers on a
roller coaster of emotions as bumpy and noisy as the city's potholed and chaotic streets. Described
as an urban sociology, an ethnography, a classic of oral history, and even a work of poetry in
motion, these narratives tell tales of the struggle for survival and dignity among greater Cairo’s
80,000 cab drivers. Written in a rich colloquial, this unique anthology combines poignant self-
reflections with the authentic insights of the man on the street.

Procedure:
Day 1
1. Pre-write on the topic of Egyptian culture – 5 minutes
a. How is Egyptian culture different from American culture?
b. Discuss answers and reasons for answers
2. Show video taken in the streets of Cairo
a. Video shows crowded streets and risky driving
b. Discuss difference between what is seen in the video and what our daily driving
experience is like
3. Divide students into small groups
a. Give each group a chapter from Taxi
b. Read silently
c. Discuss chapter within group
d. Determine what aspect of Egyptian culture is illustrated within the chapter
Day 2
4. Finish reading and plan presentation
Day 3

5. Group Presentations
a. Each group will summarize their chapter for the class
b. Discuss cultural connection
c. What surprising views were given by the driver or the author?
Day 4
6. Writing Assignment
a. As a group, write a chapter of a similar book about American Taxi drivers. Be sure to
focus on personal views about a larger subject
b. Topics include: politics, the economy, education, taxes, struggles of daily life
c. Type your chapter in the computer lab
d. Post on the blog all chapters as a cohesive text with an introduction explaining the
project
7. Post writing – Egyptian Culture
a. Comment on the differences and similarities of American and Egyptian culture as seen
through the eyes of an everyman.

Assessment: Students will be assessed both formally and informally throughout this lesson.
• Participation in discussion
• Group presentation of chapter
• Group writing – new chapter about America
• Individual writing – cultural similarities and differences