FILE: Egyptian revolutionary and statesman Saad Zaghloul
CAIRO - 11 December 2019: With a red fez (tarboosh), a white mustache, and a stick, the history teacher stood in front of the students of Nasser School in Assiut telling them about Saad Zaghloul’s life and upbringing and how he led the 1919 revolution.
It is a hoax invented by school teacher Khaled Hashem in the hope that students' thinking will shift from memorizing to understanding and broadening their perception.
Hashem told Egypt Today, "In the beginning, the idea was approved by some, while others rejected it, but those who supported me were the school administration and my colleagues. Afterwards, I started developing the idea and buying uniforms of leaders and historical figures."
“I first personified the character of Muhammad Ali Pasha and the students were very happy, which encouraged me to continue embodying the characters; then I embodied Ahmed Orabi and Saad Zaghloul,” he added.
“The students have come to treat me as the historical figure they want to ask about, not Khaled Hashem, the history teacher,” he continued.
On the cost of clothes and makeup, Hashem said that it is pricy, saying that sometimes he buys clothes or sends them to a tailor to fix them. "I hope I receive support from the school's activities and trips department, as I want to take students to the historical areas mentioned in the curriculum, which will be extremely fun for history lovers.”
Hashem emphasized that it is possible to transfer this idea to other materials like the Arabic language, where characters such as Naguib Mahfouz, Taha Hussein and other figures can be embodied.
Students confirmed they prefer Hashem's way to the traditional methods of teaching, stressing that they now enjoy attending the history class.
Dalia Alfons, the school principal, added that this method has greatly helped to reduce the percentage of absence, especially in the third grade of secondary stage.
For his part, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education Salah Fathi praised Hashem's efforts to develop his teaching method and innovate to keep pace with modern educational programs, which comes in line with the plan of the Ministry of Education under the leadership of Minister of Education Tareq Shawky.
In 2017, people posted on Facebook some pictures of a history and geography teacher in Cairo named Haitham el-Sebaei, who asked his students to wear appropriate clothes for each historical character they are discussing.