Before the meeting, I feared there wouldn’t be a connection between children and therefore planned activities that connect them. Single team meeting in the morning, it seemed that the children themselves are concerned by the inability to connect with the other side but they are very excited for this opportunity. To allay some fears, school arc started playing games spend a bit of busy March.
The meeting itself started with the school came a little early and waited for the grass to the center. Approximately 15-20 minutes after school in Jerusalem and after a few seconds of looking at a separate, children began to talk to each other and create their own familiarity. Truth are connected to one another that they started to initiate themselves and did not want to disturb them at all. Eventually, we started aims at creating as many interactions among students. activity was moving around in the grass every few minutes to different tasks of categorization (by number of siblings, according to a favorite subject in school, by date of birth, by name, etc.) and, after the division also had questions in small groups had to discuss which expanded even further the connection. then, we wanted to create a conversation that is beyond the groups small so we divided them into the inner circle and outer circle and gave them various questions call. saw our questions help a few seconds of the first and later children will just continue to talk about other issues and feel very comfortable with each other.
In the second part, each group had a meeting with Eyal Bloch and David Yellin College Tour. The meeting was followed by a short film about the Jewish-Arab activities for children, questions about the project and tour the courtyard of the College deals with various techniques of sustainability. Then we went for lunch after which we talked about possibilities for future joint project and gave a brief task of filling Maps of Jerusalem by the living of every student. Once again I think we saw the kids just want to talk to each other and a bit disturbing activities have on the one hand and on the other hand they greatly enjoyed the interesting maps and found it very interesting and challenging on the one hand and teaches about the proximity of their residence on the other.
At the end we went back to the central courtyard and made a circle in which each concludes the day where we really felt how much the children enjoyed today and see the powerful and moving experience.
In terms of my feeling, I think the use of English has managed to break all kinds of barriers that were created using local languages on the one hand but on the other hand all kinds of students could not communicate enough and were ashamed of their language. Second, for the next meeting, it was clear, the better planned activities on our part so we need less or more large operations activities in small groups with tasks. In addition, the children really excited and we need to think about a joint project in that they can do together, may initiate a meeting focused only on this project.
Finally, really lucky I had the luck to work in this project and I thank you defended it. I was very excited common event, it filled me up for the day last week very hard on me. And, when I shared about my friends saw it and filled them great inspiration as well. Moreover, I am fortunate to work with these schools are very open to the idea and have amazing children and work in Jerusalem, it allows working with different groups in the same city.
Most of all I could not do it without the tremendous help Niirose. Is simply tremendous.
Regarding the meeting of today.
After seeing the excitement of the 1st encounter, we spoke with both of the teachers about their reactions. They both told us that the children were enthusiastic and even became friends through facebook and whatssap. Vered added that the kids were so thrilled that they have their own debrief last week which brought interesting points.
As we understood from Vered, the kids from the Jewish Keshet school tried to find “excuses” for the reason for the encounter to be so successful. Thus, their main reactions were that the other kids are not “real Arabs”, that they are not Palestinians and even that they are basically Americans. Furthermore, the kids said that real Arabs are supposed to be more violent, less polite and that if they would have discussed about politics the conflict would have been exposed and they would have made friendship with the other side. Lastly, the kids also said that the fact that everything was in English made them feel less confident as they could not express themselves but maybe more comfortable with the other side.
Therefore, we decided to focus today on stereotypes. In both groups we started with asking about memories from the encounter and the communication since then and even asked about the reactions from the surrounding including family and friends. Later, we moved into the main activity – we wrote “Arab” and “Jewish” and neutral terms as “American”, “African”, “Jerusalem School” on big papers and put them in different places in class while asking the kids to go around the papers and write words that come into their minds when they hear these terms. We also added a paper of “Me” in order to give the kids the options of presenting their identity as well.
Later, we wrote all the different words on the main bill board and asked the kids if they want to add something or to erase something from the different lists. We also asked if some of the stereotypes changed through the encounter and generated a discussion about how do we define who is a right representative of the other group and who is not.
It should be mentioned that while in the Jerusalem school we had a long discssion, in the Keshet school we decided to screen a part from the TV show “Arab Labor” / “Avoda Aravit” which presents the idea of changing identities and demonstrates the conflict between the personal definition and the social definition.
We now plan that over the next class, because I wil be abroad, Nairouz would continue more to discuss these ideas of definitions and identity and even go further into her own personal story.
Thank you for reading,