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Alternative Methods at an Alternative School

Last Monday, the Social Development Committee organized a workshop for teachers during a special school day at the independent Hiwar School for alternative learning. The workshop discusses the relationship between teacher and student and its vital role in promoting motivation to learn and sense of belonging to the school. Dr. Amer Jaraysi, education and communal therapy expert, directed and led the workshop.

The workshop presented techniques on how to build a student-teacher relationship and how to apply it in the classroom. Dr. Jaraysi and the teachers discussed the hardships that come with student-teacher interactions; this includes previous negative experiences and irrationally high or unrealistic expectations. He explained how to develop this relationship through positive support, individualized attention, and making house visits and phone calls when necessary.

Dr. Jaraysi and the teachers compared traditional student-teacher relationships to the desired modern student-teacher relationship, which centralizes closeness and attendance, mutual respect, not hurting feelings, and freedoms and wishes of both parties. Dr. Jaraysi sees it important to pinpoint the modern teacher’s power, which focuses on four pillars of censorship and presence: physical, emotional, behavioral, and collective attendance from the teacher.

Dr. Jaraysi also warned about the seven factors that could lead to aggressiveness in students: critique on negative behavior, arguments, logic, questioning negative behavior, mocking, threatening, and devastation. Successful techniques for problem solving between teacher and student were presented. The “ABCD” technique works on teachers’ explanation of a certain event, because slight differences in explanation can build different ideas and therefor interfere with the reaction. Another module: “Breath”; is considered an important tool to work on internal dialogue and rearticulating thoughts in order to have a wise conversation with the student.

The school administration and teachers praised the workshop. They recognize the vitality of such a program, and think it should continue. In her comment, Faiha Awad, SDC education activities director, says these activities are important because of the positive impression they leave on teachers. It encourages them to widen their horizons and adopt alternative teaching methods when handling students. These methods are part of “The Safe Community” project that the SDC has relied on for years to help achieve a safe and healthy environment inside and outside our schools.

Latest News أنشطة ومشاريع الجمعية

No Room for a Counselor’s Room

Al-Hewar School for Alternative Learning- Art and Creativity is an Arab elementary school in Haifa facing numerous problems. The cause of these problems is shortage of spaces. This is incompatible with the school’s vision, which is to be a school for art and creativity, the first its kind for Arabs in Haifa.

The school is overcrowded, which is causing violence between students. The school is missing essential rooms and facilities such as a library, gym, laboratory, computer room, a school counselor’s room, and an adequate teacher’s lounge.

The location of the school also poses a problem: traffic caused by shortage of parking spaces disrupts classes. This also makes the school’s location unsafe for young children who walk to their nearby homes.

In 2013, concerned parents from the school met with the Mayor of Haifa in order to bring his attention to the situation and request an immediate solution. The parents then appointed Mossawa Center to follow the case, who in turn sent letters to officials demanding action. These letters did not receive anything in return other than empty promises without obligation or commitment to following through.

This is why al-Hewar School Parents Committee, the Social Development Committee, the Organization for Distributive Justice, and the Haifa University Law Clinic-which is in cooperation with Mossawa Center- are now working hand in hand to find a solution. These organizations sent another letter to the mayor of Haifa and the Israeli Ministry of Education; where they asked for the parties to abide the laws and conditions set by the Ministry of Education itself since al-Hewar school does not enjoy the services it rightfully deserves.

The letter also warned that failing to attend to al-Hewar school’s needs would result in legal action against the neglectful parties.Samar Qudha, a lawyer from the University of Haifa Legal Clinic, has sent numerous letters over the past few months to the Mayor of Haifa and the Haifa district executive in the Israeli Ministry of Education. In the letter, Qudha requested a solution with its own timetable and budget.

So far, efforts have not been successful; official circles are still neglecting the Arab students of al-Hewar school and are not attending to this pressing matter.