The Ministry of Education has taken an unprecedentedly active role supporting and promoting Givat Haviva’s Hebrew Language Enrichment Program for Arab Middle Schools, bringing Jewish, native Hebrew-speaking teachers into Arab schools to teach weekly lessons in spoken Hebrew, while also functioning as cultural ambassadors.
As part of its involvement, the Ministry has changed the program’s name from Yihyeh B’seder (it’ll be alright) to Safa M’shutefet (a shared language), a Hebrew expression that signifies finding common ground. The program held 3 regional, year-opening Zoom conferences in November attended by 60 school principals from all over the country, regional supervisors, and regional consultants, plus staff from Givat Haviva and the Ministry of Education. Mr. Abdullah Khatib, Senior Director of the Arab Education Department at the Ministry of Education also attended and spoke with the participants. An online pedagogical meeting was held for the program teachers, under the direction of the program’s pedagogical supervisor on behalf of the Ministry of Education, followed by a check-in meeting for the program teachers and the management team.
This meeting allowed the teachers to air any concerns, encouraged peer learning, and offered professional and moral support. About forty teachers participated. Sharing their personal experiences honestly and openly. December saw the launch of our new and unique program, “Shutafim Laderech” (Partners on the Way), that pairs experienced Arab teachers in the schools with the Jewish program teachers as mentors to help their professional integration.
The program provides tools and professional guidance throughout the year to both the mentoring and the mentored teachers, and the school principals. The bulk of the program consists of personal mentoring sessions by pairs of teachers who teach in those schools. The opening event was a Zoom conference of 60 of the school principals, explaining the “Shutafim Laderech” program, and featuring a lecture on "Leadership in a Time of Crisis."
The next day, Zoom conferences were held for the mentor teachers and the program teachers respectively, providing practical tools to implement the year-long program. A total of about 180 participants from Jewish and Arab society attended the three conferences. The program staff received highly positive feedback from the participants and it was evident that most of them were eager to begin the mentoring sessions.