The graduates’ support group for graduates of the SFP courses for teachers of literature, “two people writing from right to left”, is designed to help teachers after completing their training. Many graduates of these courses are working intensively in the field of teaching the literature of the other. However they face numerous challenges from their students, their school faculties and from the education system. We met on Friday, October 28 in order to catch up, learn, support one another and promote the teaching of the literature of the other. Three of our colleagues from the Occupied West Bank wished to come too, however their request for a permit was denied to them by Israel’s Civil Administration.
At the start of the meeting, there was an acquaintance session in which the participants shared their motivation to belong to the graduates group and told about the projects they had initiated, and their attempts to teach the literature of the other since completing the course. We learned of several exciting projects:
- Vered Bialer and Halid Kayal are cooperating in an experimental joint curriculum that has been approved by the Chief Inspector for professional literature, Dr. Shlomo Herzig.
- Aida Hamza and Iris Aviel are cooperating in a program of encounters (and mutual learning) between their schools. The program received the President’s Award for educational initiatives.
- At the end of December, the School for Peace will cooperate with two Pisga advanced teacher training centers (in Lydda and Tamra) on two additional courses to train teachers in teaching the literature of the other. Details about the training that took place in Tamra will be published soon. Registration is still open for the Pisga advanced teacher training center in Lydda.
In addition, we heard a lecture by Altayyib G’naim that gave a thorough analysis of new Palestinian literature and poetry. He also introduced several collections of poetry and short stories in Hebrew and Arabic. Many of the graduates expresses interest in the anthologies presented. Characteristics of current Palestinian poetry were analyzed in detail. Particular reference was made to the fantastic and non-realistic poetry of a number of contemporary poets.
The group came to the following decisions:
- In the coming year the graduates group will set up another meeting or two.
- The graduates group is interested in initiating a conference on teaching the literature of the other that would be open to the public.
- The date set for the next meeting is December 29. In that session we will discuss the theoretical and practical significance of the encounter between Jews and Arabs and between different identities in general. In addition, we will conduct a peer learning session in which we share the manner in which we teach specific literary works of the other.