School Twinning for Shared Citizenship

School Twinning for Shared Citizenship

The School Twinning program is A New Way's core program and serves as the lever for rich programming within schools and for community-wide activities extending beyond school borders. The program engages participants from each group—Jewish and Arab- in in-depth dialogue and interaction with the other group. It is implemented in 60 schools throughout the country (30 pairs of schools in geographical clusters) among students in the 4th-11th grades. It is comprised of 2 sessions each month of 3 hours each, and has now expanded from a one-year to a two-year program. 

The program is implemented in several stages: separate preparatory workshops are held with each group -Jewish and Arab - to introduce the program, coordinate expectations, identify and discuss stereotypes and simulate the joint workshops to be held at the next stage. Furthermore, both the Jewish and Arab teachers undergo intensive training (50 annual hours) so as to provide them with the tools to ensure the effectiveness of the program.

Among the unique features of the twinning program is the fact that it uses a variety of tools from diverse disciplines—drama, music, archeology digs and nature hikes, sports and more— to break down barriers and enable free and open discussion among participants. The program engages students, their teachers and their parents for a broad array of joint activities throughout its duration. 

The past year has seen a highly significant development in the program. It now extends its reach and is implemented as a community-wide initiative working with a variety of target populations to ensure maximum impact and sustainability. These include: municipal leadership (political, civil, and professional), youth councils, women's groups and more. 

Working with a model which is even more comprehensive and intensive will: ensure the program's continuity and sustainability over time; identify the common interests and shared goals not only of students in the two communities but also of additional groups including political leadership, professional leadership, women, and more; create significant synergy, a wide-reaching ripple effect, and even greater impact.

The program is being professionally evaluated by a Tel Aviv University team. 

It is implemented in cooperation and with the support of the Ministry of Education. Furthermore, all locales in which the program is implemented contribute to the program's operating costs and provide input on its contents to ensure that the program is tailored to the needs and priorities of each site. In addition, cooperation has been developed with the Center for Educational Technology, Israel's leading professional organization in the area of curriculum development for implementing the program in Ramle; with Merchavim in Lod; and with Dror in the North. 

 

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IMPLEMENTORS
A New Way: Efshar Acheret
A New Way aims at promoting the development of a shared society by creating and cultivating opportunities for long-term and in-depth connections between geographically adjacent Jewish and Arab communities and among Jews and Arabs living in "mixed" cities. The organization's mission is to develop and enhance mutual understanding, trust and respect; inculcate values of democracy and equality; break down prejudices and stereotypes, and provide communities with the tools to enable them ...