Valuing Diversity: Content based EFL Teacher Training


This paper presents a decade of collaborative teaching between two Israeli lecturers: one, a Palestinian-Moslem from Nazareth, the other, a Jewish-Israeli from Jerusalem. The course they developed aims to achieve a dual purpose: First, developing future EFL teachers' awareness of their potential role in a multicultural society and second, accompanying students on a journey that explores their own multifaceted identities. The course was founded on the conviction that the EFL* teacher is not merely a language technician but an educator, and that the content of the foreign language curriculum can act as a compelling social agent in today's society, where developing understanding and appreciation of diversity is crucial to our very existence. Focused on content-based language learning principles, the course brings together future English teachers studying at two colleges of education, one in Sakhnin and one in Jerusalem. Israeli Arab and Jewish college students work together (both virtually and in F2F meetings) on projects which examine issues of identity, prejudice and bias, and then translate their insights into strategies and activities for teaching EFL. Language learning classroom activities that reflect the message of understanding and appreciating differences are modeled and discussed, and students interact on e-learning platforms and social media. Throughout a decade of collaboration, the course has mirrored changes in social issues, educational agenda and student attitudes, and this paper focuses on the insights derived from an ongoing process, which we believe can contribute to respecting and valuing diversity in today's increasingly multicultural classrooms. *English as a foreign language

Author Information
Aliza Yahav, David Yellin College of Education, Israel
Manal Yazbak Abu-Ahmad, Sakhnin Teacher's College, Israel

Paper Information
Conference: ACL2020
Stream: Language Learning and Teaching

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon