Archive

Monthly Archives: October 2014

TYO_TEST

M is for Music!

In my Core Child English Class through TYO’s International Internship program, students file through the door and greet me with an enthusiastic “Hello!” It’s five weeks into our program, and at this point many of the students are asking unprompted “How are you?”. The progress that I have seen among these young ones has been significant in just five weeks. TYO Interns teach English because there is a dire need for native speaking instructors in Palestine. Time and time again in conversations that I have had with Palestinians, they have shared their frustrations over language learning in their schools. Despite the Continue reading…

TYO_TEST

Youth in Focus: An interview with Hadeel Khanfar

Hadeel Khanfar is from Jenin, Palestine and is currently living in Nablus. She is a second year student at An-Najah National University majoring in Community Service and Sociology. What made you apply for STEP!? There were several things about STEP! that initially attracted me to the program. I was a freshman student when first I joined TYO. As I am studying Community Service it was important to me to get hands on experience to supplement my academic work in this field as soon as possible, so I immediately applied to TYO when I saw the opportunity to volunteer. I believe it Continue reading…

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ABC: The Alphabet Boosts Confidence

As a TYO intern, I am teaching English as a foreign language to two age groups: 4-5 year olds and 9-11 year olds. As expected, there is a clear difference between the level of comprehension and students’ ability to speak, write, and understand English in each age group. However, each day the students in the Early Childhood Core Program continue to impress me with their capacity to learn at such a fast rate. After 5 weeks of English instruction, students are not only learning the English alphabet, but they are also building a foundation of vocabulary similar to my older Continue reading…

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Constructing identity in the Core Child Program

  ‘Children are like little scientists. They gather evidence by observing and exploring the world.’ But what happens when they, their parents, guardians, and teachers don’t have control over their world? What happens when their ability to explore is limited by outside factors? For most of the children attending TYO’s Core Child Program, ‘exploring’ their world- even their country- is not an option. Given the barriers to movement created by checkpoints throughout the West Bank, Palestinian communities have become highly fragmented, with many families choosing to remain stationary. Given the complex political environment in which TYO’s beneficiaries develop, most arrive at TYO having never Continue reading…

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Playing to Learn at TYO

Five of my students stand upon the stage. One is holding a guitar, another is dressed up in a fake mustache, and two of them are having a tug-of-war match over a paper television remote. It’s all fiction of course. My after-school psychosocial class through TYO’s International Internship program is performing skits that they wrote about resolving family issues and by the end of the play, the two “siblings” involved in the argument come to an agreement, devising a way to share the remote.  The kids think that they’re just playing: I know, however, that these activities are encouraging them to Continue reading…

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Youth in Focus: An interview with Eyad Odeh

Eyad Odeh is from Salfeet. He is a third year student at An-Najah National University studying Law. What made you apply for STEP!? There were several reasons I opted to apply for STEP! I felt it would be a good opportunity to improve my personal and professional skills, particularly my communication skills as I knew I’d be working with a wide variety of people – both young children and foreigners. Additionally, I liked the idea of being able to help children in my community. I think it is important that young and able youth like myself direct their energy at causes that will improve Continue reading…

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Play to Grow: TYO’s Experiential Learning Model

The act of play is an instinctual and fundamental part of childhood. When the fourth and fifth grade students in my afternoon intern classes rush into TYO, full of enthusiasm, it is clear that these students not only want to play, but they also need play as an outlet for this uncontainable energy. Throughout my first few weeks teaching in Nablus, I quickly learned that play is the most productive and beneficial means for this age group to learn, develop, and explore. In addition to the immediate pleasure children get from playing, there are also long-term emotional, cognitive, and physical Continue reading…

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Teaching collaboration to build a stronger community

Human nature dictates that a child’s first instinct is to satisfy his or her own needs before developing an awareness of the needs of those around them. It isn’t until roughly the age of three that children are developmentally prepared to start thinking about and sharing with others. At this point, in a healthy environment, a child’s perception begins to slowly mature as they observe the concept of collaboration being modeled in front of them by family members. This constant spirit of sharing and support helps to root the idea of collaboration as a value within children, consequently enabling them Continue reading…

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Stress Tests: Looking Beyond Exams

  It’s that time again: midterm exams at An-Najah University. Many of TYO’s STEP! volunteers are current students, and in recent days the dark circles under their eyes have not gone unnoticed. Balancing university and volunteer commitments can be challenging, especially with a university culture that values high exam marks over everything. Many students in Palestine are painfully aware of the emphasis placed on their test scores before they ever enter university; the university application process does not consider extracurricular activities or outside talents. In the last year of high school, the Tawjihe exam determines a students’ fate, and this Continue reading…

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Youth in Focus: An Interview with Sameer Adham

Sameer Adham is from Nablus. He is a third year student at An Najah National University and is majoring in Finance. What made you apply for STEP!? I am always looking for new opportunities to better my skills, so when I saw the advertisement for STEP!, I was immediately interested. But what really caught my eye about the STEP! program was the chance to work with disadvantaged children from within my community. I like the idea of being able to make a positive impact on my community while at the same time being able to train myself for the future to be Continue reading…