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Monthly Archives: September 2016

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The Power of the Student

After classes let out on the last day of summer EFL classes at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, I went back to sit in my classroom. For eight weeks I’d led a class of amazing, strong women and earlier in the day I’d watched as they recited poetry, did a powerful skit, and gave a speech on women’s rights. Afterward, we played Apples to Apples and said our goodbyes. And there I was again. The closing of my time in Nablus is bittersweet. Both inside and outside the classroom, there has been so much to absorb: from cultural differences to work-life balance Continue reading…

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Growing By Leaps and Bounds

On the last day of class, I instructed my students to not only stand in a circle, but literally tie themselves together using a piece of light blue yarn. The yarn was short and didn’t quite reach all the way around all twelve of us while still leaving room between my students. Therefore, as each student wound the yarn through a button hole on their jacket or a shoelace, we were forced to renegotiate the distance and come closer together. This was, in part, my intent—a metaphor of sorts to signify our last eight weeks together. We started out strangers Continue reading…

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When an Opportunity Presents Itself: The Success Story of Haneen Zitawi

Haneen Zitawi is from Jamma’in, a village outside of Nablus. She attended Al-Quds Open University and graduated in 2014 with a degree in English Teaching Methods. She learned of Tomorrow’s Youth Organization when she saw an ad on Facebook published by Al Quds Open University advertising volunteer opportunities working with children. Haneen plans to be a teacher in the future and wanted to know how to deal with students and children and learn how to solve problems in the classroom. Volunteering at TYO was a good opportunity to gain experience with children, so she went to the university and filled Continue reading…

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A Change For the Better

As one of the final assignments I gave to my elementary EFL class this session, I tasked my students with writing a poem in the form of a letter to one person who changed their life in some way. The only parameter to the assignment was that it outline the impact that this individual had  made on their life trajectory— that is, that they clearly describe themselves both before and after the change had been made. This session, I was blessed with a group of students that was imaginative, creative, and idealistic. Because of this, the assignment came easily to Continue reading…

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9 Weeks is a Short Time

9 weeks is a short time, and every successive week of this fellowship felt as if it went faster than the last. First and foremost, I am grateful to have been given the time and resources to live in and explore Palestine and the myriad issues facing its people with patience and tact. There is no doubt in my mind that I have just scraped the surface, but, again, 9 weeks is a short time. The frustrating aspect of leaving Nablus and TYO is the feeling that there are so many loose ends left behind. One of the most rewarding Continue reading…

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Creating Culture Vultures

The Step II EFL instructors at TYO use many methods to inspire and encourage their students’ English Language Learning. Language learning should be enjoyable, as well as academic. Therefore, the English Fellows at TYO incorporate various mediums in our classrooms, including music and movies. These alternative teaching tools enable our students to hear different native English speakers with varying accents and cadences, familiarize themselves with informal phrases and tones, and discuss various cultures. It also breaks up our day and brings more laughter into our classrooms. As Leo, one of EFL Fellows states, “We use films to deepen our students’ understanding of Continue reading…

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Humans of Nablus 27

Tomorrow’s Youth Organization is investing in the Palestinian leaders of the future, and I want to be part of that process. I want to make a lasting difference in the community by helping others. The real meaning of happiness is in helping those in need, and I am happy here at TYO because I was given the opportunity to collaborate with amazing youth to help children grow in a better environment. ان منظمة شباب الغد تستثمر في القادة الفلسطينيين المستقبليين واريد ان اكون جزءا من هذه العملية واريد ان اصنع فرقا من خلال مساعدة الاخرين. ان المعنى الحقيقي هو مساعددة Continue reading…

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Getting Comfortable in the Classroom

My students love to laugh. Every day in class they will erupt into laughter multiple times over. Their laughter makes the classroom a comfortable and exciting space. Students’ comfort in the classroom is one of the strongest tools to build as a teacher. The ability to push their levels of communication and creativity intensifies when they are at ease with the rest of the class, when they feel free to laugh and make jokes. In the final weeks of class, however, I have become acutely aware of the need to balance the comfort that students feel—the peals of laughter they Continue reading…

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Humans of Nablus 26

I came back for a second class because I benefited so much from the first one. I am more experienced in the language now and the methods used at TYO are different than other places. At school we just read from the book, a very traditional way of teaching.  At TYO, teaching is given in a fun way through activities. We learn vocabulary while playing- learning and playing at the same time.  I hope that this way of teaching will be applied in schools around here. I can now understand when people speak to me in English, and I want Continue reading…

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Striking a Balance

Across the education field, a major shift in focus is taking place: while the teacher was once viewed as the sole purveyor of all knowledge, with learners sitting passively as empty vessels, we now consider students’ active participation in classroom activities to be of central importance to the learning process. As such, teachers are now increasingly viewed as facilitators of educational experiences, by which which students inquire, experiment, and, ultimately, discover new ideas for themselves. This innovative, “student-centered” instruction draws upon the existing interests and competencies of the student body in order to determine curriculum content, with instructors tailoring activities Continue reading…