Be’ersheva is the largest city in the Negev desert of Southern Israel. Often referred to as the “Capital of the Negev” with a population of over 200,000, and surrounded by many Bedouin towns and villages comprising several tribes leading a nomadic lifestyle. Some of the villages are not recognized by the State of Israel and lack infrastructure, water and electricity, and many of the students in these villages attend schools that will be served by the Fellow. However, the city of Be’ersheva is attractive and modern and only a 60-minute drive from the center of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. The city is home to many students, scholars and professionals and one of Israel’s largest universities, Ben Gurion University. It is also home to a large diverse teacher training college, Kaye College, offering special programs for Bedouins studying to become teachers. Despite relatively low costs of living, the city is lively and offers many recreational activities: a public library, conservatory, sports center, cinemas, local theater, shopping centers, and restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as a beautiful scenic desert. Public transportation is widely available.
Host Institution: Amal Educational Network and ORT Educational Network
The Amal and ORT Israel Educational Networks assist the Israeli government in administering education in public middle and high schools, many of which are situated in the periphery. Both networks have many years of close cooperation with Embassy Tel Aviv and are implementers in the U.S. Department of State funded English Access Microscholarship Program. They also conduct professional development for teachers, and implement many social programs to help improve the overall level of education. Both networks comprise schools representing all communities: Arab (Muslim, Christian, Bedouin, Druze) and Jewish (secular and religious) and are committed to improving the education for all Israelis.
This program is challenging and demanding, involving daily travel to surrounding towns and remote villages outside of the city of Be’ersheva – some of these traditional villages are a 30- to 60-minute drive from the city. The Fellow will spend many hours with a community that may know limited English but has great potential, and is keen on learning and building bridges
- The Fellow will be responsible for building a community of English language teachers in high schools serving the Bedouin sector, and will model content-based instruction and teach in 10 selected Bedouin high schools administered by the ORT and Amal Educational Networks.
- The Fellow will facilitate sessions for teachers on TESOL methodologies during their professional development courses, and will also be able to model in the classroom and be available for counseling teachers on-site and with methodology.
- The Fellow will conduct bi-monthly meetings to improve the local teachers’ oral proficiency and the Fellow will facilitate techniques and English language proficiency during in-service training for teachers.
- The Fellow will travel daily to selected schools to acquaint students with American values, culture and history.
- The Fellow will engage and work with groups of students from very low socio-economic backgrounds, many of whom participate in the Access program with a focus on their speaking and listening skills.
- The Fellow will foster cross-cultural awareness and promote tolerance and respect among Israel’s diverse communities.
- The Fellow will conduct special and meaningful initiatives such as photojournalism, empowerment and leadership of women, and will be responsible for encouraging the integration of social media into the classroom.
- The Fellow will establish the first debate club for high school students in the southern Bedouin region, and foster collaboration among Bedouin schools, other schools in Israel, and schools in the U.S., improving the English language skills of students and continuing to make a strong positive impact on the education for this disadvantaged group.
The Fellow may be asked to:
- Draw on her/his experiences serving the Bedouin community to act as a resource for other English language educators throughout the country by cooperating with professional development workshops, conferences, speaker programs, and cultural enrichment activities.
- Assist with mini-access camps within the Access program.
- Coordinate with the EducationUSA adviser to introduce and promote U.S. government programs/projects for students and teachers and help applicants access these opportunities.