Over the 2018-2019 winter break, I participated in a 10 day Education Abroad experience to Haifa, Israel where I explored a child-centered method of teaching and instruction in an inclusive, multicultural setting. The purpose of this program was to strengthen our own frames of reference when it comes to education. We focused on pedagogical competence and decision making. During our trip, we observed children in schools between preschool and 6th grade, while also having the opportunity to talk to current college students also studying education. While abroad, we learned about the many cultures within Israel and the importance of the country state. We also visited many historical sites as we traveled to other cities within Israel including, Nazareth, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv.
I chose this program because of my desire to become a more culturally inclusive educator. In addition to this, I have always wanted to travel to the Middle East to learn more about the many cultures and communities that call this part of the world home. At Ohio State, I do a large amount of research and studying on the educational theory of Culturally Responsive (and or Relevant) Pedagogy. The general meaning behind this theory is that teachers are expected to incorporate the backgrounds and the personal lives of their students into the classroom, to make the material more meaningful to them.
Israel has a level of multicultural diversity with a rich history that made it the perfect place to dive deeper into this theory. I was fortunate enough to discover a program that was not only hosted by The College of EHE but was also taught/led by two instructors in the department. The trip was heavily focused around inclusive teaching and instruction which carries directly into my future profession. Some of my favorite experiences from the trip includes having the opportunity to visit an archeological dig and travel to Nazareth and Jerusalem. I also enjoyed visiting schools around Haifa and learning about the various methods of conflict-resolution they are instilling in the next generation of children.
It truly was the community of people I met that made this trip so transformational. I was surrounded by Ohio State students and faculty that were profoundly dedicated to creating a meaningful learning environment for their future students. This attitude was accompanied by the group of Oranim students in Israel who openly shared their personal educational experiences.
Since returning home, I feel that I have a better understanding of an entire culture and country. Each person I met in Israel had a unique perspective that made this trip an authentic learning process. I have gained the skills of interacting constructively with people of different cultures. Which has also led me to feel as though I can better participate in discussions about the key principals of inclusive, multicultural & social rights oriented pedagogy. It was helpful to engage myself in hands-on experiences with children. Having the opportunity to observe a bilingual preschool, an all-boys school, and a Kibbutz Elementary school showcased the success of child-centered instruction. I have learned the importance of becoming a global educator in one of the most culturally rich settings in the world.
I completed a final project focused around the emotions and impactful moments of each day in a series of 10 paintings.
Painting PDF: Paintings-2kucslu