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Who knew that Israel and Colombia could be so close?

      


"Even though students have only had one virtual encounter, we (teacher and students) are fascinated. Firstly because we can perceive the reality of shortening distances and frontiers, second because we are learning from another culture, third because we are using English (our target language)"
(Luz Gonzales, Teacher at Monteria- Colombia) 



At METC (The Ofri Center) we see the teachers at the collaborative learning program as a significant part of making the program a big success. Therefore we care very much about their opinion and the experience they have through the program. We asked a few different teachers, to share their thoughts with us. And this time, we had the privilege to speak with Luz Gonzales- teacher at the Institucion Educativa Antonio Nariño School at Monteria, Colombia. We Invite you to   read Luz's words that she shared with us, as being a teacher leading the program in her school in Colombia: 
 

1. Could you describe you experience as a teacher who takes part at this program?
Without doubt, there have been many good insights so far. Even though students have only had one virtual encounter, we (teacher and students) are fascinated. Firstly because we can perceive the reality of shortening distances and frontiers, second because we are learning from another culture, third because we are using English (our target language) as a vehicle to communicate in a real situation and about topics of mutual interests, lastly but not the least important, we are empowering our technological skills. We have been using different tools that have helped the teacher teach more effectively. Similarly, the students are being prepared to face their future.

 

 
 
2. How does the pupils experience the connection with the Israeli school?
The students from Antonio Nariño School were excited during the first encounter. Despite the fact that they were already on vacation they attended the call. At the beginning of the meeting, some difficulties were presented related to connectivity and with the head projector but they waited patiently. During the interaction, most of them were anxious to talk, others were just enjoying the situation and other remained observing that the encounter was real.

3. What is the pupil's reaction to this kind of learning?
They are excited, they realized that they can communicate in English with a person with a different language and culture. They feel motivated to continue learning and practicing the language. They see interesting to learn from people from another country.

 

4. How do you think such kind of learning affect the pupils? What kind of skills does it teach them?
According to their comments, I can say that they are now planning broader goals for their lives. They have perceived that learning a foreign language and using technology can help them travel around the world. They are empowering their technological skills. They are improving their communication as they are following some rules and are trying to be understood by others. They are being creative as they are providing ideas to create a video with particular information; they are working collaboratively with their partners and with another school; They are developing critical thinking as they are analyzing another culture and a particular situation  to be compared with theirs. In general, they are developing 21st century skills.

5. What does the pupils receive from taking part at this program? In what way?
First of all, they feel somewhat blessed because not many students from Colombia have this opportunity, it makes them feel confident among their surroundings. They have commented that teachers and friends from other schools have inquired them to know about the program. They have also said that they straggle a little more to be well prepared at the moment of sharing with the Israeli school. So far, they have not received any stimulus in the school, they volunteered to participate in the program with no interest in receiving any extra mark or any other compensation.


 

6. Do you think that this program is helping to build a connection with the state of Israel?    
Definitely yes, in my community, many colleagues are interested in establishing connection with this program; they not only see the benefits in terms of receiving training but also as the opportunity to know about the culture, meet new people and learn from your success. Students and parents are getting inspired and in a few years, I hope they are planning to travel to Israel. As a teacher, I am doing my best to inspire other teachers and why not education policy agents.  

The Collaboration between Luz's school in Colombia together with 'Atid' Ramat-Gan school, is one of 23 collaborations that are being done between Israeli schools and schools around the world. Reading Luz's words, show us that the idea and goal of the project- is succeeding: This project is connecting students from around the globe, and allowing them to communicate with each other, and sharing their culture, lifestyle and educational reality. Hearing that students are excited to learn through the program - show us that we are in the right direction. 


We want to thank Luz for being part of this great collaboration and for sharing her experience with us. 

Sara Yisrael -  Virtual Projects Coordinator
METC