Prof. Rosalind Horowitz’s Visit to the College

Prof. Rosalind Horowitz’s Visit to the College

By: Dr. Liron Ohayon-Shokty and Sharon Steinberg

During May, Prof. Rosalind Horowitz our long-standing colleague from the University of Texas, San Antonio came on a visit. Prof. Horowitz, who in involved in the field of discourse, language proficiency and linguistics maintains ongoing contact with colleagues from Kaye College. International online cooperation between the students of the course she leads at UTSA and between students specializing in English at Kaye College, headed by Dr. Doron Narkiss, is already expected to be initiated this academic year. During her recent visit at the College, Prof. Horowitz held a meeting with various senior staff members, including Dr. Sharon Steinberg and Dr. Nurit Basman-Mor, on the topic of “The Pedagogy of Peace, with Dr. Teresa Lewin on the topic of academic language proficiency and with Mr. Mueen Fakhereldeen on the topic of multiculturalism.

Dr. Sharon Steinberg gives us an account below of Prof. Horowitz’s visit at her course which addresses active research, and which is part of the graduate studies track for “Learning and Teaching” at the College.

“Prof. Horowitz arrived in class and indicated how excited she was to be there. She introduced herself and spoke about the importance of developing language proficiency in students and just how important the work of a teacher is, and that we fail to appreciate the impression we leave on our students and the future implications on their lives. She indicated her love for Israel and her desire to promote coexistence. The reason for inviting her to my group was to show our guest a mixed group of Arab and Jewish students. I wanted her to see the interaction between the members of the group and the cordial and respectful relations between students.  The unique conditions at our College allow people who have experience and shared professional fields of interest to meet and get to know each other personally.

In my course, the students were requested to think in groups about topics of personal action research. Each student prepared and conducted personal action research; a group process was held for preparation, and for deducing insights from the research of group members. Prof. Rosalind was present during the presentation of Anahid Abu Parih who informed us about her initiative to establish a library where she resides, since she is a teacher of the Arabic language. However, due to lack of budget, she could not carry out her original plan. Instead, she asked parents to contribute books from their homes, and thereby succeeded in creating class libraries in the school. Furthermore, she mobilized teachers of various disciplines at the school, and attended a continuing education program on the topic in order to create a activity book, which is two meters tall and a meter wide, for encouraging reading and creative writing.  Children come up to the book turn-by-turn, select an activity and can read and choose a creative writing task, dolls for dramatizing a performance, and more.  The book is written in Arabic and is in demand, for instance, in the school she used to work in, and in kindergartens. The student would like to donate the book to Soroka Hospital so that Arabic-speaking children can enjoy activities in Arabic.

The student Jamal Kadura who, as a research topic initiated the subject of use of Dabke as a therapeutic tool, presented his rich experience in this field.  He shared with the group that he had grown up in Northern Israel, and as a child he saw adult men dancing Dabke at weddings. As part of the culture, he absorbed this ambiance there. When he arrived in the South, he noticed that the Bedouin dance Dahiya as part of their heritage, and that the two types of dance are similar to each other. As a special education teacher, he decided to teach special education students Dabke and to establish a professional dance troupe. He informed us that he took them to shows and competitions in Israel and abroad. He told us the story of a trip to Turkey that was especially fascinating.

For various reasons, Jamal could not make the trip and asked one of his brothers, who does not know Dabke, to accompany the group and help them with their costumes; he promised his brother that the children were well-trained in the steps. When his brother realized that each troupe goes up with the flag of its country of origin, he asked Jamal, “How will I go up in Turkey with the Israeli flag? They will kill me.” A wave of laughter was heard from the audience. Jamal told him to go on stage with two flags, the flag of Israel and the flag of Palestine, and prepared two sets of costumes for the children in advance – traditional costumes and blue and white Israeli ones.

He showed the group the pictures from the shows with the costumes. The troupe won first place in a competition held in Istanbul, and the mayor invited the troupe to visit him at home. Jamal was sorry to have missed the fun. This story was greeted with laughter, due to the humorous way in which Jamal described the situation with his brother, and well as with applause from all members of the group. Jamal demonstrated to us a facet of the use of Dabke and movement as a means to interpersonal connection, as actualized by him in his meetings with different troupes abroad.

The members of the groups wanted to appoint him as the Israeli ambassador. He also told us that the troupe members immensely enjoyed the experience of travelling and performing abroad, feeling proud to belong to the group and pleased with the skills they had gained. This activity gave them a feeling of competence, and helped them to develop attentiveness and control of their movements and behavior. Jamal showed us a video clip of his students dancing Dabke. The best part was when Jamal got us on our feet and taught us two dance moves, and all group members danced together with our guests, Prof. Rosalind Horowitz, Dr. Nurit Basman-Mor and Dr. Doron Narkiss.

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