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The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the most controversial issues in our contemporary world. This resource approaches the conflict through the vehicle of narrative constructed through the judicious use of facts and perspectives.
The unit materials include a broad spectrum of resources that will produce multiple narratives based on individual perspectives.
Included are a variety of lesson activities, resources, and student assignments. Teachers should feel free to pick and choose what will work for them and their students, and to adapt lessons based on the learning needs of students in their class.
The lessons include the following
Lesson 1: Bias, fact, perspective, narrative, and your truth
Lesson 2: Geography of Israel-Palestine
Lesson 3: Understanding the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict
Lesson 4: Searching for a just peace in the Middle East
The unit helps students
The resource is is well organized and quite detailed in setting out the steps in each lesson plan. The activities engage students in their learning and avoids "teacher talk". Students develop skills essential to analyzing controversial issues.
The topic is current and critical and offers one of the few resources to explore Sustainable Development Goal # 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
Teachers wishing to have students explore SDG 16 will find this useful in having students recognize the complexities that characterize many of those issues that challenge our efforts to promote peace and justice.
History/ Social Studies teachers may use the resource to help students explore those curriculum units that focus on the Middle East.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Very Good|
Among the key concepts used throughout the unit, two deal directly with the issue of bias and balance as the excerp below indicates.
Addressing controversial issues in the classroom
Students need to develop the skills and tools to help them make sense of a complex and confusing world. The lessons in this unit offer them opportunities to practise identifying issues, separating facts from opinions, recognizing manipulative arguments and assumptions,and understanding that the issue should be controversial, not the people tackling it.
Cautions and guidelines when working with bias, point of view, and critical thinking
All of us, even teachers, have biases. Identifying and working to mitigate biases is aided through the presentation of a variety of materials, points of view, and “what about” questions. The objective is to offer a learning resource that does not inherently prejudice the students’ thinking. We should encourage students to avoid simple answers to complex questions. We can do this by challenging “it was inevitable” thinking, translating statistics into people, distinguishing between reliable and questionable source material, and consciously creating a safe learning environment.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Satisfactory|
The focus of the resource is to help students understand the various perspectives on the Palestine - Israel conflict and the teacher would have to broaden the scope of the unit by having students investigate the social, economic and environmental impact of this conflict. These impacts are real and this is why the United Nations has included among its Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 16; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Very Good|
The unit addresses a variety of issues that complicate our understanding of the crisis and the difficulty of resolving the conflict. This involves analysing opposing views, consideration of human rights, equity and justice, and perspectives in media reporting of the conflict.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
The aim of the unit is to elevate student understanding of the Palestine - Israel conflict and the difficulties inherent in sorting out all the noise around the conflict. The result, hopefully, is that the exercise will inform student participation in the public forum in advocating for a particular policy or strategy.
The skills acquired in the exercise are generic and will have application in the student's approach to other controversial issues.
|Acting on Learning: |
Learning moves from understanding issues to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community, or for the planet
|Values Education||Very Good|
The Palestine - Israel conflict raises many questions on the larger issues of equity, social justice, and human rights.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Very Good|
The unit asks students to suspend judgement with respect to the diverse groups in a conflict until they have had an opportunity to hear and analyze the competing narratives in the conflict. A central part of that analysis is the use of a social justice lens in weighing those narratives.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).|
|Personal Affinity with Earth||Poor/Not considered|
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning||Poor/Not considered|
The Palestine - Israel conflict is an example of the interplay between the global and local. Teachers may explore this theme by having students consider how events in the Middle East have national and local reverberations.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
The unit deals with the causes of the current conflict, outlines the chronology of the conflict and examines the search for a just peace that would mean a better future for all.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
The first segment of the unit focuses on those generic skills that help students recognize bias, perspectives and competing narratives and develop critical thinking skills. The second segment examines the Israel-Palestine conflict in a manner that helps student apply those skills by identifying the competing perspectives and narratives represented by the Palestinians and Israelis. The final segment explores efforts to find a just peace in the Middle East and the difficulties inherent in arriving at such a peace.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning||Very Good|
The lesson requires that students examine the conflict within the context of the historical record. They recognize the geographic forces at work, and examine the underlying social justice and human rights issues at play.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
Students are asked to struggle with a number of questions that are fundamental to any effort to understand the Israel-Palestine conflict. What are the background and immediate causes of the conflict? What are the competing perspectives? What options are available to those seeking a solution?
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Activities include recognizing bias in language, using facts to create a narrative, distinguishing fact and opinion, map study, demographic analysis, analyzing historical timelines, and articulating and defending one's perspective.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The issue addressed is one that is critical to any effort to bring peace to the Middle East. The lesson is an academic exercise in developing those skills and strategies that are essential for students to arrive at informed positions on this and other controversial issues.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students work in pairs or groups in a number of the activities and share their findings with classmates.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Very Good|
Each lessson concludes with an assessment strategy, some of which include an assessment scale or rubric.
|Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.|
Activities that include students working in pairs or small groups and those where students report their findings or articulate their perspective allow students to learn from their classmates.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
The unit is designed to help students develop those generic skills necessary to analyze controversial issues and uses the Israel - Palestine conflict as a case study to illustrate and practice these skills.
|Case Studies: |
Relevant case studies are included. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore concepts in an authentic context.
|Locus of Control||Satisfactory|
The lessons in the unit are in keeping with the pedagogy associated with guided learning.
|Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.|