By Daya Stanley, grade 9
As we roll into fall and the end of the first quarter, the World Studies and English teachers came together to give the freshmen class a taste of how World Studies and English intertwine. In the interdisciplinary unit, students examine the conflict between Israel and Palestine while learning the importance of knowing both sides of the story before forming an opinion on the situation. The unit also teaches the important lesson of how the IB learner profile traits can be used to understand international political and nonpolitical issues.
In English, we read and examined the emotional personal writings of Israelis and Palestinians during the conflict while working in groups. We investigated the victims’ and witnesses’ own opinions and motives to their actions at that time. For example, we read an article about an Israeli solider who had a change of mind on his government’s actions and decided to become a “refusnik,” which is a person who refuses to follow orders or obey the laws of the government. We completed an activity called Four Poems in Four Voices, which allowed us to work in groups of four or five to create posters to help demonstrate our understanding of it. We read, discussed, and analyzed the poems in our groups and then presented how we interpreted the poems to the class. For our posters, we were challenged to use quotes and drawings to show our understanding and feelings about the text.
While in World Studies, we looked more into the political and historical side of the conflict, focusing on the facts of the conflict rather than the feelings of witnesses at the time. For one activity, we were in groups in which we read a report on the political groups and leaders that were part of the conflict and answered in-depth questions about them. Then, as groups we went from table to different tables, adding to others’ answers and explaining how their answers could be proved wrong or right.
In the end, the lessons all tied back to the important questions about how this conflict affects us, the world, and all countries. As teenagers, we now understand the point in learning about this. Later in life, as adults this conflict may be something we experience in the United States. With this knowledge we gain now, we might be able to solve it in less violent way than is currently happening in Israel and Palestine