The Middle East
The Institute is also collaborating with the Michael Harrington Center at Queens College in a project that combines professional development and curriculum development with regard to teaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The project has focused on the creation of multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multi-religious…learning communities at Queens College. The first group included Muslim students, orthodox Jewish students, students from Pakistan, three Holocaust survivors, and one woman who was in the Hitler Youth. In the pilot phase, participants in the learning community engaged in rigorous study of the Middle East, heard outside speakers including journalists, academic experts, and members of the negotiating teams from both sides. Most important, they undertook a challenging exercise to Walk in the other side shoes in which they research, prepare, and present a position paper diametrically opposed to their own views.
Eight high school teachers from Queens engaged in parallel study and meet five times with the learning community. They aimed to develop curriculum for their own students and to develop the background and pedagogy to make that curriculum effective in their own classrooms. Some of them have become master teachers who lead workshops and otherwise support other teachers in the metropolitan region. In subsequent years, the program has included large scale one day professional development workshops for teachers that have attracted over one hundred and fifty high school teachers. This program has received favorable attention in the New York Times and on CBS and NPR.