Woodside teachers visit twin schools in Palestine
Two Woodside teachers, Mr Beaumont and Mr Watson, travelled on an exciting and thought-provoking journey to Palestine over the October half term. As part of an Erasmus + programme (EU funded), they met with Palestinian teachers, learned about schools and schooling in Palestine and worked to strengthen links between young people in London and Palestine.
Travelling with CADFA, the Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association, Mr Beaumont and Mr Watson were building on school and youth links developed since 2006. The October visit to Palestine mirrored the January exchange and included a residential held at a former British jail near Nablus; school visits in Abu Dis, tiny backstreet schools in Jerusalem’s Old City and to a Bedouin primary school in the desert; and a conference.
Mr Watson commented that “The whole visit was an amazing experience. We had the opportunity to work with some fantastic teachers and meet with some incredible people. We learned so much. It was inspiring to see how they faced the challenges of living in Palestine and I hope to bring back the same ambition and motivation to our students.”
Mr Beaumont and Mr Watson learned about the pressures on schools and on children living with daily challenges, such as restricted freedom of movement, encounters with the military and, sometimes, harsh punishments within schools. They helped to plan positive projects, such as taking letters and postcards from Woodside students to open communications between young people to help foster understanding.
‘I learned how resourceful both teachers and students can be in challenging circumstances. From having only one basketball for the school, to only using one textbook, there were barriers that I saw teachers and students regularly overcome because of the value they place on education.’
Two schools in Abu Dis, the Nehru School and Abu Dis Boys School, are keen to make closer ties with Mulberry Academy Woodside. Students at both schools will have the opportunity to join a Twinning Club. The Club will provide the opportunity to send letters, ask questions and even take part in video conversations between students. Already, teachers from both schools have been sharing teaching methods, student support ideas and exchanging ideas.
Hopefully, there might also be an opportunity for Woodside to welcome teachers and students from Abu Dis as warmly as Mr Beaumont and Mr Watson were welcomed to Palestine.