Today’s guest blog post was written by Sarah Brown-Campello. Sarah is one of the amazing participants on the Yahel Social Change Program this year.
I can’t believe I’ve been in this country for a month and a half already. Time is really flying and the program is only getting started!
One of the core aspects of the Yahel Social Change Program, and what attracted me to it, is the idea of Participant-Led Learning. This is the idea that we, as a group, are to some degree in charge of educating ourselves. Every week, there is time built into our curriculum to have a lesson led by someone in our group. This person (or a pair of people can choose to teach together) can present on any issue that they would like, as long as it relates generally to Israel and/or social change. As you can imagine, this leaves the door very wide open.
We have just had our initial orientation to Participant-Led Learning. All morning was dedicated to how to identity important issues, how to make a lesson plan, how to engage your audience, and learning other important facilitation and education skills that will be definitely be utilized both in and outside this program. At the end of the session, we took time to brainstorm issues that we find of interest and possibly would like to learn more about. All were of interest to almost everyone and I’m personally very excited for this program to start. A few examples of issues/topics we’ll hopefully explore in more detail as a group are as followed:
- Israeli Environmental Issues and Sustainability
- Ethiopian Holidays
- Kibbutz to Capitalism
- Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
- Israeli National Service
- Religious/Secular Relations
- Migration and Immigration to Israel
- US/Israeli Relations and Politics
- Queer Issues in Israel
- …and the list goes on….
Participant-Led Learning promises to be engaging. With most of us from very different backgrounds, we will surely have interesting presentations and discussions. What’s even more exciting is that many people are already specialized in these areas. I was impressed to see how many people could already present knowledge on many of these topics without doing much research. Either they have experience working or interning for groups that deal with these issues, have exposure through personal experiences, or have written a thesis or dissertation relating to these issues.
While we haven’t started formally learning through this method yet, from all the great formal and informal discussions we have had so far, I know that these 9 months will be amazing. I personally appreciate these because I have just graduated from a master’s program and miss this style of learning and discussion. I know many others here are headed to graduate school next year, so this method might help further narrow their interest or specialty. Regardless of further formal education plans, everyone is here to learn and grow personally. Though we all have very different opinions, everyone has been open to new topics and ways of thinking. I know this because 3-4 nights a week in the house, you can find Yahelnikim discussing and debating serious issues over after-dinner tea (typically picked fresh from the community garden). 🙂
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela