Ready, set, yalla!

As we prepare for the start of classes we are becoming more and more motivated to create the best possible space for our new students. From curriculum writing to the simple layout of classrooms everything is done with a purpose as we try and meet the psychosocial needs of our students. As an art teacher it is critical that a safe space is created where students feel comfortable enough to take creative risks. Creation is the outcome but the process is really where the work is done. The Triple Exposure program uses two art forms to do this work, the process of painting murals and taking photographs. These translate into two classes, Rimah’s mural painting class and my photography class. This session we have decided to coordinate the two into a cohesive process aimed at achieving TYO’s Triple Exposure objective: of promoting self-expression and youth identity development on a personal and community level.

Our decision to combine themes, field trips and some classes will increase the impact and allow our students to explore each theme on multiple levels.  After one hour we will switch classes so each student participates in both classes. This pushes students to go outside their comfort zones as many signed up for one but now must take both to participate.

Our themes originate from the objective of our program and built off on another to create an outline of our curriculum. We have three major themes each with an under-lying sub-theme, Identity (emotions), Community (perception) and Change (story). The students will explore their personal identity, through portraits, emotion drawings and more. As they begin to develop their notions of identity, we move onto how this fits into the larger community of their neighborhood and in Nablus. In exploring the city through photographs they will begin to see things in a different light. Through local outreach we plan on volunteering to help paint local shops, interviewing workers and hearing from Nablus’s own working artists. As one of my favorite teacher’s once told me, “it’s not what you look at, but how you look at it that makes all the difference.”  As the identity of Nablus is discovered we will begin to formulate this story to reveal the positive and negative aspects of life here in Nablus. These stories will be used on an international level through cross-cultural exchanges as the student learns the power of their own story and how it can create change.

The last steps of preparation approach as we eagerly await Monday’s first class. Rimah and I are ready to let go, trust the process and give the student’s the reigns in this collaborative creation. As we facilitate, broadcast and reveal the outcome to you. We begin, one, two, three: yalla!