Collaboration: How Does Working Together Create Change for the Community?
For two years, I’ve been a teacher at TYO, working with children ages 4-8 years old. These children come from the most disadvantaged areas of Nablus, which is in the northern area of Palestine. At TYO we foster learning through play- a technique that not only helps children to develop their motor skills, but also their emotions and cognition. One of the biggest challenges we face with the children coming from our target areas is the high level of poverty that faces children in the homes. Unemployment is a major part of this problem. One of the less expected side-effects of poverty is the stunted emotional and cognitive development in children when if comes to skills like sharing and working in teams. Unfortunately when children are not exposed to their own toys, games, possessions, or responsibilities, they are not have to move through the normal stages of child development. At TYO we help children to develop attachment to concrete things- like toys- and help children develop values need to positively interact and contribute to the community around them. We design our lesson plans to expose children to group work and collaboration. This is usually a difficult concept for children. When we talk about the value of working together, the children seem to understand the importance of doing so, but when it comes to actual implementation, children struggle to complete activities correctly. As a teacher, my job is to stop the activity and give them examples of better communication, and let them talk about their experiences and frustrations. Every minute, children need to be hearing the importance of collaboration, and trust in themselves so they will try. They need positive feedback for change.
I believe that what I- and my colleagues- are doing now will contribute in developing my country in a positive way. As an adult, I see that the children are exposed to so many opportunities we never had. They truly have the chance to grow into highly capable adults able to make a true difference within their community.
-Core Child Teacher, Ahmed K.
This program – as part of Student Training and Employment Program (STEP!) – is funded by the Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation.