Students Find a Common Language Teaching English in Umm Batin
By Mayss Abu Kaf and Aaron Hochman-Zimmerman
Languages connect people to each other. With a way to
express our thoughts, we understand one another, joke with one another and
learn to care for one another.
International medical students face substantial
obstacles before they are ready to accept the responsibilities of working as a
physician; yet, never leaving the books behind means spurning the chance to
have a speaking role in the scenes of life that are playing all around us.
Interacting with our neighbors is taking advantage of just one opportunity.
Many MSIH students have taken a few hours during their
weekends to teach English to high school students in the Bedouin village near
Beersheva called Umm Batin.
The high school students themselves are volunteers who
use the less-formal English instruction to express themselves in a new language
and in a way they normally would not do in their scheduled classes. Rather than
diagraming sentences, the kids are learning to trust the volunteer teachers
have become comfortable enough to perform skits, write songs and teach Arabic.
Language is a vehicle which carries creativity,
concerns and contexts. Each week, the English and Arabic lessons accomplish
their goals: we communicate, and because we communicate we have gained new
friends who understand us.