Serving the Bedouin Community Through The IDF's Diplomacy Unit
Within the Israel Defense Forces is a special unit that focuses on public diplomacy and bridge-building initiatives. Under the leadership of Colonel Moshe Sofer, the unit includes a pilot initiative in which English speaking soldiers - many 'Lone Soldiers' - serve as volunteer English teachers within underserved schools of minority communities - in particular, the Bedouin population in the Negev and Israel's North.
The soldiers partner directly with schools and principals who are seeking their English services. TALMA will serve as a training partner to prepare the soldiers to deliver English education through distance learning during, and potentially beyond, the times of COVID-19. Moreover, TALMA is collaborating with Col. Sofer to establish this initiative as a formal program of the Israel Defense Forces.
Expanding Druze Programs from Summer to Year-Round English
Over the past five years, TALMA has established a strong relationship with the leaders, teachers, and students in Israel's Druze communities in the North of Israel. TALMA has led English summer school programs in Druze municipalities spanning Yarka, Julees, Rama, Kisra Samea, and Maghar, with new summer programs slated to open in summer 2021 in Horfesh, Ein Kinya, Majdal Shams, and Sajur. In 2020, TALMA had more than 20 international teaching fellows partnered with Druze co-teachers in 17 schools throughout the North.
With postive outcomes abounding, TALMA is working closely with Druze leadership to launch a year-round community of English teachers for a potential start date in Fall 2021.
Building Bridges Through English with Palestinian School Partnerships
In 2017, TALMA forged its first Palestinian educational partnership with the school community of Al Tur (مدرسة الطور الاعدادية). During TALMA's first summer at Al Tur, our teaching fellows were blown away by the welcome they received from student families and school leaders. Co-teaching partnerships between the foreign teaching fellows and local teachers yielded beautiful friendships and positive outcomes for students.
Since then, TALMA has continued to serve Al Tur Boys and Girls schools, plus expanded our presence to additional summer school programs serving the Palestinian school communities of Tsur Bacher, Tsala, Siluan, and Beit Tsafafa.
We look forward to continuing our work in East Jerusalem in summer 2021.