Learning Outcomes of Group Discussions with Visiting Israeli & Palestinian Student Groups 2011-2012

As part of our schools programme, Schools Across Borders (SAB) organised 10-day visits by Israeli and Palestinian students to each of the school groups in Ireland, north and south. Because of the sensitivities involved within the wider Israeli and Palestinian communities, we organise two separate visits: the six Israeli students from 2 schools in Jerusalem came in October 2011; the six Palestinian students from 5 schools in Hebron came in January 2012.

The group discussions held with the visiting Israeli and Palestinian students are the key events in our schools programme, and are viewed as the main highlight of the entire schools programme by students and teachers alike.

These visits provided opportunities for all students to engage in group discussions in order to build on classwork (including state-exam projects) on each of the core subject themes (lifestyles and identities, conflict realities and issues) and core concepts that promote positive action (global citizenship, interdependence, human rights, universal values & beliefs and mediation).

The self-assessment evaluations carried out in participant school groups following the respective Israeli and Palestinian student group discussions serve as formative learning guides and to facilitate further further reflection and student-led ownership of the programme.

Post Israeli Student Group Discussions

Following the group discussions with the Israeli student group, the self-assessment evaluations invited participant students to state:

  1. how they found the Israeli students
  2. how they felt about how their participation in the discussion
  3. the main points they learned in the group discussion
  4. how they felt about what they heard
  5. what they think was the value of meeting with the Israeli students

Post Palestinian Student Group Discussions

Similar post-visit self-assessment evaluations following the group discussions with the Palestinian student group invited participant students to state:

  1. how they found the Palestinian students
  2. how they felt about their participation compared to the last group discussion with the Israeli students
  3. what roles they set for themselves in the group discussion with the Palestinian students:
    • a) to build on the information learned from the Israeli students
    • b) to focus on the core concepts of Interdependence, Human Rights and Conflict Transformation
    • c) to see what they could do to mediate between the Israeli and Palestinian students
    • d) other
  4. the main subjects of their discussion
  5. how they felt about what they heard
  6. what they feel they have now gained from meeting with both Israeli and Palestinian groups

The combined collated data demonstrate the:

  • extent of learning outcomes, indicated in terms of project themes and core concepts
  • the extent of student-directed learning and affective engagement
  • and high level of appreciation of the pedagogical value of the group discussions, and by extension, the levels of commitment to the project aims.

Each student group was presented with the collated data of their self-assessments.

Click here for Full Evaluation data:

ISR_PostVisitEvaln_Oct2012 (representing students of 15 groups of 12 Dublin schools)

PAL_PostVisitEvaln_Jan2012 (representing students 17 groups of 12 Dublin schools + 1 Belfast school)

Israeli and Palestinian Student and Teacher Ex-Post Self-Assessment Evaluations

These positive learning outcomes are corroborated in the ex-post self-assessment evaluations completed by the participant 6 Israeli and 6 Palestinian students and the respective teachers and Project Coordinators.

Participants were state their views on the different project activities. The views expressed were subsequently shared with the Irish and Northern Irish school groups.

Click here for the full Evaluation data: