For the past 2 years, the Excellence Center (EC) has provided Arabic lessons to the internationals from the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH). The TIPH is a diplomatic organization between six countries: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Switzerland and Turkey. Members of TIPH spend anywhere from 6 months to 2 years living in Hebron. Their employment includes observing and monitoring the human rights situation in the city. Due to their regular contact with locals here, speaking Arabic is crucial for them.
Up to now the EC has taught more than 60 students from TIPH who have chosen to take Arabic lessons in Palestine. All the lessons are provided as individual courses since it is the most effective way for the students to learn the language. Different teaching methods are used, such as video and audio exercises, games, and dialogues. The teaching methods always depend on the communications between the teacher and student. Teachers in the Excellence Center are very flexible and willing to use the teaching methods most suitable to the particular student.
Ibrahim and Duaa, Arabic teachers in Excellence Center, have shared their experiences teaching TIPH students:
Ibrahim says that the relationship for him is slightly different compared to the university students he teaches. TIPH workers stay in Hebron for a longer time so they become more like friends than students. Also, they are interested in special Arabic vocabulary used in their work which makes the lessons more specifically adapted. In general, it is a great experience for Ibrahim as he helps TIPH internationals to understand the local people and culture.
Duaa really enjoys teaching the TIPH students Arabic lessons in Palestine since she can speak proper Arabic with them most of the time. TIPH workers usually have more advanced speaking skills compared to the volunteers who work at the Excellence Center. She also teaches TIPH workers who are just beginning to learn Arabic, but all of these students require a different vocabulary. Their lessons are more concentrated on the local culture and people. The biggest challenge for Duaa is scheduling with the TIPH students; lessons are often rescheduled due to the workload of TIPH students.
In general the Arabic teachers really enjoy their experiences with TIPH students because it makes their work more diverse. They have different experiences than they are used to with the university students or the EC’s volunteers they teach. Sometimes it is not easy for the teachers to follow up on TIPH Arabic lessons since these students are incredibly busy with their work. Giving homework assignments is usually difficult and most Arabic lessons in Palestine include a lot of reviewing.
Marwa, the coordinator in the Excellence Center for TIPH students, says that working with TIPH is very smooth as these students try to be flexible. Their lessons are usually early morning or during the evening since the TIPH internationals are busy during the day.
Currently the Excellence Center has already held 3 graduation ceremonies for TIPH students, and the relationship between the Excellence Center and TIPH has been very successful on both sides.