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How bilingual teaching can break down barriers

The Hand in Hand schools in Jerusalem and the Galilee are crossing a cultural divide by teaching Jewish and Arab children simultaneously in Hebrew and Arabic. Adi Bloom reports

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“I had a ballet teacher,” says 16-year-old Inbar Shaked-Vardi. “When I talked to her about my school, about learning Arabic, she said, ‘When I hear Arabs talk on the train, I get so scared.’ “And I said, ‘No, no. They’re just talking about what to make for dinner’.”

Shaked-Vardi has been a pupil at the Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem since she was four years old. The founding premise of all Hand in Hand schools – there are now six in Israel – is equality. Jews and Arabs are taught together.

Each primary class is taught by two teachers, one Arab and one Jewish. Each lesson is conducted in ...

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