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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


School-Family Partnership for Jews and Arabs in a Mixed City in Israel

Tamar Zelniker, Rachel Hertz-Lazarowitz.

The project was designed to empower the Arab-Jewish educational community in Acre to work together to improve the academic and social outcomes of the students and to promote coexistence.

The presentation elaborates on the work with Arab and Jewish parents and the research findings.

The first goal of the SFP was to provide parents the skills needed to enhance their children’s literacy development. For example, training of parents to advance literacy at home and to establish continuous contact with the teachers and the schools, discussing literature from both cultures, telling each other about their group’s history in Acre, and bringing more technology to the classrooms.

The second goal was to promote positive attitudes and coexistence between the Arab and Jewish participants that included parents, teachers and principals, in order to change the educational policies in the city to enable equal benefits for all the children in Acre. This change was to be achieved within the country's educational system which consists of separate educational systems for Jewish and for Arab children. To this end, a citywide task force was established and the work was planned and implemented jointly by the Arab and Jewish participants in cross-national workshops. Coexistence related activities included: using music and dance in workshop which promoted personal closeness, sharing visions for the future of intergroup relations and education in Acre, discussing municipal resources, and formulating a joint educational plan for Acre.

Research findings of the SFP indicated that the program had a positive impact: It enhanced parents facilitation of their children’s literacy, improved Arab and Jewish children's academic achievements, established and secured contact between the Jewish and Arab schools, teachers and parents, and enhanced Arab-Jewish coexistence leadership which, in turn, became a significant part of the educational and political system in Acre.


Tamar Zelniker  (Israel)
Senior Lecturer in Pscyhology
Department of Psychology Faculty of Social Sciences
Tel-Aviv University

Tamar Zelniker is a senior lecturer in the psychology department at Tel-Aviv University, and the head of the Graduate Cognitive Psychology Program. Her research interests are in the areas of cognitive development and cooperative learning. Dr. Zelniker co-directed with Prof. Rachel Hertz-Lazarowitz, the Jewish-Arab School-Family Partnership program in Acre. She co-directed with Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj, (head of a mental health clinic in Gaza), a Palestinian-Israeli academic training program (1993-1999), and was one of the founders of an academic program of studies of psychotherapy in Gaza where she has been on the academic board since 1995.

Rachel Hertz-Lazarowitz  (Israel)
Professor of Education
Faculty of Education
Haifa University

  • School-Family Partnership
  • Arab-Jewish Coexistence
  • Literacy Development
  • Municipal Educational Activism

(30 min Conference Paper, English)