The students based their curriculum following the MIT’s moto “Mens et Manus”, enabling students to learn while doing. Indeed, one of the main strengths of MISTI GTL is to expose students to the hands on learning style of American schools, and this is what they hoped to do. They describe what they taught and learned:
During our four-day workshop, we focus on teaching three main soft skills, which are extremely important in the eyes of any future potential employer:
- Team work
- Communication and public speaking
Throughout the weeks, we improved our curriculum in multiple ways, taking into account the feedback and interactions we had with students. The key takeaways were the following:
- Make the curriculum as hands on as possible: Students learn and enjoy more when they can work in groups.
- Do not teach more than 15 minutes in a row: We realized that student’s attention tended to drop after 10-15 minutes of teaching. Once we understood that, we started giving very short lectures followed by group work to apply the material covered.
- Create competition between the teams: It is impressive to see how motivation raises when there is something at stake. In most of our activities, we tried to include a competitive component. The team that accumulates the most points throughout the week wins a prize!
For Charles, the reason why he participated in MISTI GTL was to figure out to which extent he liked teaching. The real take away from his experience was how much he loves teaching, and is now inclined to follow a teaching path going forward.
Exploring a new culture
MISTI GTL gives you the opportunity to teach in different schools of Israel, certainly, but it is also an incredible chance to discover the country. Alice’s goal for the program was to become more knowledgeable about a different culture and country. Reflecting on her experience, Alice writes
“My biggest take away was really learning to see issues and situations from a non-Western perspective. I truly saw the privilege I am offered living in the United States, attending one of the best universities in the world. Seeing people live lives that are different from mine expanded my cultural knowledge, and I am grateful for this experience.”
Tammy also looked forward to adopting her own opinions of a contested region through personal experiences. She writes, “I was particularly excited about GTL Israel because there is a large negative portrayal of the Middle East and this program was going to bring me directly there, into the unknown. I have been trying to prevent the media from clouding my perception of the area, but it is sometimes confusing to understand what is happening there and this MISTI experience was going to let me see it for myself for the first time. On top of that, the pre-arrival culture and safety training taught me that normal social behavior in Israel was going to be quite different (and might I say refreshing) than the accepted behavior in the US. For example, because Israel’s culture invites discussion, I’ve improved on asserting myself and not being afraid to share an opinion that is different than others.”