180 students were exposed to new teaching methods on the events of 1948
A new study in Israel has sought to evaluate how the country’s education system teaches students about the Palestinian Nakba, the 1948 “catastrophe” which saw over 800,000 Palestinians forced to flee their homes.
The study, led by Dr Tsafrir Goldberg from Haifa University, interviewed 180 Jewish and Arab students to assess national identification, tolerance within the two communities and students’ ability to reach agreements.
Interestingly, the story has found that a student’s identification is not affected if they learn the conflict from the other side’s perspective.
Tsafrir also argues that teaching according to the Israeli Education Ministry’s own policies has a “negative influence” on understanding between Jewish and Arab students – it can also breed intolerance.
During the study, students were divided into three groups and taught about the Nakba, known in Israel as the War of Independence.
Pollsters were exposed to a range of ways of teaching the history of 1948 with a control group exposed to none.
Students were then interviewed through detailed questionnaires before and after class to assess the impact of new teaching methods.
As far as is known, this is the first study of its kind to examine the impact of different methods of teaching the history of the Jewish-Arab conflict on national identity and relations between the two nationalities.