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Volume 3 Number 3, Autumn 2006, Pages 1-175   

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Multicultural Communication between Jews and Arabs in English Teacher Training

    Maureen Rajuan

This paper presents a research project carried out by student teachers in the framework of the English Department of an Israeli teacher training college. Two Jewish student teachers volunteered to do their student teaching practicum in a southern Bedouin village. The student teachers developed and taught a unit in English as Second Language on the differences and similarities between Jewish and Arab cultures for the purpose of promoting intercultural awareness and acceptance. Pen pal letters were written in English and exchanged between children of the Bedouin school and children of a Jewish school. Questionnaires were administered to 58 Bedouin elementary school children before and after the teaching unit in order to investigate the Bedouin children's attitudes towards multicultural communication between Jews and Arabs. The responses to the questionnaire were analyzed quantitatively and figure drawings of Jewish and Arab people made by the children were analyzed qualitatively as measures of attitudes and stereotypes. It was found that many negative stereotypes were changed as a result of the culture unit taught by the student teachers. As teacher trainers and researchers, we present this project as an example of a researched-based training method for student teachers that have implications for the design of practicum programs.