Ron Basin is a Hebrew teacher in Kfar Silver youth village, owned and managed by World ORT Kadima Mada. His ninth grade students are recent immigrants to Israel – olim chadashim – who have twenty hours of Hebrew language immersion per week. Ron has been teaching at Kfar Silver for five years and discusses how these new citizens become adept at Hebrew.
“They get lots of support; it’s not simple to leave home at age 14. The most important thing is to learn the language first; it helps to connect to a new environment.” He describes the process. “Bit by bit we start talking about Kfar Silver and teaching keywords important to daily life, and we ask the students to speak only Hebrew during the lesson. They study the map of Israel and learn Hebrew songs; we teach them traditional songs related to holidays, and we gradually acquaint them with Israeli culture.”
The new students have a connection to other young immigrants who have been in Israel a while longer. “The older students help the freshmen students in their first steps in Israel. A twelfth grader called me on behalf of his younger brother, a ninth grader, to ask about material on an exam. After we spoke, he not only sat with his brother, but with all the ninth grade students, to help them prepare for the exam. The fact they share the same mother tongue plays a significant role, and helps the freshmen overcome the period as students in a new country.” Ron talks about the support for the new students. “They have good guides who help them, and social workers who are very helpful. In the end, most of them pass the absorption period very well.”
Last summer the junior high school classrooms were renovated, which had a positive effect on the students. “It gave light to the eyes! A new floor, new equipment, new tables and chairs – an excellent feeling in the classroom. The classes are now more welcoming for these new students,” Ron says.
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