Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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LINK: Social Studies in Action Home Image of a middle school student.
LINK: The Middle East Conflict Home
LINK: About the Class
Watching the video
LINK: Connecting to Your Teaching
LINK: Standards
LINK: Resources

Watching the Video

Image of a notebook with the following text displayed: Reflect: As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them in a group.

Before You Watch
Respond to the following questions:

  • What are some issues to consider in teaching about the Middle East? What issues do you consider when preparing your lessons? How do you prepare your students?
  • How would you introduce a unit on the Middle East? Where would you begin?
  • What do you consider to be the major elements of the Middle East conflict? In what order would you introduce them? (For example, Mr. Zimmerman begins his unit with religion.)
  • How do you guard against bias when guiding students through highly controversial topics like the Middle East conflict?
  • How do you create a safe environment in which to explore a controversial topic with students, some of whom may have a strong emotional connection to the topic?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using hypothetical situations and analogies to examine complex or controversial issues?

Watch the Video
As you watch "The Middle East Conflict," take notes on Mr. Zimmerman's instructional strategies, particularly the way he encourages students to consider an issue from multiple points of view. Write down what you find interesting, surprising, or especially important about the teaching and learning in this lesson.


Reflecting on the Video
Review your notes, then respond to the following questions:

  • What struck you about the classroom climate, background, preparation, strategies, and materials used in this lesson?
  • How does Mr. Zimmerman keep students engaged and motivated?
  • How does Mr. Zimmerman prevent students from comparing the right of each religion to the land in dispute? Why do you think he does this?
  • What aspect of the Middle East conflict do you think Mr. Zimmerman focuses on in the next lesson?
  • How does this class differ from yours? How would you introduce your students to the conflict?

Looking Closer
Let's take a second look at Mr. Zimmerman's class to focus on specific teaching strategies. Use the video images below to locate where to begin viewing.

Mr. Zimmerman standing in from a blackboard.
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Learning from Hypothetical Situations: Video Segment
Go to this segment in the video by matching the image (to the left) on your TV screen. You'll find this segment approximately 7 minutes into the video. Watch for about 5 minutes.

After students define the geography of the region and the major religions practiced there, Mr. Zimmerman proposes two hypothetical situations to underscore how conflict arises from competing viewpoints.

  • How do the hypothetical situations help students understand the tensions among the various groups in the Middle East?
  • What do the students' answers reveal about their understanding of the broader issues?
Mr. Zimmerman standing with his students.
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Discussing Possible Resolutions and Seeking Additional Information: Video Segment
Go to this segment in the video by matching the image (to the left) on your TV screen. You'll find this segment approximately 20 minutes into the video. Watch for about 8 minutes.

After discussing the basic tenets of the major religions and each religion's claim to the land, students begin to propose possible solutions. To broaden their understanding of the issue, Mr. Zimmerman invites students to do additional research on the Middle East before the next class.

  • Why do you think Mr. Zimmerman wants students to consult additional resources?
  • What clues do students give that indicate their need for more information?
  • What additional resources does Mr. Zimmerman suggest? What resources might you suggest?
  • What element of the conflict might students focus on next?

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