(photo credit: Courtesy of The Herzliya Conference)
As high schoolers across the country sat to take the English part of the
matriculation exam on Monday, students at the AMIT high school in Afula went to
the test with greater confidence than ever before.
Last January, the high
school implemented a program dedicated to strengthening English studies for
students who took three or fewer study units in the subject.
which is funded by the US Embassy, was launched in January and requires students
to stay at school after their usual hours for two additional hours of English
lessons twice a week.
“A significant number of children arrive at the
matriculation exam unprepared,” Principal of AMIT Afula High School, Boaz Giladi
told The Jerusalem Post
“A lot of them come from the haredi
education system and lack basic skills,” he added, “but there is also the fact
that there is a lack of English teachers in Israel, or in the North at
Giladi explained that beyond teaching English for the exam, the
project – entitled “We Believe in You” – also involves lessons about the
language’s cultural elements.
“We want to teach them about England and
its royalty and also about baseball, softball and the Super Bowl,” he said. “We
want them to understand that English is not just grammar.”
said that students display a strong will to strengthen their English and
understand its importance.
“English is an obstacle of the matriculation
exam for many kids, Giladi told the Post
. “Sometimes, English is the part that
makes them fail the exam.”
Students participating in the program, he
said, have also shown increased motivation in other subjects. Next year, the
school is expected to expand the program from two groups of students to
“I hope that English becomes a subject students are not afraid of,”
Giladi said, “So that they are not scared to write in English, read in English,
deal with English.”
During a visit to the school earlier this month, US
Ambassador Daniel Shapiro said the US Embassy is proud to sponsor the program
and congratulated participating students on their progress.
thing to do, besides prepare for your test is not to study for the test, it’s to
read English and to find opportunities to use English in the most normal and
natural setting,” the American diplomat told them.
“You don’t have to be
perfect to make yourself understood, you can make mistakes, it’s ok.”
the past two years, the US Embassy has collaborated with AMIT on several
educational projects, cooperating with the English debate team at the AMIT Oriya
Ulpena High School for Girls, involving itself in a musical program at the AMIT
“Chavruta” Yeshiva in Ra’anana and providing financial support for the AMIT
Young Leadership program.