Rachel Viscomi, Director of the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program, joins PATHWAYS for 2018 Negotiation Education Summer Institute

Thirty English language educators from around Israel gathered for the third annual PATHWAYS Negotiation Education Summer Institute – a unique blend of the vibrant atmosphere of a retreat with intensive, high-level learning and co-creation.

After welcomes and orientation, the four-day Institute program launched with sessions led by Rachel Viscomi, Director of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program at Harvard Law School. Rachel led participating educators through a wide-ranging, hands-on exploration of perspective shifts, empathy, negotiation strategies, communication techniques, and role plays – while modeling a range of experiential teaching methods used at Harvard Law School. 

This deep-dive into negotiation was followed by a series of master classes exploring how, in practical terms, to bring negotiation content to the English Language classroom. 

Master classes included a look at writing and leading role plays and “fishbowls”, led by Dania Masarwa and Sara Dayan, two Negotiation Education Teaching Fellows from our 2017-2018 NET Fellowship Program; practice in the use of role plays in English experiential learning led by Roger Cohen, the Regional English Language Officer of the US Embassy in Jordan; and finally, a look at lexical chunks led by Elisheva Barkon of Oranim Academic College of Education. Participants then worked together to invent and co-create a variety of original teaching activities of their own.

Evenings included dynamic activities like Poetry Slam with artist Alfie Gelbard who led us in an exploratory word play bringing English learning to life and drawing out emotion and creativity, and a screening of the Freedom Writers documentary followed by a live video Q&A with the story’s famous Ms. G (Erin Gruwell). 

The intensive workshops were balanced by interaction with our beautiful setting, including a nature hike down to the rolling river’s waterfalls and daily yoga and movement sessions. These outings and activities allowed participants not only to recharge between demanding academic years, but also to meet and establish meaningful personal connections with their counterparts.

After a jam-packed week, we at PATHWAYS want to thank the talented team of facilitators and guest experts who brought such a rich experience to the participants of the Summer Institute.  We also want to thank the incredible network of educators who bring creativity, determination, and passion to the classroom every single day. And the Institute would not have been possible without the generous funding and support of the U.S. Embassy.

Here’s what participants had to say:

“What an amazing experience you’ve put us through. Thank you!”

“It was an amazing experience – very useful [and] I got a lot out of it. Though the coming is my 27th year, I feel energetic to begin my school [year] and apply the new things that I take from the course.”

“I have sketched a year-long program to pass on these skills to my 11th grade 5-point students.”

“Negotiation [concepts] have changed how I approach any conversation. One important thing I learned is that negotiation skills are pretty much life skills.”

“Every English teacher should participate in this program!”