This week I have asked action researcher, Dr. Stephen Kroeger, to begin sharing some of his impressions and activities from a recent trip to Palestine to begin action research with school teachers there. Because Steve is an artist, as well as an action researcher and educator, his first post introducing this experience is his interpretation in ink of a scene at the gates of Hebron Market. There are few places in the West Bank where Israeli settlers and Palestinians live as closely together as in Hebron. The town itself is divided by check-points with metals gates like this one and military personnel to monitor, to permit, and restrict access. This visual image is both stunning and unsettling. What must it be like to create community there in Hebron Market? With this image as the backdrop of daily life in this part of the West Bank, what needs to be addressed before beginning participatory action research in a place like this? What types of experiences will participants here bring to the table? How, if at all, does this change the role of the facilitator in an educational action research setting? I'm looking forward to finding out more about Steve's experiences in Palestine through both his words and his art.
Below are Steve's words and art. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to leave them! If you have an idea for or would like to write a response to any of educational action research topics you read here, please email me at: Dusty.Embury@EKU.edu. Peace, Dusty
Turn Stile Gates
My spouse and I had a wonderful opportunity to work with a group of 28 teachers, administrators, and social workers from remote areas of the West Bank this past June and July. Participants from Beit Sahour, Jifna, Ain Arik, Beit Jala, Nablus, Taybeh, Berzeit, Aboud and Zababdeh, came to share and learn about special education. After classes were over we had opportunities to visit other parts of the West Bank. The drawing below is of the turn stile gates located within the ancient Hebron Market in Palestine’s West Bank. I drew this image from a photograph taken with a Flip camera just before walking through the passage way to the other side of the market. Through the turn stile gate was another section of the market as well as a Mosque in which were the ancient huts of Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Rebecca. The city of Hebron is a significant point of conflict, Palestinians, along with Israeli human rights groups and international observers have accused the hard-line religious settlers of attacking the Palestinian population with impunity. The turnstile gates provided access control and restricted human movement by armed soldiers sitting on the other side who press stop or go buttons. Once through the gates we were searched before entering the mosque and other shops.
© 2010, Original art work by Stephen D. Kroeger, used with permission