This is Not an Ulpan (TINAU) was founded in 2012 by a group of teachers and students frustrated by their own Ulpan experiences where the language taught was too often removed from the real world. The group believed a language school should teach the language of everyday life (and in real-life situations where possible). The group also identified the lack of language schools teaching both Hebrew and Arabic and believed that in order to reduce cultural barriers within Israel that first the language barriers needed to be reduced.
Today TINAU stands out as one of the only language schools in Israel that teaches both Hebrew and Arabic and is run by Jews, Palestinians, locals and newcomers together. TINAU students can expect to learn in a refreshing style that doesn’t revolve around endless textbooks or grammar charts but to focus on speaking and everyday conversations that they will need once they leave the classroom.
HOW WE TEACH
First, we teach based on the principles of critical pedagogy, encouraging our students to critically engage with themselves, the complex realities of Israel and Palestine and their place within these realities.
Through our Content and Task-Based Learning method, focusing on social justice, we use subject matter as a vehicle for second language teaching/learning and that we mostly rely on the use of authentic language and on asking students to do meaningful tasks.
Secondly, we believe that every student is a teacher and every teacher is a student. This is especially true when dealing with adult education. Hence, all our classes are built to create a collective learning experience rather than an environment in which the teacher teaches and students learn.
We don't learn Hebrew and Arabic, we learn in Hebrew and Arabic. our goal isn't to learn grammar or spelling; it's to acquire the tools necessary to understand and engage with our surroundings and positively impact society. Language is a priority, but not the only one.
We don't hide the tough realities of this place. Instead, we actively and critically engage with those realities in Hebrew and Arabic: critical education doesn’t accept things as they are. In this forum we question the reality around us and through understanding the process that brought us to the present, we build an understanding of the alternatives that are out there. In short, we engage the real politics and culture of Israel-Palestine in order to close the gap between the real and ideal.
Every student is a teacher and every teacher is a student. This means that each course has a teacher, who works according to the principles of critical pedagogy and participants who do the same. Everyone is actively involved in shaping the learning process together, with guidance from the facilitator. We are building a community made up of language learners at many different levels and with different strengths, so that we can learn from and teach each other.
We believe in equality and respect for diversity and welcome newcomers from all corners of the world. Through language learning and active participation in this unique community, we are empowered to voice our opinions and become active members of society.
We aim to practice non-hierarchy and the principles of participatory democracy in our decision making and educational processes.
Learning a language always makes you look and talk funny. We know it and you know it too. Together we will accept that fact and be proud of the progress we make together. Confidence is key to progress and we will build it together