Teaching in Times of Conflict

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Multicultural education, in the context of political or military conflicts, generally refers to a mixture of different social and historical values, which involve complex issues related to identity, national loyalty, and pertinence. Despite cross-border communication and innovative dialogues, standing in front of heterogenic classes in states under threat of ongoing wars forces teachers to cope with inevitable conflicts about existential rights and resistance. In addition, this complex situation forces students to choose certain academic colleges and courses that enable them to skip the inevitable difficulties. This article exposes some pedagogical policies and professional approaches at the Kibbutzim College of education, which trains Jewish and Arabic students to become Israeli teachers. These will be based on some comparative examples and insights gained from the experiences of shared education and school collaboration in the divided societies in Catholic and Protestant schools in Northern Ireland. The article will emphasize the reciprocal relations between a teacher’s responsibility to fulfill academic and pedagogical obligations, and the awareness of political conflicts within the students’ cultural communities and their social and ethnic special activities at school. Although similar, there are critical differences between Northern Ireland and Israel regarding academic and educational systems, which emphasize religious hostility and separatism. Nevertheless, the Kibbutzim College’s educational policy and practical approach for future teachers and educators may give an answer to the unsolved conflicts and gaps between students who belong to different nationalities and religions, and who grew up on contradictory historical narratives.