Music is the key to teaching blind Palestinians English

Students attending an elementary school for the blind are being taught English through the use of songs. The school is located in West Bank specifically for Palestinian students.

The new approach to teaching the students English is a welcomed change instead of the traditional Braille textbooks and typical repetition to remember grammar rules.

Hind Al-Tamimi explains how he likes to motivate his students and keep them engaged. He achieves this by teaching them specific vocabulary or key grammar points using lots of different songs. These methods make the students feel motivated and lead to lots of repetition, which is key for learning a foreign language.

Al-Tamimi continued to explain how due to the students special needs (usually blind or visually impaired) they encourage students to place more focus on their hearing sense for touch that they require when using braille.

Despite a great response from the students, some parents voiced their concerns. They were worried that such practices in the classroom are not in sync with the harmony Islamic tradition in the religiously conservative town of Hebron.

However, Rashid Rashid, who is the English-language faculty supervisor at the Palestinian Ministry of Education, has fought hard to ensure parents that songs can be a fun and beneficial learning tool. He explained how some parents are concerned that methods like singing could lead to dancing, which they don’t favor. Before utilizing the methods across all schools, they tested their plans on 25 of the schools. Before doing so, they reassured the principals that the musical method is not shameful or merely a taboo approach.

There are also scientific studies that have illustrated how musical sounds can enhance neuroplasticity, as well as the brain’s ability to change due to experience and repetition. As a result, students can learn easier and make more progress than using standard methods.