Keywords: Teacher training, creative and participatory training courses, awareness raising among teachers and staff

Access Israel

Access Israel, a major national NGO, has developed a training program for teachers and school staff, teaching them how to work with people with disabilities, including experiential activities that simulate life with a disability and first-hand experiences. Constantly growing since 2012, over 2000 teachers were trained in 2018. Access Israel wants to further grow the number of schools and teachers, with the ultimate goal of fully integrating it in the curriculum for teachers.

About the practice at a glance
Name of OrganisationAccess Israel
Type of organisationNGO
Country
of Implementation
Israel
Year started2012
Funding modelMix of public and private grant-funding, contributions by schools and parents

IMPACT

We have started this project in 2012 with a group of 30 teachers and have been replicating it ever since. In the years since then almost 8,000 teachers and school staff participated in trainings of teachers. During the year 2018 almost 100 trainings have been conducted for teachers and staff in schools all over Israel. Thus, over 2000 teachers were trained in 2018.

Persons with disabilities are actively involved in the project as they give their personal insights to life with a disability. They share their story, challenges and successes of being a student or parent with a disability. They share with the teachers and school staff what they would have wished in their educational framework, what helped them and what was challenging for them. These personal stories are important and help the teachers to better understand what is necessary for true inclusion.

 

THEORY OF CHANGE

We asked projects to outline their impact model (also called Theory of Change) – their main target groups, the key activities they offer these target groups, and what impact they want to achieve:

Target GroupActivityImpact
Schools
Accessibility training for everyone
that works in the schools

Create an overall accessible and
inclusive environment in the
school for students with
disabilities and those without
disability
TeachersAccessibility experiential trainingHave the tools and knowledge to
make their classrooms accessible
and inclusive for all
School staffAccessibility experiential trainingHave the tools and knowledge to
provide accessible and inclusive
services for all

REPLICATION EXPERIENCE

We have already replicated our innovation. We have started this project in 2012 with a group of 30 teachers and have been replicating it ever since. The project is replicable on a national and international level in any country thanks to the customization and easily adaptive method. AI replicates this project all over Israel in schools with different geographical and socio-economic backgrounds. Each project element can be adapted to the needs of the school, thus the project has the potential to be replicated all over the world and be a key element of raising awareness for accessibility and inclusion in schools. 

In addition, we started to introduce our teacher training abroad. In Latvia, Access Israel had the opportunity to present our teacher training model, where it was received with great interest and enthusiasm. The program was also introduced in Austria, USA, Germany and Brazil. In the USA a new organization called Friends of Access Israel was established recently and one of their goals is to duplicate successful models and innovations from Access Israel including the teacher’s training. The need for adaptation to the relevant culture is referred to when we present this project abroad. 

 Access Israel became an advisor to the Ministry of Education in regards of accessibility and inclusion and together we can reach schools all over the country. In addition to the Ministry we are in the process of making these trainings as an essential “on the job training” repeated on a yearly basis. One definite achievement is the fact that we were part of the team that assisted in promoting legislation that past regulations on making such training mandatory by law as is accepted in Israel for service providers to undergo annual training on accessible services. In addition, we partner with other organizations that are niche organizations for specific disabilities (such as mental disabilities, blind people using guidance dogs etc.) and train and incorporate their people in our training. 

ORGANISATIONAL CAPACITY AND STRATEGY

Replication of our projects in general and specifically our accessibility teacher training is a priority for Access Israel. We believe that it is essential for teachers and school staff to receive training to adjust their lessons to be accessible and inclusive for students with disabilities all over the world. We therefore put a lot of efforts into replicating this project, so far nationally, but hopefully soon internationally too. We have the human resources to replicate this project. Our staff in the education department are experts in the field and have the knowledge and the abilities to replicate this project internationally.

MOTIVATION

We know that our project has that effect on teachers and it is important to us to continue replicating our project because we believe that it has the potential to be implemented in schools all over the world and can achieve real and impactful results. We have been successful replicating our project on a national level and are now looking for ways to replicate this project on an international level. Access Israel is a true believer of the importance and value of the global sharing of knowledge and experience to create a world without barriers.