After three years of working with Jewish-Israeli and Arab-Israeli school children, we thought it was high time to get some evaluation done to measure Play2Talk impact on program Elluminate.

Play2Talk is the organization’s educational program. It utilizes the popularity of video games in order to promote tolerance and to reduce prejudice and stereotypes between school children from different ethnic background. the program consists of virtual game world interaction that requires cooperation and leads to face to face encounters in which participants get to know each other and each other’s cultures.

This study was conducted from February 2017 to April 2017 in two elementary schools, one Arab and one Jewish, in Haifa and was led by D.r Rony Berger.  Dr.  Berger is a senior clinical psychologist who is an internationally recognized expert in dealing with the psychological preparation for and the aftermath of terrorism and other major disasters as well as prejudice-reduction among ethnic groups in conflict.

To assess stereotyping and prejudicial attitudes, 4 variables were used: willingness to interact, prejudicial feelings, behavioral expectations, positive thoughts about the other and actual contact. All the instruments that were used have high reliability and were validated in the Israeli context. They were delivered before the beginning of the program and two weeks after its termination.

Overall the findings of Dr. Berger’s study lend strong support to the effectiveness of the program. More specifically, compared to those who did not, participants who took part in the program:

  1. Expressed much higher willingness to interact (e.g., meet, host, study with) with kids from the other national group;
  2. Exhibited much less prejudicial feelings (e.g., hate, sense of threat) towards members of the other national group;
  3. Expressed much more positive thoughts (e.g., being wise, being generous, being brave) about members of the other national group;
  4. Showed much less willing to engage in insulting/hurting/disrespectful behaviors towards members of the other national group;
  5. Had more actual contact with members of the other national group.

 

In addition to the quantitative information gathered from this research, we also got some good feedback from school leaders. As one of the schools’ principal said: “the children had fun, this joined activity taught them that “the other” is actually someone just like them – someone that they can talk to and relate to – that “the other” is not an enemy. I believe this program had a very good influence on the children and they realized that reality is different to what they see on the news”