Section archive - Formal Education
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Edward Greenstein's article (JJE 75:3) reminds us of the important contributions that academic scholars of subject matter can make to the discourse of Jewish education. This response highlights some of Greenstein's argument and explores an area that his article does not examine in depth: the role of teachers' beliefs in the pedagogic decisions that they make. Greenstein's article might suggest that teachers' educational choices are determined by their training and by rational decision making. This response suggests that such a view underestimates the important role that beliefs—of various sorts—play in the teaching that we see in classrooms.
Updated: Oct. 19, 2009
Many Bible scholars have become aware of the fact that the results we produce are dependent on the particular approaches that we choose to employ, and have become more self-conscious about the methods we use and the reasons we use them. Each approach to the analysis and interpretation of a text will yield its own type of meaning or understanding. This thesis is an outgrowth of pragmatic philosophy. A multiperspective approach to teaching Bible is advocated, and it is illustrated with reference to the Tower of Babel narrative.
Updated: Oct. 14, 2009
In this article, Mark Smilowitz describes an approach to teaching halakha which enables the students as researchers. The approach opens new vistas for student exploration and can be easily adapted for almost any discipline.
Updated: Oct. 13, 2009
With the opening of the 2009-10 school year, 5 more elementary schools around the FSU will begin to implement the TaL Am curriculum of Hebrew language and Jewish heritage, bringing to 700 the number of FSU elementary school students studying in the TaL Am program. During the 2007 and 2008 school years, the Heftziba program - a joint project of Israel’s Ministry if Education and the Jewish Agency - and the administration of the Ohr Avner Foundation, have been implementing a pilot project of the TaL Am program in ten elementary schools. The positive results of the pilot project have brought the addition of the new schools.
Updated: Oct. 11, 2009
The ORT Belgrano and Almagro schools are large Jewish technical junior high and high schools in Buenos Aires providing state of the art science and technological education along with a mandatory Jewish studies curriculum. The high academic level of the schools attracts many students who otherwise might not have experienced a Jewish education. These pluralistic, Jewish institutions whose attractiveness lies in the extraordinary academic opportunities they provide could serve as a model for making Jewish education appealing to unengaged Jewish families in other communities.
Updated: Sep. 10, 2009
In this opinion piece, Jonathan Woocher, JESNA's Chief Ideas Officer, tries to provide an answer to a very pressing question for American Jews: 'Can supplementary education provide a meaningful and satisfying Jewish educational experience'? His reply: By adopting an innovative approach, mapping the current landscape and working with existing providers and potential new ones, to build a “system” that would offer as many high-quality options as the market can support that goal might be attained.
Updated: Aug. 05, 2009
The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, in partnership with other Jewish organizations, has begun a national initiative designed to create models of excellence in Jewish early childhood education, increase the number of families with children attending quality Jewish early childhood centers, and raise the number of families continuing to engage in Jewish learning and living after pre-school – The Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative. More than a dozen nursery schools across the country are currently participating in the initiative. Founded in 2003, JECEI, seeks to combine progressive education techniques imported from Reggio Emilia, Italy with a deeply embedded Jewish curriculum. This year, the program is expanding to new schools in communities across the country.
Updated: Jul. 01, 2009
This article presents an empirical study of a seventh-grade Talmud class in a religious boys' school in Israel. This case study touches upon and attempts to elucidate aspects of several broader areas. It is fundamentally an example of the transmission of culture, values, and culturally valued text in a schooling context, which exists within a larger societal framework. Using ethnographic methods, and informed by discourse analysis in general and classroom discourse in particular, the study reflects upon the relationship between schooling and its surrounding society and the constraints put into place by the very structures of the institution of school on the study of Talmud.
Updated: Jul. 01, 2009
A small but growing number of Jewish day schools across the United States — including Modern Orthodox, Conservative and community schools —have started to teach Arabic. The schools are offering Arabic as a curricular class or an extracurricular club in answer to a growing demand by students. Jewish students’ motivations for learning Arabic range from connecting to family roots, acquiring economic or political communications skills, or trying to understand the Arabs in order to contribute in some small way, to the peace process.
Updated: Jun. 25, 2009
In order to help meet the day school tuition crisis faced by parents and community, the author has been working on an alternative model for high school: a hybrid institution that allows students greater individuality in their program, offers more classes, and is less expensive. This hybrid model combines day school culture, online charter school classes, and online and traditional Judaic Studies classes, all within a brick-and-mortar building where students would socialize, interact and work together. He hopes to open such a school in Los Angeles by fall 2010.
Updated: Jun. 09, 2009