Section archive - Formal Education
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The teaching and learning of Modern Hebrew outside of Israel is essential to Jewish education and identity. One of the most contested issues in Modern Hebrew pedagogy is the use of code-switching between Modern Hebrew and learners’ first language. Moreover, this is one of the longest running disputes in the broader field of second language research and education. Based on recent conceptualizations of bi/multilingualism together with findings from an empirical investigation of beginner students at an Australian university, this article argues that strategic use of code-switching serves the needs of both learners and teachers working within a bi/multilingual educational environment.
Updated: Nov. 16, 2016
Students in “community” (nondenominational) Jewish high schools represent a diversity of denominational affiliations, including those who affiliate with more than one denomination and those that affiliate with none. These schools strive to create communities in which students with varying Jewish beliefs and practices are, at the very least, respected and comfortable. At the same time, schools work to avoid internal Jewish communal fragmentation. In this article, the approach to diversity in three such high schools is compared. Each school, in addition to presenting an approach distinct from the others, has created opportunities for communal Jewish engagement through the enactment of practices that are rooted in Judaism and in the ethos of the school, and allow individualization within universal participation. Further, the range of approaches to Jewish diversity exhibited raises questions about pluralism as it relates to the Jewish educational goals of these schools.
Updated: Nov. 16, 2016
At Yavneh Day School, it became clear that if Hebrew is to be a value, we need a paradigm shift. This shift must reflect what we know today about language acquisition, brain development, and 21st-century learning skills. We determined then that the most obvious limitation to success was time. Best practice dictates that immersion should happen consistently for at least four hours a day. It is not unusual for more traditional schools to offer four hours a day of Jewish and Hebrew studies, which might be taught mostly in Hebrew. In a community day school setting like ours, the demands of the secular curriculum are often such that four hours of Hebrew instruction is difficult to achieve.
Updated: Nov. 02, 2016
What Really Matters in Synagogue Education? Comparing an Alternative Program Model and a Conventional School Model
This study is an in-depth examination of two synagogue education programs, one a conventional “Hebrew School” structure and the other an alternative program modeled after Jewish summer camp. Through the lens of the teaching of Bible to children in the Grade 3-5 age range, I provide thick descriptions of an alternative and a successful conventional congregational supplementary education program and compare them in order to gain insight into what distinguishes the two models, where they are similar and the impact these similarities and differences might have on the proliferation and/or staying power of one or the other type of models. The programs are presented as case studies organized according to four domains of curricular function: the educating institution, the educational leadership, the teacher (or unit head) and the observed classroom/camp session. How do the organizations or individuals associated with each of these domains understand the teaching of Bible in their respective program structures? In what ways does the programmatic structure influence the choice of content knowledge and pedagogy?
Updated: Nov. 02, 2016
While the study of rabbinic literature is a central component of the Jewish day school curriculum in both liberal and Orthodox schools, we know almost nothing about what students have learned, what they understand, or how they think. Educators and researchers therefore lack the empirical basis to articulate sound educational goals for this subject. In an initial, exploratory phase of this project, we examined students' understanding of rabbinics by gathering interview data from new day school alumni, with input from scholars, teachers and other subject matter experts. A report on the findings from Phase I is now available. Phase II is now extending the exploration, gathering new data to enrich our understanding.
Updated: Oct. 09, 2016
Rabbi Joy Leasked herself founded the Jewish Journey Project, an initiative designed to “revolutionize Jewish education for children,” five years ago. The JJP is rooted in a flexible model for children in 3rd-7th grades, and offers courses held at several partner synagogues and at the JCC Manhattan weekly from Monday-Thursday. The program takes advantage of rich opportunities to engage outside of the classroom, making use of the vast Jewish resources of New York City. In addition, the Jewish Journey Project offers small classes and different learning modalities aimed at resonating with all families, including those with children who have special needs. There’s also a learning specialist on the JJP staff that can help families choose which classes might work best for children.
Updated: Oct. 05, 2016
Contribution of Dance Studies from the Point of View of Religious Dance Teachers in Formal Education
This article examines perceptions of observant dance teachers on aspects related to their professional world. The study included 119 teachers, graduates of the dance department at an academic - religious college of education in Israel. The data was collected through a structured questionnaire developed specifically for the study and through interviews with teachers. The data shows that the predictor for the perception of the contribution of dance lessons to pupils is the interrelations between dance and the inner world. The significance of these interrelations arises, among other things, in the finding that the teachers' choice of instruction of the art of dance allows them to realize themselves and mold a new path in the instruction of dance within a religious worldview, as part of an education system compatible with their own worldview.
Updated: Oct. 05, 2016
CASJE (the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education) today released the first of three literature reviews that explores what recent research about heritage, second and foreign language learning means for the teaching and learning of Hebrew. This first review in the series, Implications of Heritage Language Research for Hebrew Teaching and Learning, shows the many personal and external factors that influence this learning—and demonstrate that Jewish educators would be helped by more significant research on the subject. “Heritage language” refers to a language other than the dominant language that is familiar, not foreign, to the user. Feuer’s review focuses on the majority of young Hebrew language learners who are ethnically Jewish but who do not speak Hebrew at home as their primary language. She also notes that while Hebrew is not strictly-speaking a heritage language for most users in North America, there is still merit in mining research in this field.
Updated: Sep. 28, 2016
The Contribution of School Climate and Teaching Quality to the Improvement of Learning Achievements, According to an External Evaluation System
The goal of the current research is to evaluate the contribution of school climate and teaching quality to the improvement of students ’ learning achievements in elementary schools and junior high schools, according to a national external evaluation system, the measurements of school efficiency and growth tests (MEITZAV). 60 schools took part in the research, including 158 5th grades and 157 8th grades. The information about their achievements was taken from the open database of the Israel Ministry of Education.
Updated: Sep. 08, 2016
Teaching about the Holocaust in Israel: A Pedagogical Approach Adopted by the Israeli Ministry of Education
Holocaust education in any setting requires a careful approach, taking into consideration the cultural sensitivities of the target audiences, local history and current trends. In Israel, where Holocaust education has been created and developed over decades to produce models used around the world, this approach can be examined using the prism of the nationally instituted curriculum. The following article presents the rationale and ramifications of Holocaust education in Israel, as well as principles and suggestions to be considered in Holocaust education world over.
Updated: Aug. 31, 2016