Framing the Training for Our Emerging Jewish Experiential Educators

January 13, 2012

Source: eJewish Philanthropy


Mark S. Young, Program Coordinator of the Experiential Learning Initiative, William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary, introduces a framework developed at Davidson that allows for integration into cohesive and intentional training for experiential educators. Six strands comprise this framework: Intentionality, Facilitation, Holistic Jewish Growth, Meaningful Reflection, Meaningful and Accessible Jewish Content, and Visionary Leadership and Strategic Administration.


He writes:

"We presented these strands as a framework for our students’ in their first semester seminar examining Jewish experiential education. We asked them to think about what makes experiential learning excellent and the experiential educator a successful one, utilizing these strands to help them synthesize their thoughts, insights and conclusions.


We used the six strands as a lens during our visits throughout the New York City area including Columbia/Barnard Hillel, 92YTribeca, the Jewish Farm School at Eden Village Camp and the Museum of Jewish Heritage. The strands were also core to our conversations with field leaders who facilitated sessions on Jewish camp, service learning, and youth group settings for us, and when we met with executives from organizations such as Hazon, Moving Traditions and Limmud-NY.


 In each session we asked several of the following:

  • Are these organizations, educators and programs being intentional about their educational goals and desired outcomes?
  • Are their educators acting as facilitators of learner experiences, successfully allowing the learners to develop their own guided understandings and conclusions?
  • Are they reaching the whole learner, their various interests (Jewish and non-), intelligences and complexities?
  • Are they providing opportunity for meaningful reflection for each learner to draw out his/her learning, engagement, and connection to the material and its Jewish content?
  • Was the Jewish content accessible and did their educators incorporate techniques to make it meaningful to the learners?
  • Do these respective settings and educators plan with clear vision, strong and effective leadership, and with functional and strategic administration?

Addressing these questions brought rich thoughts, insights and opportunities for processing to our discussions. It also brought substantial personal and professional growth among our students. It gave them guiding points and a road map to dig deeper, identifying the why and how of the success (and weaknesses) of Jewish experiential education, and more broadly, good Jewish educational practice."


Read the entire post at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Mar. 05, 2012