Genesis Encounters Darwin: A Case Study of Educators' Understandings of Curricular Integration in a Jewish High School

Published: 
Feb. 27, 2012

Source: Journal of Jewish Education, Volume 78, Issue 1, pages 34-57 

 

This case study describes and analyzes a Jewish high school program that sought to integrate Judaic and general studies. The research focused on the question of how educators at the “Keshet” School understood curricular integration. Administrators and teachers ascribed a range of meanings to this topic. Administrators articulated a vision of integration as a means of strengthening Jewish identity, whereas teachers were concerned with the practical aspects of linking subjects.

 

In this case study the author describes and analyzes a program which attempted to connect Jewish and general studies in the "Keshet Community High School". This case study of the Keshet School describes a program where general and Judaic studies are closely connected in an interdisciplinary curriculum that puts science at the center. This is important to a day school education because it allows students to consider issues like faith versus reason. Observing the school's signature event—Theme Week, an interdisciplinary program—she focused on educators' conceptions of curricular integration with particular attention to how they connected Jewish and general studies. She sought to uncover both administrators and teachers' understanding of what it means to integrate the curriculum. In addition to presenting their views, she demonstrates three different frameworks for integrating the curriculum that occurred during Theme Week. She concludes with implications for professional development.

 

This research posits three frameworks of integration based on Keshet teachers' practices. These are analyzed in terms of Schwab's (1978) commonplaces. The article suggests that day schools create professional development programs to help educators link Judaic and general studies, in order to encourage students to synthesize contrary ideas from the two areas, thereby creating their own meanings from these interrelationships.

Updated: Mar. 20, 2012
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