A Jedcamp of Our Own at Yavneh Academy

November 10, 2013

Source: Thinking about Chinuch


Aaron Ross of Yavneh Academy, a coordinator and moving force in the Jedcamp model of professional education in Jewish education, wondered if the Edcamp/Jedcamp model has the potential to supplant traditional professional development, or is it doomed to remain a niche phenomenon, enticing a certain type of teacher while failing to reach the majority? His experiment at Yavneh Academy provided some interesting answers.


"We put this question to the test this past week at Yavneh Academy, where I serve as a teacher and administrator. For our Election Day in-service, we divided the day into four parts, some for development and some for housekeeping. For an hour and a half after lunch, we devoted the time to an in-house Jedcamp for our entire faculty.


Knowing that not everyone was familiar with the model, I had sent out several emails in the weeks leading up to the event explaining some of the rules, and I used some time during lunch on Election Day to review the major points. A sign-up board was placed in the lunch room, allowed for two 35-minute sessions and up to five rooms at a time (we had roughly 80-90 faculty members present). After a slow start, the board quickly began filling up, with topics as diverse as teaching through movement, balancing life as a teacher and a parent, and how to handle the convergence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah (which happens this year and not again for almost 80,000 years). Once the board was filled and teachers had a chance to choose their first session, I stood back, held my breath and... Success. ….

So, what were my takeaways from this experiment?

  • The Edcamp model can work even when the participants "have to" be there.
  • Schools should consider a change of pace for some future PD day and allow the faculty the opportunity to make use of this model to discuss the issues that they want to talk about.
  • Hopefully, the next time I post that a Jedcamp is taking place, more teachers will be aware of what that is and may even try it out.


Read the entire post on the Thinking about Chinuch Blog.

Updated: Nov. 27, 2013