Source: Kav L'Chinuch May 28, 2015
The National Conference on Inquiry Learning and Project Based Learning (PBL) of The Pedagogic Secretariat of Israel's Ministry of Education, which was recently held at The Weitzman Institute in Rechovot, served as a stage for presenting examples of the implementation of problem based learning processes in a wide range of disciplines in the Israeli education system.
The conference was held as a continuation of the professional development programs developed by the Aleph Division of Pedagogic Development in cooperation with all the disciplinary divisions based on the "Union vs. Individuality" model.This model is an online model of professional development based on collaborative learning units, which are studied by all the participating teachers, and learning units built as templates and adapted to each of the various disciplines.
The conference had a number of aims. The first – to expose as many teachers, principals and inspectors as possible to this learning model via inquiry, to raise practical ideas and to carry on a discussion about pedagogical dilemmas concerning teaching, learning and assessment in the 21st century.
The second aim was to act as a stage for projects, initiatives and creative ideas which were born within classrooms over the last school year as the teachers who led these projects had participated in the online professional development sessions. In this way, each of the teachers and principals who attended the conference could adopt different ideas and adapt them to his class, the demographic makeup of his class, to his teaching discipline, etc.
An additional aim of the conference was to show the participants that the inquiry learning process is suitable to all types of schools and students with no exceptions – strong and weak students, center & periphery schools, religious and non-religious students as well as Jewish and non-Jewish students. Thus, for example, an interdisciplinary project carried out by students of Bedouin settlements was presented at the conference. Their project involved a model of a Pythagorean theorem, containing mathematic and technical aspects as well as characteristics of the Arabic language.
Up until now the chief inspectors of different disciplines, "sold" the PD sessions to individual interested teachers in each discipline. Now the Pedagogic Secretariat is working to develop school-wide PD sessions, for groups of leading teachers from the same school in order to create school wide adoption of the model.
Over 800 teachers and educators attended the conference which was held on May 15, 2015. The conference was planned and carried out by the Pedagogic Secretariat, The Center for Educational Technology and The Institute for Democratic Education.