Israel Education Standards and Benchmarks: Which Waze Do We Go?

September 7, 2016

Source: eJewish Philanthropy


Yedida Bessemer asked eJP readers to think about what excellent Israel education looks like and called for field-wide standards and benchmarks to determine whether efforts are effective. We at the iCenter want to share our experience from seven years of building this field and working closely with schools, camps, synagogues, Israel travel experiences, and other educational and communal settings to help learners, in any environment, develop meaningful relationships with Israel, the land, and its people.

While much work lies ahead, we offer a range of approaches, resources, specific programs, and more from which educators can draw so that all kinds of learners – regardless of personal interests, level of previous knowledge, Hebrew language skills, travel in Israel, or other factors – will engage in outstanding Israel learning experiences.

As educators continue to seek help infusing Israel into their learning environments, a good starting point is the iCenter’s Aleph Bet of Israel Education, a set of 12 core principles, approaches to content, and essential pedagogies that together constitute the building blocks for the field. Sections of the Aleph Bet include: “Israel as a Cornerstone of Jewish Identities,” “Eretz, Medina, and Am Yisrael,” “Modern Hebrew,” “Israeli Arts and Culture,” “Relating and Relationship-Building,” and “The Educator,” among other principles.

We recognize that principles do not alone build a field. Yedida is right in calling for educational standards and benchmarks. How do we go about developing them and ensuring their productive use? Whether in schools, camps, or other communities, we see the greatest success when each institution decides on its own standards and benchmarks with the buy-in of its faculty, staff, and other key leaders. Day schools can look to three related models to help guide development of their Israel education standards and benchmarks.

Read the entire post at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Sep. 11, 2016