Source: Journal of Jewish Education, Volume 76, Issue 2, pages 164 – 188
Jewish day schools offer many experiences meant to foster the Jewish development of students. However, these experiences are at risk of being disconnected from one another, complicating a comprehensive approach to addressing issues of identity.
This article uses a constructivist approach to identity development to frame the challenges posed by such a fragmentation. Observations of pluralistic Jewish day high schools are brought as illustrations. The author discusses an approach of scaffolded reflection as a way to integrate the identity—enhancing experiences in which a student participates.
"Integration that involves a coordinated thematic approach, as described above, rather than discrete experiences, can lend coherence to a school's developmental program. A student, however, may still encounter a myriad of messages and experiences—in and out of school—related to who they are and whom they should, or could, become. For these messages and experiences to be most impactful, adolescents must integrate them into an ongoing sense of oneself over time. To create a coherent life narrative, students need opportunities to “digest” these messages and experiences, to break them down in their minds and to think about how they relate to who they are, to contemplate discrepant messages, and to compare new ideas or actions against previously held beliefs about the world, about Judaism, and about themselves…