Who’s in Charge? - Making Hebrew School More Like Summer Camp


Source: Torah Aura Blog


In a post on the Torah Aura blog, David Bryfman, Director of the New Center for Collaborative Leadership and Teen Engagement at The Jewish Education Project, addresses the pressing question raised by many Jewish educators: How can we make Hebrew School more like summer camp? He answers by outlining a few principles of good learning that make camps so successful which should be adopted in complementary Jewish education: Learner-Centered Education, Experiential Education and Positive Jewish Role Models. But beyond these, he challenges complementary schools to empower their students, allowing them to create their own learning experiences and eagerly participate in them.


He writes:

"And that becomes the greatest challenge for complementary schools wanting to become more like summer camp. How much autonomy are educators really willing to cede? How willing are our schools to say that the learners, and not the curriculum or the teacher are the most important components of the classroom? How willing are our educators to take on a different role creating the parameters and opportunities for students to learn for themselves? How willing are we to say that our children are not just our future but also our present?"

Updated: May. 12, 2011


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Very Interesting article and topic. I've been banging my head on this issue. On the one hand I don't feel we need to make excuses for an academic approach to what we do and on the other hand I feel we have to find a way to draw children and their parents back in before the system collapses. Our younger families seem to be less concerned with community and more interested in sports and entertainment as a way of life. I might try a classroom centered shabbat service.