Monday, November 2, 2009

Better Jewish Educators=Better Jewish Education

Arne Duncan, secretary of education, has some interesting ideas about the problems in teacher education.

Susan Engel, senior lecturer in psychology and director of the teaching program at Williams College in Massachusetts, offers some suggestions in this article.

As you read the article at the link, think about which of the ideas might be relevant to the improvement of Jewish educational practice.

I certainly agree that "...future teachers should continue studying the subject they hope to teach, ... It makes no sense at all to stop studying the thing you want to teach at the very moment you begin to learn how."

And surely it would be wonderful if "...young teachers, like young doctors, [could] work side by side with skilled mentors, getting plenty of feedback, having plenty of opportunities to observe and taking on greater and greater responsibility as they improve."

What if "...young teachers [were encouraged] to record their daily encounters with their classrooms and then, with mentors and peers, have serious, open-minded conversations about what’s working and what isn’t."?

And who could argue against the suggestion that "Teachers must also learn far more about children"?

Few of our schools have the size or resources to "... hire these newly prepared teachers in groups of seven or more" to create their own supportive community. But we know from other sources that collegial reflection and learning among teachers is one of the most important roads to improvement, and I'm sure that it doesn't have to be a community of only new teachers to be effective.

We in Jewish education don't have to re-invent the wheel. The wheel exists. It's been 'rolling around' for quite a while now in general education. Some wheels are expensive, but some just take a few people with initiative and motivation to bring them into a school.

What we are doing as Jewish educators is important. Let's act as though we believe that.

No comments:

Post a Comment