Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Advice, mine and others'

An online magazine, EdJewTopia, asked Jewish educators for eight pieces of advice on Jewish education. Here's what I said:
  1. Israel education isn’t a magic bullet. While visiting Israel has a powerful effect on anyone who feels even the slightest bit Jewish, studying Israel in class is only meaningful if the student already feels Jewish. Otherwise it’s just social studies.
  2. Learning prayers doesn’t make a person religious. The experience of praying, and of attending religious services, is different from that of studying prayers.
  3. Time on task matters. Less class time = less learning. Also, less attendance = less learning.
  4. It takes commitment. Modeling mature Jewish belief is more important than transmitting information.
  5. Students need multiple role models. On the other hand, a teacher, principal, or rabbi is automatically in a different category from anything that most students imagine for themselves.
  6. Parents have more influence than do teachers. Family support for students’ education—in the form of living Jewishly—is essential.
  7. It takes a village. Well, a Jewish community. Learning to be part of the Jewish community is an essential goal of Jewish education. The school, the family, and the whole community need to work together.
  8. You’re still Jewish after the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony. Teaching only what is needed for the Mitzvah Event is a recipe for disaster. Jewish learning is a lifelong process.
Read the rest of the submissions here.

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