LAMED is ATID's blog roundup of articles, resources, and occasional commentary for Jewish education. Lamed is updated a few times a week by ATID's Jerusalem staff. Visit us at www.atid.org.
Almost made the Duh! Department:
The Jerusalem Post on why Rabbi Chaim brovender is like an oil strike or a hi-tech startup,
In our "Notes From ATID" series, we recently published Dr. Joel B. Wolowelsky's Hebrew monograph exploring the nature of counseling religious students vs. pesak halakhah (rendering decisive legal rulings on matters of Jewish law), the tensions between them, and the integrity each possesses as a religious and educational act. Dr. Wolowelsky's essay is followed by responses from Rabbis Yuval Sherlo and Yigal Bezalel Shafran.
Coming soon in the "Notes From ATID" series: Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein and Rabbi Yehuda Brandes debate solutions to the challenges of teaching Gemara in high schools (in English).
Evening of Tribute to Rabbi Chaim Brovender
Several times a year, ATID summarizes recent research, trends, and ideas in Jewish education. By doing so, we hope to keep the community of educators up to date on information that they may find useful, and help to set an agenda for further research and thinking in Jewish education.
In this installment, ATID's Director of Research and Projects, Dr. Yoel Finkelman, writes on: "The Crises in Contemporary Orthodox Education: Part 1 - A Teacher Shortage?"
Rabbi Mitch Heifetz -- a great Jewish educator -- has died.
According to the apple-or-coin test, used in the Middle Ages, children should start school when they are mature enough for the delayed gratification and abstract reasoning involved in choosing money over fruit. In 15th- and 16th-century Germany, parents were told to send their children to school when the children started to act “rational.” And in the contemporary world, children are deemed eligible to enter kindergarten according to an arbitrary date on the calendar known as the birthday cutoff. Did the Medievals know something we don't?
For much of the last century it was a commonplace of research into the professional lives of teachers that they invariably worked in isolation, behind closed doors, in the insulated environment of their own classrooms. This sociological circumstance became a central target for reformers who argued that if teachers’ work was deprivatized, or if schools were viewed as communities rather than as organizations, a variety of benefits would follow.
At high schools across America, more and more students are graduating with grade-point averages of A, including some whose averages are well above the traditional 4.0 for an A. Grades -- some weighted with extra points or fractions of points for taking harder courses -- are getting so high that a solid B is becoming the new C, which years ago was considered average. Click.
"There is tremendous pressure by parents to begin formal education as early as possible," says Mirit Cohen, a kindergarten teacher from Tel Aviv. "They ask that the kids learn quickly to write, that we conduct a preparatory course for first grade and that everyone be ready for school. At every parent-teacher gathering I say that we should cool it a little - that 12 more years of school await the children. They should be allowed to be children."
From the author of The Explosive Child, a new website is disseminating, on a large scale, a more contemporary, accurate understanding of the true difficulties of challenging kids and more effective ideas about how to help them. The site was developed with Parents, Educators, Clinicians, and Pediatricians in mind. Upon entrance to the site, each audience is directed to their own specially designed section and guided through a step-by-step process that explains this new way of thinking about and helping challenging kids. Each section includes answers to common questions and easy access to a variety of training materials. There are also blogs which are frequently updated and present a great way to continue your learning about Collaborative Problem Solving over time. Click here for www.thinkkids.org