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Visiting Educational Institutions

The last few days were  very busy.  We visited several educational institutions:  "Tali Gilo" primary school in Jerusalem, "Amihai" primary school in Kibuyz Kvutzat Yavne, "Branco Weiss" junior and high school in Beit Shemesh," the Youth Village in Ben Shemen, the "Pisga" Center for teacher development in Herzliya. These were all part of the educational journey we are taking.

What is amazing is the various aspects that all these institutes have in common; all are committed to excellence in education and work to develop and implement pedagogically and organizationally innovative programs, as well as to enhancing individual and social growth guided by the values of responsible leadership, constructive action, cooperation, integrity, and positive thinking.

These common aspects are reflected through the comprehensive approach to the education of the students and through the teaching staff who challenge and nurture personal and community perspectives.

They explained to us about the holistic educational process in which they create an individualized learning plan for each student, based on the combined mapping of his/her scholastic needs (the subjects in which he/she requires reinforcement) and his/her social and personal needs.

The teachers participate in training sessions throughout the school year; focus on teaching methods, individualized instruction, mapping tools, the design of individualized learning plans, skills, and learning and thinking strategies for fostering independent learners.

They all apply, in various ways, a very interesting pedagogic attitude related to the idea of a pedagogy based on questions, inquiry-based learning, individual and joint learning, dialogical teaching, peer teaching, feedback that leads to learning, and the concept of the teacher and sometimes the student  as mentor and expert leader.

The pupils and teachers participate in the learning experience as active partners in inquiry. Pupils can choose studies with an emphasis on music, drama, art, science, nature and the environment, and so forth, providing pupils with a deep, significant learning experience that speaks to them personally.

But the most important fact that really is prominent relates to the aspect of collaboration. Yes, it seems that Collaboration is the Key to Success, everything that takes place within the various institutions is operated in partnership with all the local educational agents: the local authority, the principals, and the school staff. This collaboration takes the form of joint decision-making, development of pedagogical materials through joint learning, and regular updates about events in the field.

It makes me think that our slogan -"Sharing is Inspiring" has a great deal of significance when looking at our desire to inspire a better way of education, where ever we are.