HOT TOPIC: What can we learn from secular education about teacher training in Jewish education?

Hana Bor


 I have been involved in Jewish education for over 25 years, serving as a teacher, advisor, mentor, principal, and director to students ranging from elementary to graduate school, and working in both religious and secular environments. Throughout, I have repeatedly struggled with how to merge religious and secular educational techniques.  I have discovered that there is a shortage of opportunities for Jewish educators to come together in an academic environment and acquire the tools to become exceptional Jewish educators. In an effort to address this need, I have founded the Instructional Leadership Institute for Jewish Educators in collaboration with a team of Towson University (TU) professors from the Center for Leadership in Education.

The Jewish experience is unique and requires a customized approach and set of rules. This is particularly true in the field of Jewish education. The guidelines and procedures that work so well for teachers and administrators in public schools may not easily translate to a Jewish day school, yeshiva or Hebrew school. Nevertheless, there are many innovations and developments in secular education that would greatly benefit the Jewish community.

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1 thought on “HOT TOPIC: What can we learn from secular education about teacher training in Jewish education?

  1. I applaud the effort described in this article, and all other efforts to bring the wisdom of the secular educational world into the Jewish school. Kol Hakavod for engaging in this very important work. I have two thoughts to share:
    1-I do hope that Jewish Early Childhood Eductation is a significant part of this institute, since early childhood educators do not teach smaller versions of older students. It is a whole separate discipline that is totally rooted in an intimate understanding of the developmental stages of very young children. God, spirituality, and Jewish celebration all can fit, but it must be in developmentally appropriate ways.
    2-I would like to know about the efforts the program makes in INTEGRATING the Judaic with the secular knowledge. Successful implementation of secular pedagogy into our various Jewish environments involves bringing “Torah” (in its broadest sense) to our children and bringing our children close to Torah, This is OUR challenge, and it is a mighty one!

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