Thinking About Critical Questions

This blog post was originally published on Davar Acher.

I am about halfway through coursework for an EdD in Jewish Education Leadership. About 75% of my coursework is actually in secular K-12 education. As such, I am often pausing in my readings and asking myself, “How does this apply to Jewish education?” The following are ideas or questions I have recently come across in my K-12 learning that gave me pause to consider their implication in Jewish education. I am curious as to how YOU would answer these questions as they relate to Jewish education:

  1. What can we do to facilitate learning in other 85% of time, when kids are out of school? [Note: this figure is in public school, what about the 99% of time kids are out of supplemental school?]
  2. How can we expand the number of adults who are connecting to students?
  3. Can we reinvent the basic organization of schools in a 24/7 digital environment?
  4. What are the core competencies teachers should be responsible for?
  5. How much of education is “right answers” and how much is a personal answer?
  6. What is the nature of the process by which organizations, institutions, and societies transform themselves?
  7. What are the characteristics of effective learning systems?
  8. How is technology altering the very nature of pedagogy?
  9. Can you honestly say that your school’s curriculum and the program you use are preparing your students for 2015 or 2020? Are you even preparing them for today?
  10. What is a literate, aware & prepared citizen? (of Jewish community)?
  11. What are 21st century assessments for learning?

The final question was actually posed … What choices for topics, issues, problems, themes, and case studies are timely and necessary for our learners within disciplines? (i.e. What are scientists studying? What are engineers trying to build? What are the historians uncovering? What forms are writers generating? What are artists saying in their work?) (Jacobs, 2009, pg. 34). So based on this question, I ask:

What are adult Jews doing in their Jewish lives?

Perhaps the answer to that question should guide our Jewish education curriculum!

Sources

Bryk, A.S. (2008) The Future of Education Research

Jacobs, H.H. (2009) Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World

Schon, D. (1987) Educating the Reflective Practitioner

Smith, M.K. (2001) Donald Schon: Learning, Reflection and Change. Retrieved from: http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-schon.htm:

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