Learning about Learning

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, Brandeis University

Category: DeLeT Longitudinal Survey

How to Fix Our Approach to Evaluation Research in Jewish Education—and Why We Need To

The Jewish community is blessed with lay leaders, philanthropists and professionals committed to creating vibrant and innovative Jewish learning opportunities for learners of all ages. Their relentless efforts have resulted in many exciting new educational initiatives. DeLeT alumni surveyStill, it is no secret that while we all have great hopes that each one of these initiatives will become a great success and have lasting impact on the field, not all do. Identifying the most effective initiatives is a daunting task, one for which solid evaluation research becomes a must for policymakers and funders. Continue reading

A Little Research in Support of School Change

Today’s guest post is by Shari Weinberger, curriculum coordinator at Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island. After attending the Mandel Center’s “community conversation” last fall on preparing and retaining excellent teachers for Jewish day schools, she was inspired to try some research in her own school. Here is her account of how that inquiry is helping make the school even more supportive of professional growth. Could such an inquiry strengthen similar efforts in the school you know best?

As the new Curriculum Coordinator at the Jewish Community Day School of Rhode Island (JCDSRI), I facilitate many teacher meetings, coach new teachers, and provide support and guidance to our entire teaching staff. I have a very clear vision of the school culture we are trying to create, but after attending the Mandel Center event last November and learning about the DeLeT Longitudinal Survey, I decided that administering a similar survey to our staff would provide important information to help me move forward.

Continue reading

Making Schools Places where Teachers can Learn

Sharon Feiman-NemserThe best way to improve student learning is to invest in teacher development, but few schools are set up for it, according to Mandel Center Director Sharon Feiman-Nemser.

Over 60 Jewish day school heads, teachers, board members and other educational leaders gathered at Brandeis recently to learn how to make schools places that support career-long learning for teachers. The gathering, convened by the Mandel Center, presented the Center’s latest research about what keeps teachers—from novices to the most experienced—learning, growing and improving.

Participants also learned about what drives teachers from the profession. Continue reading

How is the recession hitting Jewish day school classrooms?

What do we know about how the financial crisis, now almost three years old, has affected Jewish day schools? According to Mandel Center Senior Research Associate Eran Tamir, coverage by the mainstream and Jewish media has focused on the views of federation professionals, philanthropists, school leaders and administrators. Their views, which don’t always reflect the experiences of teachers and the impact on classrooms, have nevertheless framed the public discussion.

In his latest paper [PDF], part of the DeLeT Longitudinal Survey project, Tamir investigates how the recession is directly affecting teachers and their teaching at the classroom level, in their work with children. Continue reading

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