Learning about Learning

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

Author: Sarah Birkeland

On-Line Toolkit Supports Teacher Learning in Schools

Teaching is complex work, and learning to do it well takes time. Even the most rigorously-prepared new teacher encounters a steep learning curve on the job. The first several years of full-time classroom teaching are a time of intense learning, during which teachers form the teaching habits and professional dispositions that will stay with them through their careers. Continue reading

You never know where an idea can go

Ever wonder where an idea goes? It might just travel half way around the world!

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting a small delegation from the Israeli Ministry of Education. Gila Nagar, Deputy Director General responsible for teacher education and professional development, and Shlomit Amichai, director of Teach for Israel and former Director General at the Ministry, joined us at the Mandel Center for a morning of lively conversation about their work and ours.

Sharon Feiman-Nemser, Sarah Birkeland, Shlomit Amichai and Gila Nagar

Sharon Feiman-Nemser, Sarah Birkeland, Shlomit Amichai, Gila Nagar

They came to discuss recent reforms to teacher preparation, induction and professional development in Israel, including much tighter integration among these three previously separate processes. New teachers now receive three years of mentoring and professional development targeted toward their specific needs. Experienced teachers pursue individual growth plans within a shared overall framework of effective instruction. The changes they described were far reaching and impressive.

Where did the impetus to rethink Israel’s approach to teacher development come from?

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Getting the Word Out about Induction

New teachers leave Jewish Day Schools at an alarming rate – up to five times the rate of public school teachers, according to some researchers. This constant turnover drains schools of talent, morale, and money, as administrators continually scramble to recruit and hire new candidates. How can we stop that scramble? At the Mandel Center’s Induction Partnership Project we offer a solution backed by current research and practical experience: build strong systems of new teacher induction. When schools invest in new teachers’ success, the benefits reach far beyond those teachers’ classrooms. A thoughtfully-planned induction program can build a strong and stable faculty, transform a school’s professional culture, and improve the quality of teaching offered to all its students. Continue reading

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