Learning about Learning

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

Tag: teacher preparation (page 3 of 5)

New Scholarship Sheds Light on Teacher Learning and Improvement

This story is reprinted from Brandeis NOW

Authors at the book partyFour new books by Brandeis faculty members offer insights resulting from many years of research into questions about what really happens between teachers and learners in classrooms. At a recent book party, Sharon Feiman-Nemser and Vivian Troen of the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education and Helen Featherstone and Susan Jean Mayer of the Education Program shared some highlights from their latest works with an enthusiastic audience of faculty members, staff, students and friends.

Moderator Marya Levenson, director of the Education Program, said the books “provide depth and understanding. We need to talk about what teaching is, and what we need to do to support teacher development.” 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

What? Another day off?

This guest post is by Bil Zarch, head of school at Lander-Grinspoon Academy in Northampton, Massachusetts. LGA is a partner school in phase two of the Mandel Center’s Induction Partnership.

LGA visions of good teachingSome parents may have grumbled when our students had another day off recently, but it was probably the most important day off that students have taken in a long time. While they were resting and relaxing, our faculty was deeply immersed in the work of creating a document for a “Vision of Good Teaching” at LGA.

This isn’t just a one-day, months-long, or even year-long project. It is a multifaceted, ongoing collaboration that is taking our school on a journey to even higher places, as we focus on the question, “How do we make schools a place for teacher learning?” 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

The Critical Supports Every Teacher Needs

By Joseph Reimer

This guest post is adapted from the editor’s note in the June 2011 issue of Journal of Jewish Education.

Lee Shulman (2004) is a master at providing wisdom about the process of teaching. One gem I treasure is what I call “Shulman’s paradox.”

Teaching is impossible. If we simply add together all that is expected of a typical teacher and take note of the circumstances under A teacherwhich those activities are to be carried out, the sum makes greater demands than any individual can possibly fulfill. Yet, teachers teach….  How is the impossible rendered possible in practice? (p. 151)

Most of us who prepare and mentor teachers face Shulman’s paradox. Continue reading

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