The authors describe four core principles for integrating the best aspects of camp culture into day schools.
HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal
If only school could be like camp… Many people’s fondest childhood memories are of camp with its unstructured days and enjoyable activities. Increasingly, under the rubric of informal or experiential education, schools are capturing some of the atmosphere of camp in the classroom and beyond. How can this model be adapted effectively to the educational rigor of a day school?
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Teachers should create lessons and assessments that enable students to engage with the material in ways that are relevant to their lives outside the classroom.
The authors propose kinds of teacher reflection and discussion that can lead toward greater student engagement and encourage an organic development of informal techniques in the classroom.
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"Veshinantam levanechah, “And you shall teach your children.” The words of Devarim proclaim the overriding importance of Jewish education. Even more critical than one’s own learning is the education of Jewish youth. “Every community is required to appoint teachers; a city without a teacher should be put under a ban until the inhabitants thereof appoint one. If they persist in not appointing a teacher, the city should be destroyed, for the world exists only through the breath of school children” (Shulchan Arukh, Yoreh Deah 245:7). But what constitutes education? These words resonate differently with us in the 21st century than they did for our ancestors.
Ten years ago I made a risky career move. Leaving the public school where my reputation as a teacher was secure, I came to the newly-forming American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina. A pluralistic Jewish boarding school erected on a suburban campus in a southern city—as if this was not enough of a venture, one additional consideration gave me great pause: I am not a Jew.
The author shows a method for blending the student-centered approach of Montessori with the goals of Jewish education.
Too many Jewish educators in various settings confuse informal education with pandering; the author urges a different approach, blending sensory engagement and group dynamics.
Artistic exploration and Jewish exploration can and should be one and the same. Here's how.
Games derived from improvisational theater can help students internalize the stories, characters and lessons of the Torah.
Students today turn to the Web for entertainment; schools can create Web environments to capitalize on their excitement for this media to benefit Jewish education.
The Web offers an enormous panorama of new options to expand and improve informal education. Go to ravsak.org for this article with hyperlinks.
For informal education in day school to be most effective, formal and informal educators need to work tightly on coordinating goals and curricula.
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