Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bringing the Theory to Life

By Dr. Haim Shaked and Dr. Hodaya Hoffman,
Lecturers in the Graduate Program
for Educational Administration and Organization
Recently, first-year students in the Graduate Program for Educational Administration and Organization conducted in-house school visits at the yeshiva high school AMIT Amichai in Rechovot, and at the Gvanim School in Sitriya. These visits served as visual labs, bridging the gap between the theory learned in the classroom and the application out in the field. Accordingly, the graduate students met with school administrators and educational staff, who exposed them to the ins and outs of real, hands-on educational administration.

Over the course of their visit to AMIT Amichai, the students encountered pedagogical innovation from up-close, witnessing how it is practiced. Pedagogical innovation is one piece of the school’s comprehensive program of Identity-Building Learning, the school’s unofficial guiding principle. This unique concept is built upon a renewed perspective on the role of the educator, and the building of a new kind of conversation within the yeshiva. Our students met with teachers, staff, and students, and learned about the school’s program from the perspective of each. Complementing this, the meeting with the rosh yeshiva (head of the school) demonstrated the administrator’s key role in bringing about pedagogical innovation.

The tour of the Gvanim School focused on the concept of dispersed leadership, according to which the ins and outs of leadership are accomplished through a system of mutual and shared leadership between the directors and the directed. Over the course of their visit, the graduate students saw how this leadership model is applied in the school, through discussion groups, meetings, and more.
These tours are a new version of a practicum course, part of the study for a Master’s degree in Educational Administration and Organization. The schools hosted us warmly, investing in an open dialogue between the academy and the educational field. These visits left a strong impression upon the students and provided them with much to consider, with respect to both pedagogical practice and proper management. The tour opened a new vista for the students, to ideas, approaches, and initiatives which they had not yet encountered, but most of all, it showed how to bring theories to life!

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