What can Yentl teach us about how we guide our Jewish students today? Approximately 70 Jewish educators from around the city gathered with Dr. Ari Kelman, of Stanford University, to find out.
Dr. Kelman guided participants, educators from synagogue supplemental schools, the JCC preschool, camps and youth groups, to examine how they recognize, and possibly assess, student learning. The most valuable part of the day, according to the participants, was the opportunity to meet other Jewish educators from all over the community and learn from them. They shared answers to questions such as, “How do our students acquire knowledge?,” and “What similarities exist across your individual contexts with respect to learning?” One participant noted,
“I never realized there were so many similarities between early childhood education and high school education,” during a conversation in their small group about the similarities in goals for their students. Another educator came away from the experience having “identified ways to prioritize student engagement over content knowledge.”
One notable benefit of the Chidush experience beyond bringing together educators from different organizations is the wide range in age of the educators present. Local Rabbis and veteran educators were asking the opinion of high school sophomores and juniors as to what they are finding to be the most effective teaching methods for their Sunday school students and learning methods for themselves. This cross pollination of ideas is one of the cornerstones of the Chidush program.
BET, the Boulder Educator Team, comprised of education directors from across the spectrum of the Boulder Jewish community, hosted Chidush, their annual educator workshop, on Sunday, October 18 at Har HaShem. The professional development day was started by Francine Lavin Weaver, Founder and President of 18Pomegranates Foundation, as a way of recognizing our community’s Jewish educators and celebrating innovation and excellence in Jewish education.