AJS Conference Panel on Learning
December 14, 2014
Panel: "What does Learning Look Like in Jewish Studies?"
Chair: Jonathan Krasner, Mandel Center
Teenagers Studying Talmud in Hevruta: Learning to Be a Reader of a Culture
Sharon Avni, CUNY; Mandel Center Affiliated Scholar
Can Students Learn to Read Painful Rabbinic Texts in Redemptive Ways?
Sarra Lev, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Learning to Read the Bible Critically
Jon A. Levisohn, Mandel Center
Learning Agenda Project
What is the biggest challenge facing Jewish education today?
We believe that Jewish educators, policy makers, and curriculum and program designers are flying blind.
Too often, across the various settings of Jewish education, we are unclear or imprecise or just unsophisticated about our desired learning outcomes. We lack the language to articulate those outcomes in compelling ways, in terms of knowledge and skills but also in terms of dispositions, both moral and intellectual. We assess outcomes inconsistently or not at all, in part because there are few if any effective instruments within Jewish education for assessing our most ambitious goals.
Nor is the problem limited to learning outcomes: We do not know enough about the learners, either. We lack a deep understanding of learners’ or participants’ understanding of the subjects that we teach, or of what sense they make of their formal or informal educational experiences. We do what is expedient or what seems like it might be engaging, but we actually know very little about what students think or feel, how learners learn whatever it is that we are trying to teach, what they understand about specific subjects or about their place in the world, or what they can do as a result of the learning opportunities constructed for them by Jewish educators.
The Learning Agenda project has brought together researchers in Jewish and general education to share their perspectives on how to advance the learning agenda in Jewish education. They presented their draft essays at a March 2015 conference.
Following discussion and constructive critique at the conference, these papers are now being revised in order to be published in a volume, tentatively titled Learning About Learning: Advancing the Learning Agenda in Jewish Education. Collectively, these papers will make a case for advancing the learning agenda, and will provide a set of well-grounded ideas about how that work could or should proceed.
Jeffrey Kress, Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Jon A. Levisohn, Mandel Center
Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley
|Activating Jewish Learners: Positioning Youth for Persistent Success in Jewish Learning and Living|
Mandel Leadership Institute
|Learning How to Believe: Why Religious Beliefs and Attitudes Require Different Kinds of Learning|
|Ari Y. Kelman
|Learning to be Jewish|
|Fostering Identity and Disposition Development in Jewish Education: A View From the Learning Sciences|
|Socio-Emotional Skills in Children and Youth: An Approach for Students Involved in Jewish Education|
|Initiation into the Whole Game of Jewishness|
University of Pittsburgh, and
|How Text Study Can be Reclaimed as a Vehicle for Advancing Contemporary Education and Community Engagement|
|Observing Havruta Learning From the Perspective of the Learning Sciences|
University of Wisconsin
|Learning about Learning at the Imaginative Extremes: Shoah Education and its Implications for Jewish Education|
|"Is This a Real Story?" Learning and the Narratives of Jewish Identity|
Additional conference participants:
Sharon Avni, CUNY
Fern Chertok, Brandeis University
Sharon Feiman-Nemser, Brandeis University
Michael Feuer, The George Washington University
Lisa Grant, HUC-JIR
Jane Kanarek, Hebrew College
Orit Kent, Brandeis University
Moshe Krakowski, Yeshiva University
Jonathan Krasner, Brandeis University
Marjorie Lehman, Jewish Theological Seminary
Ted Sasson, Brandeis University