Intrinsic Motivation

As an outgrowth of our exploration of alternate educational modalities for Judaic Studies classes, the JEIC team identified the depth of research available on Intrinsic Motivation. This body of literature has existed for decades and surfaces the powerful benefits of leveraging Intrinsic Motivation in the classroom.

Yet, Jewish Day Schools, by and large, have not yet harnessed the power of this most powerful and lasting form of motivation. We lead workshops and offer technical assistance for schools eager to integrate intrinsic motivation techniques into their Judaic Studies program.

Resources for tapping intrinsic motivation in the classroom

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The field is rich with research about harnessing the power of intrinsic motivation to boost student learning. The JEIC team is currently developing a comprehensive literature review on Intrinsic Motivation, and our staff facilitate workshops for educators and administrators on this essential topic.

If you are interested in learning more about professional development opportunities or resources on Intrinsic Motivation, please contact Rabbi Shmuel Feld, Founding Director.

Below are articles for preliminary study and investigation, as schools consider the strong merits of this approach.

The Most Essential Part of a Jewish Education Isn’t What You Think by Rabbi Shmuel Feld

What Motivates Us? An Interview with Daniel Pink by Katharine Bell of Harvard Business Review

Understanding Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation in the Classroom by Elizabeth Mulvahill

How to Spark Intrinsic Motivation in Your Students


Alternate Grading Methodologies

It is inconsistent with Jewish wisdom to judge critically a Jew’s ability to learn Torah subjects. A student labeled anything but an ‘A’ in a Jewish subject will internalize a view of him or herself as less than great at Jewish study, or worse, a less than great Jew.
— Manette Mayberg, Trustee, Mayberg Foundation

JEIC believes that Jewish Day Schools can create a different balance in their classrooms so that grades are not the emphasis or primary motivator. In support of this campaign, JEIC leads workshops, stimulates discussion among educators in the field, and creates practical methods for schools following a path that de-emphasizes grading.

Take a look at these related articles and best practices:

OP-ED: MANETTE MAYBERG CALLS FOR JEWISH DAY SCHOOLS TO PURSUE DISTINCTION by Rabbi Shmuel Feld

DONE WITH GRADES by Rabbi Shmuel Feld

PRIZMAH: CJDS'S HAYIDION FEATURES AN ARTICLE BY MANETTE MAYBERG ON DAY SCHOOL ADVOCACY by Rabbi Shmuel Feld

OP-ED: OF GRADES AND JUDAICS – RESPONDING TO THE CALL TO “PURSUE DISTINCTION” by Rabbi Shmuel Feld

ON N DATA AND DEEP LEARNING by Tikvah Wiener

NO, STUDENTS DON’T NEED GRADES by Mike Barnes


Professional Development Collaboration

JEIC is facilitating a professional development collaboration with The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, Ayeka and Pedagogy of Partnership of Hadar to enhance methodologies for teaching Jewish text and discussing Gd. These providers are learning from one another and exploring new ways of engaging students in substantive, robust, and meaningful text study. JEIC is grateful for the support and involvement of the three funding partners making this initiative possible: The AVI CHAI Foundation, Kohelet Foundation and Mayberg Foundation.


A’skill - Jewish Educators Across North America

The JEIC Team is liaising with Jewish educator training programs and universities to bring quality Jewish educators to cities across North America. Jewish Day Schools deserve high caliber educators, and we are collaborating with schools and our partners to explore a more systemic way of ensuring all Jewish students have access to a high-level Judaic Studies experience.