Viewing entries tagged
Student motivation

Are Fireworks Essential to Spark Enthusiasm?

Are Fireworks Essential to Spark Enthusiasm?

Do you remember the song This Magic Moment by Jay and the Americans? Magic moments occur throughout the course of the Jewish year. Sometimes, the magic is overt and apparent and other times, we have a greater hand in creating our own magic.

At either end of the Jewish calendar lives a major week-long festival. In the springtime month of Nissan, we celebrate Pesach. It is a massive undertaking to create a seder with its numerous accouterments, not to mention the weeks of advance preparation for the holiday’s arrival.

On the other side of the year, in autumnal Tishrei, we celebrate Sukkot. This holiday, too, requires a great deal of preparation: erecting a sukkah, securing a lulav and etrog, and eating—if not sleeping— outside no matter the climate.

While the similarities are striking, there is a fundamental difference between the two that can be gleaned from the recounting of their respective biblical sacrifices recited in the Mussaf Amidah (additional holiday service standing prayer).

Aizehu Ashir/ Who is Wealthy?... In a Classroom

Aizehu Ashir/ Who is Wealthy?... In a Classroom

Usually in a Judaic Studies classroom, a teacher might measure the success of a lesson based on the compliance of students or the ability of students to repeat back the information from class or a summary worksheet.  This evaluation method allows students to show progress and the teacher to feel the accomplishment of delivering material or skill development.

But imagine a different paradigm. Consider education as a form of engagement instead of a delivery of goods so that education requires intention and effort in addition to acquisition.

Done with Grades

Done with Grades

In "Done with Grades" on the Times of Israel Blog, Dr. Erica Brown shares educational research and her own perspective on grading's negative impact on students -- particularly in Jewish studies in day schools.

"There will come a day when a few courageous Jewish day schools have the vision to take a bold step out of an outmoded system and do what Jews have done for millennia: study for its own sake. You brave few will make life-long learners out of your students. You will foster curiosity and love. You will nurture engagement and intellect. You will grow the soul. You will show the rest of us the way."