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MIFGASHIM  January 2009

MIFGASHIM January 2009

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 39

From:

Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 21 Jan 2009 17:39:18 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (150 lines)

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 39


Contents:

1.	Announcements:  PEJE Call on Alumni Relations

2.	Responses:  Alumni Campaigns in K-8 Schools (Buckman, Cashman)

3.	Marshall Memo:  Improving Teaching versus Teachers


~~~~~~~~~

1.	Announcements:  PEJE Call on Alumni Relations

PEJE is offering a conference call that relates to the recent Mifgashim discussion on 
alumni relations.

What are day schools doing about alumni relations? What should day schools be doing 
about alumni relations? Virtual round table discussion &#8232;

Date/Time: Tuesday, January 27, 2008, 2:00 PM Eastern
http://www.peje.org/networking/communities_of_practice/development.php


~~~~~~~~~


2. 	Responses:  Alumni Campaigns in K-8 Schools (Buckman, Cashman)

Jim Rogozen made an important point in the most recent issue of Mifgashim.  

He said that it may be more difficult to raise funds from alumni of K-8 schools when they 
become adults because “people tend to see their last educational venues as having 
contributed more to their success.  They don’t connect the dots and understand that their 
success in high school and beyond is due, in part, to their elementary education.”
 
I agree.  To prove his point about recent experiences being most fresh, on the one hand, 
and the formative nature of K-8 education, on the other, I want to share a few thoughts 
from some students that that had gone to the Silver Yeshiva Academy in Pittsburgh, PA.  

One student said that his elementary Jewish day school “taught me to pick the right 
people to hang out with and how to get along with people who are different from me.”

Another felt that the academic load of the dual curriculum made “the transition to high 
school a breeze.  Handling homework was a breeze too.”

A third said, “the strongest lessons I learned were about derech eretz.  The kids at public 
school have a lot to learn about self-respect, let alone respect for others.”  

I’m sure that every school has alumni (even adult alumni) with similar anecdotes.  They 
are powerful vehicles for showcasing the school’s strengths and lifelong impact on 
students. 

Lee Buckman
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


One teacher really stands out for me from my elementary Jewish day school education:  
my Grade 8 English teacher.  She was supportive of me and felt that I had skills and 
talents in the classroom that were of value.  Even one teacher like that can have a 
profound impact.

Rabbi Rafael Cashman
Tanach/Rabbinics Instructor
CHAT
[log in to unmask]


~~~~~~~~~


3.	Marshall Memo:  Improving Teaching versus Teachers
	
In this important article, James Hiebert et al. draw a key distinction between improving 
teaching and improving teachers. Their view is that Americans have been hung up on 
superstar teachers such as Jaime Escalante as the model for improving student 
performance. 

“Classroom teaching in the United States has been viewed as a personal skill, invented 
and refined by each teacher during his or her career. Good teaching is considered to be 
the result of each teacher’s doing his or her job behind the classroom door. Good teaching 
is believed to be idiosyncratic, depending on individual style and personality. To improve 
teaching, many say, the profession must find better teachers.”

But this has not been an effective way of improving teaching and schools, and teaching 
had not changed that much over the last century. 

Why? “Because the average classroom is not affected much by what the few celebrity 
teachers do. To make a dent in the learning experiences for most students, educators 
must find a way to improve the quality of instruction in the average classroom. 

Even slight improvements in the average classroom, accumulated over time, would have 
a more profound effect on student around the country than recruiting a hundred more 
Escalantes into the classroom.” 

In the medical profession, what has improved over the last century has not been the 
quality of people becoming doctors but standard practice. Education needs a similar 
improvement of standard practice – what works best to get results.

This means focusing on the quality of teaching versus the quality of teachers. This 
happens when we “analyze the details of ordinary classroom instruction, with all its warts 
and foibles, and then learn to see more effective ways of teaching.” And to do this, we 
need to have groups of teachers analyze videotapes of day-to-day lessons – no special 
preparation, no special materials. 

“This will move us away from a view of teaching as a solitary activity, owned personally 
by each teacher. It moves us toward a view of teaching as a professional activity open to 
collective observations, study, and improvement.  It invites ordinary teachers to 
recognize and accept the responsibility for improving not only their own practice, but the 
shared practice of the professional…Petty nitpicking and ad hominem criticism of typical 
classroom lessons must give way to serious professional analysis for the purposes of 
improving everyone’s teaching.”  

The authors applaud teachers who have the guts to make their everyday teaching 
available for this kind of analysis, calling them the new heroes of teaching.

“The New Heroes of Teaching: Opening Classroom Doors for the Good of the Profession” 
by James Hiebert, Ronald Gallimore, and James W. Stigler in Education Week, November 
5, 2003 (Vol. XXIII, #10, p. 56, 42) http://www.edweek.org/ew/ewstory.cfm?
slug=10hiebert.h23 

__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

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