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MIFGASHIM  January 2011

MIFGASHIM January 2011

Subject:

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 156

From:

Rabbi Lee Buckman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 26 Jan 2011 20:45:00 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (302 lines)

Mifgashim Volume 8 Issue 156


Contents:

1. Yeshiva University Job Fair

2. Amy Chua vs. The Talmud

3. Mifgashim Memo:   Heschel’s Spiritual Humanism

4. Marshall Memo: Fair and Accurate Grades for Exceptional Learners


~~~~~~~~~

1. Yeshiva University Job Fair

Thursday, February 24, 2011

6:00PM-7:00PM, YU Students and Alumni ONLY! (Must have valid ID)

7:00PM-9:00PM, Open to the Public

Yeshiva University Wilf Campus, Furst Hall: 500 West 185th Street, 5th Floor.

Candidate Registration

Those interested in applying to teaching jobs, administrative jobs in
schools and organizational jobs, please click the Teacher Job Link.
All those interested in ONLY Organizational jobs, please click only
the second link.

Registration for Teacher Jobs,
https://spreadsheets.google.com/embeddedform?formkey=dDA1WmpXMGRYc1djbUVzcGZMTFZnUWc6MQ

Registration for Organizational Jobs,
https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dHFkekJlcTZ3SGpfTWRkSGJkcEN2dWc6MQ

Online registration for Candidates will close on Sunday, January 30th.
Registering online will enable you to send your resume to potential
employers beforehand, receive email updates and receive a nametag at
the fair.

DAY SCHOOLS wishing to showcase available positions, please register
at https://spreadsheets0.google.com/embeddedform?formkey=dHBJUkZsd1RGYnRQNlhtYWxObUFXcFE6MQ

ORGANIZATIONS wishing to showcase available positions, please register
at https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dDduNWU2MlV5TllIM0RiMFdybm9vdGc6MQ

Early Bird Discount: $35 by January 24th.

Regular Cost: $70 after January 24th.


~~~~~~~~~


2.      Amy Chua Vs. The Talmud

Michael Levy, The Huffington Post, January 22, 2011:

Amy Chua's memoir about Chinese parenting styles, Battle Hymn of the
Tiger Mother, has American parents in a tizzy. I teach History at
Saint Ann's in Brooklyn, a K-12 school in which we neither grade nor
punish our students. Instead, we let the students' individual
interests serve as their guides. I'm therefore among the first to ask:
are we all too soft on our kids?

But I also spent three years teaching in China. There, parents have
questions of their own. Many Chinese educators and social commentators
have recently engaged in some genuine soul searching, wondering if the
costs of their high-stress, test-centered system are too high. Suicide
has become the number one cause of death among young people in China,
and gruesome tales of woe--from murder to self-mutilation--have become
all-too common for Chinese students. These stories are especially
prevalent around the time of the gaokao, or college entrance exam, a
two-day test akin to an SAT on steroids.

Thus, as Chua encourages American parents to look to east for
parenting advice, the Chinese are looking west. Oddly enough, some
Chinese are looking to one source in particular: the Talmud. This is
part of a growing craze in China for all things Jewish. It isn't
surprising that the Chinese impression of the Talmud is simplistic.
But the underlying reasons for their examination of the Jewish text
are worth considering.

To understand the Chinese interest in the Talmud, it helps to take a
brief look at what it has to say about parenting. Rabbi Nachum Ansel
offers a summary of the vast teachings, dividing the Jewish scriptural
lessons on parenting into four general categories: avoid favoritism;
discipline with flexibility; match the treatment to the individual
child; and fulfill your responsibilities to your children. He writes
that of these, "possibly the most important educational principle for
a Jewish parent to adhere to is the notion of bringing up each child
according to his or her unique personality, character traits and
talents."

In other words: there is no one way to parent. There is no one correct
answer. Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah were not Tiger Mothers.

Here we find the reason for Chinese interest in the Talmud. Older
Chinese grew up in a system in which the wrong answers could get you
sent to the countryside for "reeducation," or perhaps imprisoned or
killed. Young Chinese are growing up in a system where their life
prospects are entirely determined by high-stakes standardized tests.
Entrance exams for elementary school are followed by exams for middle
school, high school, college, and eventually the work force and
graduate school. Each exam is one-size-fits all, and in a country in
which you have a billion people competing for a limited number of
jobs, a low score means dashed hopes. For sixty years, there has been
only one correct answer to every Chinese question, first provided by
Mao, now provided by the tests.

By contrast, the Talmudic ideal of finding individuality within each
child sounds like a dream.

Of course, in the world outside of parenting guides and scripture,
things are not quite so simple. Jews don't always follow Jewish
advice: the Patriarchs of the Torah were constantly playing favorites,
behaving with inflexibility, and violating other principles of Jewish
parenting. And Chinese are quite capable of showing the creativity,
poetry, and individuality anathema to the Maoist and test-based
systems.

In fact, this is the overlooked conclusion of Chua's memoir. She
eventually retreats from her own mother's overly narrow parenting
style. She realizes, in wonderfully Confucian fashion, that good
parenting must have balance.

Indulging mediocrity in children is unhealthy. So is demanding perfection.

Perhaps good parenting is best captured in an old Hasidic legend:  A
father once came to the Baal Shem Tov with a problem concerning his
son. He complained that the son was forsaking Judaism and morality and
asked the rabbi what he could do. The Baal Shem Tov answered: "Love
him more."


~~~~~~~~~


3. Mifgashim Memo:   Heschel’s Spiritual Humanism


In Peter Geffen’s article, “Heschel’s Spiritual Humanism: Jewish
Education for the Twenty-first Century,” he applies Abraham Joshua
Heschel’s insights into human character development, spirituality and
religious life to education, with the goal of creating a meaningful
Jewish educational philosophy.

Geffen articulates Heschel’s profound perspectives on educationally
relevant concepts, challenging educators to undergo a paradigm shift
in their educational thinking. The common thread Geffen explores in
Heschel’s ideas is the infusion of the educational world with deep
meaning for students. Based on Heschel’s understanding of pluralism,
Geffen urges educators to see and present the world in multiple
dimensions, encouraging students to engage in a spiritual journey and
to explore the reciprocal relationship between God and man. He
advocates for a shift from insular, particularistic Judaism to that of
Heschel, which is universally relevant and demands Jews see their
identity in the context of the world in which they live.

Geffen emphasizes Heschel’s focus on the spiritual purpose of
education, revolving around the inner goals of students, such as the
fundamental need to live within the paradox of their simultaneously
particularistic and universalistic identities.  Heschel sees the
teacher as the ultimate guide in this spiritual process, charging him
or her with the responsibility of being “the creator of the future of
our people.”

Geffen encourages the educational system, as well as teachers
themselves, to grant the teaching profession the respect and
significance it inherently possesses. Geffen interprets Heschel’s
claim that “only deep calls to deep” as a challenge to teachers to
ensure that their classroom is a place of “significant happening,”
where deep, powerful ideas are conveyed to spiritually open students.
To summarize, based on Heschel’s philosophy, Geffen believes that
schools must be centers of profound thought, “prophetic in character
and spiritual in tone,” “universalistic in their particularism.”

Geffen continues on to outline a developmental conceptual model to
guide educators in actualizing these ideas in the formation of a
Jewish educational philosophy. He bases his model on Heschel’s twelve
“sensibilities”, which are characteristics essential to the “full,
true, spiritually in-touch human being”.

The first six – Uniqueness, Expectation, Choice, Creativity,
Spirituality and Ethical Living – are concerned with the development
of the individual from early childhood through adolescence. The
sensibilities build off one another to bring forth an independent,
authentic and free human being who understands his or her unique
qualities and responsibilities. The latter six sensibilities –
Co-existence, Openness, Engagement, Integration, Activism and
Authenticity – move from the shaping of an individual to the
understanding his or her role in the broader social order, based on
the axiom that “for man to be means to be with other human beings”.
These sensibilities aim to create a social and civic life of justice,
equality, dialogue, progress and peace.

Geffen portrays Heschel’s philosophy as an optimistic Judaism with
deep roots in past and tradition, but always moving forward to be part
of a meaningful, relevant and profoundly spiritual existence. He
challenges educators to translate these profound insights of the human
condition into a practical teaching philosophy.

“Heschel’s Spiritual Humanism: Jewish Education for the Twenty-first
Century” by Peter Geffen in Modern Judaism, (1):44-57, 2009.

Mifgashim Memo is a weekly abstract of important research or thinking
in Jewish education.


~~~~~~~~~


4.         Marshall Memo: Fair and Accurate Grades for Exceptional Learners

In this Educational Leadership article, University of
Kentucky/Lexington professors Lee Ann Jung and Thomas Guskey point out
ways in which classroom grading can be inaccurate and unfair,
especially for exceptional learners. To varying degrees, teachers give
extra points for effort or improvement, meeting individual goals, good
behavior, and so forth. In addition, many teachers labor under these
misconceptions:

- That ELLs and students with IEPs can’t be given a failing grade.

- That report cards may not identify students’ status as exceptional learners.

- That transcripts can’t identify the curriculum as being modified.

- That getting higher grades improves students’ self-esteem.

Not true! say Jung and Guskey. They believe the last is the most
dangerous, because self-esteem increases only when good grades
accurately reflect achievement.

To be fair and accurate, grades must (a) describe students’
performance compared to clearly articulated standards, and (b)
distinguish between product (what students know and are able to do),
process (effort, class participation, behavior, work habits, etc.),
and progress (how much students have grown from a baseline). Report
cards that meet these criteria are far more helpful to students and
parents.

Jung and Guskey then outline steps that instructional teams should go
through to fairly and accurately grade exceptional students:

• First, ask whether the standard is appropriate without adaptations.
Specifically, can we expect the student to meet this goal without
special support – or without altering the standard?

• Second, if the standard is not appropriate, determine what type of
adaptation is needed – accommodation (the method of demonstrating
mastery is adjusted) or modification (the standard needs to be
changed).

• Third, if the standard needs modification, decide on what the
student can reasonably achieve by the end of the year with special
supports and record it in the 504 or ELL plan.

• Fourth, if the standard is modified, base grades on the modified standard.

• Fifth, communicate what the grade means by explicitly saying on the
report card that it’s based on modified standards and direct parents
to more detailed explanations.

“Grading Exceptional Learners” by Lee Ann Jung and Thomas Guskey in
Educational Leadership, February 2010 (Vol. 67, #5, p. 31-35); Jung is
at [log in to unmask] and Guskey at [log in to unmask]; article is at
http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership.aspx


The Marshall Memo is a weekly digest of important research in K-12
education. Individual
subscriptions are $50 for the school year at
http://www.marshallmemo.com.

__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

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The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora,
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