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Adult Jewish Learners
Transcript of Adult Jewish Learners
Continuing to Grow
Branches of Jewish Learning
Adult Jewish Learners
Principles of Effective
Adult Jewish Learning
Jewish Family Education
Developmental Tasks of
The following are the core tasks Jewish adults needs to work through in order to function fully and effectively in the Jewish community:
Taking Initiative: trying out new forms of Jewish practice and involvement
Becoming Competent: gain a personal sense of mastery of Jewish knowledge and practice
Finding Peers: connecting with others who provide support and collaboration
Developing a Jewish Identity: deliberate development of a Jewish sense of self and commitment to one's Jewish identity
Participating in Community: becoming part of mutually supportive Jewish networks
Making Meaning: wrestling with questions of how Judaism connects to one personally
Growing from Generation to Generation: ensuring continuity and passing on learning
It is crucial for educators and community leaders to encourage adults to engage is these tasks and recognize accomplishments along the way. (Schuster & Grant, Ultimate, 152-154)
Demographics & Trends
"Chronologically, Jewish adults are 'grown-up,' but many do not feel genuinely mature when they find themselves in situations that involve functioning as a competent, comfortable Jew." (Schuster & Grant, Ultimate, p. 152)
Women surpass men in frequency of participation in Jewish learning.
Jewish learning rises with increases in education.
In-married Jews w/children at home have the highest rate of adult learning participation.
There is a strong relationship between denomination and Jewish learning, with Orthodox Jews most engaged, then Conservative, followed by Reform and non-denominational.
Most Jewish adults (78%) regularly read about Israel or Judaism, but only 25%-40% participate in leisure activities with a Jewish theme, and only 10%-20% engaged in structured Jewish learning. (Schuster & Grant, Now Know, p. 163)
Needs Assessment: finding out what learners want & being ready to adjust
Safety: establishing trust and space to ask questions and share
Sound Relationships: creating opportunities to make interpersonal connections
Sequence & Reinforcement: practicing thoughtful curriculum development
Praxis - Action with Reflection: seeking feedback from students and self
Learners as Subjects of Their Own Learning: value dual roles of learners and teachers
Learning with Ideas, Feelings, and Actions: need to address all three elements in one's teaching
Immediacy- Teaching What is Really Useful: address learners' desire to see immediate results and applicability
Clear Roles and Communication Between Learner & Teacher: role equality and connections between teachers and learners
Teamwork- How People Learn Together: build safety and challenge through peer learning
Engagement- Learning as an Active Process: nurture full involvement in learning process that makes it transformative
Accountability: synthesis of all the other principles to implement effective adult teaching & learning
Defining Jewish Family Education
Jewish Family Education encompasses a wide range of activities including both experiences where parents and children learn together and those in which parents learn in parallel. Regardless of the format, all programs can be characterized as:
Jewish - involving an authentic Jewish experience, skill, text, or subject matter
Family - focusing on positive growth for the family as a whole and recognizing the complex dynamics of families
Education: "teaching and learning that leads to some change in behaviors or some new way of thinking." (Kay & Rotstein, p. 143)
Characteristics of Families
In today's society, there is no such thing as a "typical Jewish family". Today's Jewish families include:
families coping with divorce
families with adopted children
gay and lesbian parents
On top of these varied demographic traits, there are equally diverse levels of Jewish knowledge and practice that families bring with them to any family learning program. All of these and more need to be taken into account by educators working with contemporary Jewish families.
Helping Families Cross a Stream
"The efforts to provide a variety of learning experiences is one of the key components of transformative Jewish family education. We must include learners of all ages throughout all stages of development. Kelman (1992) suggests that 'the purpose of a good Jewish family education program is to provide the help the family needs to cross the stream' (p. 14). She refers to the 'stream' as a continuum of the specific kinds of knowledge and experience, from novice to expert, needed to support Jewish family learning." (Kay & Rotstein, p.148)
Adult learners approach their learning with different motivations, including:
Goal-orientation: aiming to obtain particular skills or learning outcomes
Activity-orientation: seeking social and communal connections
Learning-orientation: pursue learning for own sake
Spiritual-orientation: seeking new meaning and ways of thinking (Schuster & Grant. Ultimate, p. 156)
It's critical for educators to take note of the motivations of learners and address them appropriately.
Learning to Listen,
Learning to Teach
Schuster and Grant draw upon the work of Jane Vella and her 12 principles of effective adult learning outlined in her book "Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach" (1994).
Vella's principles provide a framework for planning, analyzing, and making decisions regarding adult Jewish learning programs.
The principles provide building blocks for planning adult Jewish education programs and are closely interconnected with one another. (Schuster & Grant, Ultimate, p. 142)
...the "primary difference between education for adults and education for children is that children are 'forming' and adults are 'transforming'" (Kay, Ultimate, p. 171)
* Andragogy is the term used to describe methods and techniques used to teach adults.
Performance Task #2
As Unit 2 of this course comes to a close, it is now time for you to apply your learning toward thinking about how to help Jewish families "cross the stream" in a way that meets their developmental need. For your second performance task you are being asked to develop a family education program that takes into account the developmental theories and lifecycle stages explored in the first two units of the course. The lesson plan write up should be accompanied by a commentary that explains how the lesson is informed by developmental theories and addresses the various periods in the lifecycle of Jewish growth. For more information about the assignment, visit https://hebrewcollege.schoology.com/assignment/725340349/info .
Applying Our Knowledge of Adult Learners To Teaching
At the end of Schuster and Grant's article, they include an informative chart entitled, "From Theory to Practice in Teaching Jewish Adults" (Ultimate Handbook, pp. 156-159). On the chart they compile the major characteristics and developmental needs of adult learners and then suggest possible ways to address these traits through teaching strategies. The chart at the end of the chapter, while fairly comprehensive, is by no means complete. In order to demonstrate your understanding of the key traits and challenges of adult Jewish learners, you are being asked to share an insight that you believe would be a valuable addition to Schuster and Grant's chart. For more information about this learning activity, please visit: https://hebrewcollege.schoology.com/course/650882137/materials/discussion/view/725340347