Kaye College Faculty Members Participation at the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation International Forum on Children’s Development
Soong Ching Ling International Forum on Children’s Development was successfully held in Beijing on November 19-20, 2020. The Forum was co-sponsored by China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and China Welfare Association, undertaken by China Soong Ching Ling Youth Cultural Exchange Center. The Forum was supported by the UNICEF China Office, the Chinese and Foreign Cultural Exchange Center of the Ministry of Education, and the Beijing Municipal Education Commission. The Forum set up the main venue at the China Soong Ching Ling Youth Cultural Exchange Center.
Close to one hundred experts, scholars, and educators from Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangxi province, and Pengyang County of Ningxia province which is the designated place of the anti-poverty scheme by the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, had attended the Forum. Experts, scholars, and educators from Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland participated online in exchanges and seminars on the theme of “creating future children’s education and sustainable development.”
The Forum additionally presented a collection of 15 academic research papers from Israeli scholars and domestic scholars. One of these papers, titled “Learning from Screen Media in Early Childhood: A Double-Edged Sword,” was written by Kaye College professor, Dr. Yehuda Bar-Lev, together with his colleague, Prof. Nelly Elias from Ben Gurion University.
By: Ms. Asnat Kleiman
On the eve of Sukkot, I left as a representative of Kay College with a delegation to visit the HTH school network in San Diego and its environs.
Upon arrival we settled in a pleasant tourist complex for the duration of the visit. Near the compound are schools of the chain ranging from kindergarten to high school scattered throughout the neighborhood and a short walk away. Other schools are located between San Diego and Los Angeles, and the other is in Chula Vista, a Mexican border town near the city of Tijuana.
The delegation dealt with several levels; The first is a multicultural acquaintance between the members of the delegation and the teachers working on the HTH network; The second was the teaching-learning method that we constantly develop on the Internet and the influence we have as teachers; The third focuses on various collaborations, such as collaborations between the teams, the initiatives, with other schools, the development of community schools around the world, and in the United States in particular.
One of the schools that touched my heart was the school on the Mexican border – Chula Vista. Every day children come to the school on foot, from neighboring Mexico, and do not give up. Some return home at night. The school deals with immigration authorities and yet with children who come from different families, so that multiculturalism is not foreign to them. The children learn Spanish and English. The principal and some of the school staff, graduates of the schools in the area returned to work in schools, to return to the community and nurture it through a new generation of students.
I was interested in a pedagogical instructor in training teaching students, in the new teachers and in their acceptance of the staff. All of the new teachers are assigned mentors in parallel to the class or profession, in order to support and teach the way they work in the school, and some of the teachers come without training and receive it while they work, some of them coming from different backgrounds and professions. The book is a private body, yet it champions multiculturalism and tries to enable students whose economic, social and language abilities do not allow access to school.
Another emphasis was cooperation. During our visits we met many friends who came with us from Israel and we have already discussed ideas for cultural and inter-regional partnerships. Besides, we met teachers from schools and other places who came to learn and get to know partners. I met a friend from a school in Brooklyn, New York, who was taking his first steps in the community. I met with other teachers from the first elementary school, in the second grade who told about her acceptance to the staff, and another veteran teacher from the fourth grade who patiently answered our questions. We promised to keep the connection of the bush even from a distance.
By: Ms. Barbie Shapir
In September 2018 , I traveled to Wuhan, China for the second time in order to teach a 6 day course on Jewish Early Childhood Education. The course was designed to expose, teach, and motivate early childhood educators, principals and administrators to instill in their curriculum developmentally adaptable methods for preschoolers.
The course was taught in Wuhan University and included hands on workshops in the fields of art, music and physical activity. In addition, they were taught topics in early childhood development and psychology as well as the importance of free play.
The teaching methods varied and were designed to enable the educators to experience learning through play, to engage in group activities which required deliberation, cooperation, acceptance of other ideas while interacting in an informal setting. This approach was intentional on my part as I understood that the teaching methods in China are still all frontal learning, with no student participation.
The final day of the course was a true emotional experience for the participants as well as for myself. They reflected on the past few days as a revelation, uplifting their spirits while broadening their horizons and showing them the importance of listening and adapting oneself to the needs of the child. Each one received a diploma from the university as well as from Kaye College.
The Jewish values we live by and embrace while teaching and educating our students at Kaye College were greatly appreciated and admired by the Chinesse people I met. This is an ongoing commitment of mine to create a bridge of knowledge that views the young child as an individual with social, emotional and cognitive needs, and it is our responsibility to make him feel accepted and loved for who he is.
By: Mr Mueen Fakhereldeen & Dr. Doron Narkiss
At the beginning of October Mr Mueen Fahereldin, head of Multicultural Studies at the College and Dr. Doron Narkiss from the English Department spent a fruitful and pleasant week in Opole University in south-west Poland as part of an ongoing Erasmus Plus mobility exchange between the two institutions.
Dr. Narkiss taught classes in the Department of English Philology, in literature classes and at an MA seminar for teacher trainees, and met with the lecturers of the department to continue our dialogue. Mr. Fahereldin joined pedagogic advisors and visited schools to see a very different system from that common in Israel, and started developing an international conference at bot institutions.
Opole University and Kaye College are both teacher-training institutions, with many common interests. Like Kaye College, Opole University has a multicultural student body, reflecting the varied local population, and like most institutions of higher education both value inclusion of minorities and are concerned with ways of making this happen.
As in many countries, and particularly in Europe and the Middle East, this issue is also connected to what may called “border pedagogy” and border literacy, namely what needs to taught and learned “on the border”, or rather within the border zone. The variety of the students’ cultural and ethnic origins cannot be contained in a one-size-fits-all pedagogy, and this is especially salient for those students who will become teachers and will need to address the growing gaps in opportunity and teach their pupils how to negotiate local and global differences between cultures, religions, and social and economic inequalities.
This understanding is crucial for institutions that train teachers, and much can be learnt from the efforts invested by Opole and Kaye in these fields. The meetings in Opole were a continuation of a dialogue which is now in its second year, and has already included several bilateral study visits. In this, the latest round, Mr. Fahereldin and Dr. Narkiss met with faculty members in Opole and with the Dean, and discussed widening the cooperation to include an international conference, to be held in Opole and Beer Sheva; student mobility, to increase the pedagogical and cultural awareness of teachers-to-be; and the possibility of Opole University joining an international course in English, developed by Dr. Narkiss and others as part of In2It, a previous Erasmus Plus project.
These actions, and others taken by the faculties of the College and University
In April we, Mueen Fakhereldeen and Lior Solomovitz, went to visit Opole University in Poland, as part of the Mobility Agreement to which both institutions were signatories. During our visit at the institution, we presented the College at an international multidisciplinary convention held at Opole University. The convention dealt with topics such as multiculturalism, language, social psychology, teleprocessing and more.
A wealth of topics and workshops were covered at the convention, which offered a wide scope for the international and intercultural meet-up, allowing us to get acquainted with our colleagues from various countries such are Romania, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Taiwan, Montenegro and others, directly and with no intermediaries. It is our hope that this acquaintance will evolve into future collaboration with the College.
Over the course of our visit there, we presented the work that Kaye College is engaged in to the local students and to our Polish colleagues. We especially focused on topics related to multiculturalism. Lior presented the multicultural aspect from a personal perspective and also described the Koren Center and its activities, while Mueen presented the research aspect and its implementation in the College; during the lecture, we also held a productive discussion about stereotypes and racism. Our lecture received positive feedback both from students and from the course lecturer Marjana Pogorzelica.
The hospitality there exceeded our expectations, and we were warmly received by both our Polish colleagues and the organizing academic staff, as well as by Polish students and other colleagues from various countries who come for the convention. One of the convention organizers, Ms. Halina Palmar Fistark invited us to her home, thus giving us the opportunity to experience authentic Polish hospitality first hand.
Last year, we visited the University of Bristol in England, together with a graduate of the master’s degree program. During the visit, we met with the head of the master’s degree program and the staff of the school of education, and visited two municipal schools.
Teacher training in England is different than in Israel and in European countries. A decade ago, the Department for Education in England decided to transfer teacher training to the schools, thereby enabling students to become acclimatized to the school culture. Every student is assigned to a teacher coach, and two thirds of the students’ study hours are spent in the school. Some of the schools provide the students’ academic studies by themselves, while others collaborate in the establishment of centers outside the schools, in which lecturers from the university are invited to teach academic courses. This model of training has advantages, but also more than a few disadvantages. Mrs. Jean Doureen, head of master’s degree studies at the University of Bristol, noted that many teacher coaches lack expertise in pedagogic instruction. As a result, the students did not receive training at the desired level. Dissatisfaction with this training model has created a stormy dialogue in both universities and in the country at large.
During September 2017 two faculty members from Kaye College, Ms. Dina Ben Yaish, Head of the Program of Teacher Education for Kindergartens, and Ms. Barbie Shapir, Lecturer and Pedagogical Advisor in the Program of Teacher Education for Kindergartens, visited “Hamood” playgroup centers in Wuhan, China.
In China, organized early childhood education begins at age 3 and is run until the age of 6. The government licenses private daycare centers to operate playgroups for children starting from the age of six months and up to the age of 3.
One group has established such playgroup centers in the city of Wuhan, under the name “Hamood”. They hope to incorporate full daycare centers into this framework as well.
The professional relationship between Kaye College’s early childhood education training program and the “Hamood” centers was forged in order to develop programs in the fields of mathematics, science and crafts that will be run in the various playgroups. An additional objective is the development of continuing education programs for the educational staffs running these centers.
Beginning in April 2017, we started developing the continuing education programs and writing lesson plans on various subjects, tailored for preschool children. The group of initiators from China invited us on a scouting trip to see the operations at the “Hamood” centers firsthand, learn how they are run and how we can contribute, so that we could develop appropriate lesson plans.
The “Hamood” centers are interested in presenting a unique edge in their operations by focusing on Jewish values such as: helping others, respecting and preserving the environment, family values, maximal development of the individual’s talents, creativity, the ability to explore freely, honoring one’s parents, perseverance, connection to cultural traditions , and adopting a famous saying by one of our sages, Maimonides, that one must live by – “having a healthy soul will contribute to having a healthy body.”
Two faculty members from the English Department at Kaye College, Dr. Inna Smirnov and Ms. Regina Benchetrit, visited University of Opole for the second time this past December as part of a mobility agreement signed between the two institutions.
During the visit, two workshops were held for English Studies students during which Kaye College, the English Department and facts about Israel and Be’er Sheva were presented. One of the workshops focused on the topic of equal opportunities in education, teamwork and creative thinking, while the second workshop dealt with raising awareness among the students of the perceptions of pupils with unique scholastic needs and their emotional characteristics.
In addition, several meetings were held with Dr. Elżbieta Szymańska-Czaplak, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Faculty of Philology at University of Opole; Dr. Magdalena Shiska, University of Opole; Mr. Michael Vanka from the Institute of Sociology, University of Opole. The following collaborative opportunities were discussed:
- Collaboration on the topic of multiculturalism between students at Kaye College and students at the Institute of Sociology, University of Opole.
- Student exchanges (2-4 students on each side) for a short period of time.
- Two Skype meetings between the Israeli and Polish students, focusing on the similarities and differences between the educational systems in Poland and Israel, as well as methodologies related to teaching English as a second language.
- The Polish colleagues will visit Kaye College in May 2017. The visit will include meeting with students at Kaye College, visiting schools and a workshop on methodology issues.
- In March 2017, representatives from Kaye College will visit University of Opole for the third time to follow up their previous visit.
- A joint research project between the faculties of the two intuitions was raised.
To conclude, the second visit to University of Opole was a success. We hope to continue to broaden the collaboration between the two institutions.
The School for Advanced Studies is currently organizing trips for the students and lecturers to visit University of Bristol in England and University of Tampere in Finland. The purpose of these visits is to become familiar with the educational system (by visiting the university, schools and study centers) and to speak with the faculty members and education students pursuing a Master’s degree.
A group of faculty members from the M.Ed. program ‘Education in the Era of Technological Information’, led by the Head of the program, Dr. Olzan Goldstein, along with a student of the program and an inspector of the Ministry of Education visited in the University of Tampre in Finland during May 2016.
During their stay, the group met with faculty members and students at Tampere University, visited at the media center in the university, and visited various local schools.
The visit was illuminating and provided insights into the Finnish education system and teacher education.
Members of the English Department group, Dr. Inna Smirnov, head of the English Department, and Ms. Regina Ben-Shetrit, lecturer in the English Department and the Department of English for Academic Purposes at the college, visited Poland in early June of 2015 to develop academic collaboration with two institutions of higher education.
During their visit, the group held several meetings with faculty members and officers at Opole University and the Pedagogical Institution of Special Education in Warsaw. In addition, productive meetings were held with pedagogical instructors at a center for continued teacher education and two local schools were visited. The visit was successful and the Polish counterparts expressed their interest in academic collaboration. As a result of the visits, several plans for academic collaboration between Kaye College and academic institutions in Poland were made.
Members of the Shachaf group, Dr. Yehudit Barak and Dr. Smadar Tuval, visited Leiden University in the Netherlands at the end of May of 2015. Specifically, they visited the multidisciplinary institute of training, teaching and professional development for teachers at schools and institutions of higher education – ICLON. The training program that the group attended is at the Master’s degree level and is open to university graduates.
The group was hosted by Professor Mandi Berry, who leads the self-study approach as a central method of study and development in teacher education. She is the coeditor of a journal entitled Studying Teacher Education, which collects studies on this topic. During the three-day visit, the group learned about the various teacher education programs and about the educational system in the Netherlands. They met with Professor Jan van Driel, head of ICLON, and Dr. Annemarie Thompson, head of the Department of Teacher Training at the institution.
The group also visited a bilingual high school (English and Dutch) in Rotterdam that maintains professional relations with the teachers training program and Leiden University. Dr. Barak and Dr. Tuval sat in on lessons, met with teachers and the school principal, and learned that in the Netherlands, each child’s future course of study is determined at the age of 12 – either vocational studies or university studies.
The discussions that were held throughout the visit were interesting and productive and resulted in a possible collaboration plan related to teacher training, with an emphasis on dealing with diversity and multicultural elements. The option of online collaboration was examined, as well as submission of a proposal for a joint project as part of the Erasmus+ project.
During October of 2015, members of the Educational Induction Unit group visited the University of Exeter in the UK. During their visit, they met with Dr. Karen Walsh and colleagues regarding initial teacher education and induction programs at the two institutions: RETAIN projectat Exeter and Growth Recourses program at Kaye.
The visit included observations of three seminars and a lecture, meeting to share research interests and discussion of possible future collaborations. Both parties discussed their shared national problem of beginning teacher’s leaving the teaching profession in the first years of their career and the loss of qualified teachers, as both the Growth Recourses – Kaye Induction Unit and the RETAIN Project in Exeter University are dealing with this challenge and developed tools to promote teachers’ retention in the teaching profession.
During December of 2015, members of the Early Childhood Education Program group visited HAN PABO University in Arnhem, Holland.
During their visit both parties discussed the varied activities of our respective institutions (in the Netherlands and in Israel). Doing so, Kaye College group became more familiar with the Reggio Emilia’s educational approach for children, which is practiced and learnt in HAN University: the Reggio principles are well infused in the childcare and the educational system. In developing their curriculum, practitioners engage in a continuous observation, reflection and discussion. It is based on the practitioner’s knowledge of the children’s development levels and observation of children’s interests.
The group was most impressed by the ways HAN University supports students and schools’ processes of development and learning. Far from being theoretical, the university offers a perspective on different learning programs. This is supported by actual learning for student use (for example Montessori, Reggio, etc.) and methodology at schools. The faculty member themselves host children from different schools and work with them. This shows there is a close link between the theory at university level and school practice, between the lecturer and the teacher, between methods and methodology.
Discussing possible ways for collaboration, both partied found they have similar key goals for early childhood education, which can be articulated in the following way:
Early childhood is the most formative period in a person’s life. The early years influence and determine the ability to function as a mature, secure, independent and creative adult and lay the foundation for studies in school. It is, therefore, very important to have well trained professionals working in early childhood education and care.
Early childhood education and care has different needs than that of primary school. The child between three and six learns through his senses. He must have the opportunity to play, solve problems, make decisions, and ask questions through experiencing his environment together with his peers. The role of the educator and child care provider is to encourage and mediate as the children learn by themselves.
As part of the development of international relations in Tempus Iris Project, three representatives of Kaye College, Dr. Liron Shokty, Head of The Office of International Academic Relations and a lecturer in the English Department, Ms. Regina Benchetrit, Head of the Center for Students with Special Academic Needs and lecturer in the English Department , and Dr. Inna Smirnov, Head of the English Department and Head of the Junior-High School Training Program, visited York St. John University in York, England during January 2016, in order to attend the annual conference “Talking About Teaching” and to consolidate and further develop the existing academic collaboration.
During the visit several meetings with university faculty were held in which it was agreed on the continuation and expansion of the collaboration between the Department of Theology and Education at St. John University and Kaye College students majoring in English. Both parties also agreed on launching a joint research and the possibility of student mobility.
In summary, the visit was fruitful and both sides expressed a desire and willingness to continue and deepen academic collaboration between the institutions.
As part of the Tempus Iris activities, during January of 2016, Lior Solomovich and Dr. Merav Asaf visited the Graduate School of Education at the University of Bristol. The objective of this visit was to get better acquainted with research activities done in the Digital Diversity LAB headed by Dr. Sue Timmis and to discuss various possible forms of partnership in teaching and research.
During the visit, the activities, procedures and methodologies used at the Digital Diversity LAB were presented, and possibilities regarding collaboration in the planning of online multi-cultural activities, co-researching activities of students and joint publications were discussed.
In addition, several meeting were conducted with the department’s head and with additional staff members so to establish research collaborations with other faculty members from Kaye College.
During January of 2016, two faculty members, Prof. Shlomo Back and Dr. Amnon Glassner visited Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg in Germany to discuss the topic of Heutagogy and to explore possible ways for collaboration.
While visiting they met with various key members of faculty: with Prof. Dr. Barbara Moschner, the Head of Teacher Education at Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg; with Lisa Marie Blaschke, the Program Director of the MDE; with Prof. Dr. Olaf Zawacki-Richter, director of the Center for Lifelong Learning and a lecturer in the School of Education and Social Sciences and with Tim Zenter, coordinator of M.A. program in lifelong learning.
Together with Prof. Dr. Barbara Moschner both parties decided to continue to increase research and practical connections mainly concern to some of our common challenges such as teacher education for learning and instruction in multicultural environment (e.g. the new refugees) and promoting of new teaching directions in teacher education programs which will be more suitable to the 21st century learners needs (e.g. Heutagogy, PBL).
It was also decided to continue to strengthen research and practical connections to promote self determination learning (Heutagogy), in face to face and in distant learning, agreeing that heutagogy is as a very relevant learning and teaching approach among students and lecturers in higher education and among pupils and teachers in schools, aiming to answer the new learners’ needs and to cope with the global society challenges.
Another decision was to expand the academic connections between the lifelong learning department at Oldenburg University and some of the departments and schools in Kaye academic college of education (e.g. the lifelong learning school for teachers; the informal learning studies).