Jewish Education Council’s Summer Institute 2013

by | Sep 16, 2013 | Other News

Jewish educators gather for two evenings each August at the Simon Family JCC for the Jewish Education Council’s Summer Institute. This hands-on workshop is designed to improve teaching skills and share what works and inspires in the classroom.

Mary Meyerson, a consultant who works with religious schools in the greater Washington, D.C. area, was this year’s guest leader.

“I was thrilled to work with teachers in this community,” Meyerson says. “They were open to someone from outside the area sharing the ‘to-do’s.’ They were hard working and excited about learning.”

The workshop was divided into a theme each of the two nights. “The Hurried-er I go, the Behind-er I get,” was the first night’s subject, which focused on making the most of classroom time. “It’s unrealistic to think that we can teach all we want to teach in each class session,” says Meyerson. “We must maximize the time we have. As teachers, we must self-reflect on what worked and didn’t work. If we fail to plan, we planned to fail.”

The second night’s theme focused on using all five senses in the classroom, which Meyerson believes enhances the mitzvah of teaching. She asked participants if they incorporated modalities using all five senses in their classrooms. “Expand beyond auditory and visual,” she advises. “If a holiday includes taste and smell, for example, share these in the classroom.” Her definition of senses expands to the figurative tone and feel of the class. “Is learning sweet, bittersweet, or sour? We must be honest with ourselves in order to maximize the impact of our teaching.”

Summer Institute is sponsored by the Jewish Education Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater and presented by the Marilyn and Marvin Simon Family Jewish Community Center.

by Leslie Shroyer