Mandel School for Educational Leadership: The Program of Study
The Mandel School for Educational Leadership offers a two-year fellowship program with a course of study that is unique in terms of its scale, content, and format. The curriculum is personalized, takes place in individual and group settings, and combines theoretical and practical studies.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM OF STUDY
While the program of study is founded on a number of fixed elements, many of its components are developed on a more flexible basis over the course of the years, in line with the particular traits, needs, and interests of each of the fellows. The scope of the program, its content, and its special character enable the fellows to conduct an in-depth process in which they clarify their worldview and personal-professional identity, clarify the educational goals they would like to attain, and translate these ideas into a plan of action.
The program consists of theoretical and practical components that allow fellows to walk a bridge between the worlds of theory and practice; individual and group components, which include learning in and from the group alongside an individual learning journey; and internal and external components that span the divide between classroom learning and on-site learning in various professional contexts.
The uniqueness of the program lies in its combination of the course components, the learning process, and the educational environment. The course components that were offered to fellows in 2017-2018 are presented below. It is important to note that this only provides a partial picture of the fellows' learning experience at the school. The larger context, including the unique characteristics of the learning process and the educational environment of the school, can be found on the "About the School" page.
Fellows construct their own personal program, which allows in-depth study of professional and intellectual knowledge in their chosen area of expertise while expanding it in new directions. The development of a personal area of interest includes honing a vision that is guided by a defined worldview and set of values, in-depth study of both theoretical and practical aspects of the chosen field, and translation of these elements into an actionable plan in the world of practice. Throughout their individual learning process, the fellows have access to all of the school’s faculty members. The fellows are also given the opportunity to consult with professional experts in academia or practice in Israel or abroad. Furthermore, as part of their personalized study program, fellows receive the opportunity to travel for the purpose of an individualized study experience, during which they are able to encounter ground breaking and innovative educational research and practices, each in their own area of interest.
Mandel School tutorship is provided to each fellow in order to support the fellows on their individual learning journeys at the school. Mandel School tutorship is based on the assumption that significant learning takes place on an intra-personal level, and therefore any form of learning input or experience contributes to the formation of the fellow’s professional path.
Mandel School tutorship aims to support fellows on the journey of consolidating their personal-professional identity, to mediate between their group study program and their individual learning process, to help fellows construct their individual study curriculum, and to support fellows in planning the innovation initiatives that they seek to carry out in their future practice.
Over the course of at least three months, fellows spend one day a week with a manager or in an organization they seek to study in depth. The internship program, which is created jointly by the fellows and the manager of the organization in which they are placed, includes both observation and activity. The process helps the fellows gain familiarity with methods of organizational work, analyze organizational dynamics, and examine the ways in which people enact and relate to positions within organizations. Concurrently, the fellows participate in an internship workshop, held in small groups, which allows them to share, process, analyze, and conceptualize their experiences and observations.
Core courses at the school are organized around three content areas: Education Studies, Humanities and Jewish Studies, and Policy Studies. Opening a window into these worlds of knowledge helps the fellows develop their vision and personal and professional identity, supplies them with different paradigms for interpreting reality, invites the creation of connections between these worlds, and serves as a framework for developing a common language and fostering productive learning and discourse between fellows.
Education Studies: Ethnographic analysis of educational institutions and educational activity (including a week-long practical observation, conducted by fellows individually at schools around the country); history of the Israeli education system; analysis of issues facing the education system in Israel; teacher studies; the purposes of education; pedagogy: there is such a thing; systemic pedagogical change; approaches to connecting theory with practice in education; vision in practice.
Humanities and Jewish Studies: Plurality and pluralism; the worthy human being; political philosophy and Israel; foundations of poetry; the individual and the community in literature.
Policy Studies: Basic principles in public administration and public policy; organizational studies (including a week of observation at the Ministry of Education); policy theory; policy analysis; actors in the field of policy; current trends in governance; policy evaluation; and advanced issues in public policy.
This content area is currently in development at the School. It aims to provide fellows with a broad perspective on the context in which leadership of Israeli education is undertaken. Study units include: Between borderline and borderland – a sociological perspective on Israeli society; basic concepts in sociological theory; the story we tell about our being Israeli; and intra-sectorial controversies as a basis for understanding society.
The workshops serve as a space for fellows to discuss their personal areas of interest. It allows them to practice working and thinking habits that are essential for leading in education. The workshops invite deliberation of fundamental questions concerning education and society, improvement of consultation skills, development of critical thinking, and the translation of ideas into implementable plans. In addition, they enable the fellows to practice presenting their ideas verbally and in writing and to learn from the varied experience and expertise of their colleagues in the group.
Elective courses, which are offered jointly to the program’s two cohorts, are intended to add a dynamic element to the program of study, to broaden the fellows’ horizons, and to provide an additional response to the diversity of their areas of interest. The school’s faculty and fellows are all invited to participate in designing and delivering the elective courses and thus to give expression to their interests. The program of elective courses is developed over the course of the year. Within this framework, courses have been offered in areas such as advanced pedagogy; art, education and culture; humanities, policy, social dilemmas, and more.
The primary goal of the group sessions is to cultivate an ethos of learning at the school. This means nurturing familiarity and mutual trust among the fellows in order to develop openness to other opinions and worldviews and to create a safe and productive learning environment. The second goal is to provide learning that relates to the knowledge that the fellows have gained from their professional experience and learning through group discussion of challenges that face the fellows. The last goal is to enable reflection on the program of study and elicit feedback. The following types of group sessions were held last year: group time, open study space, a workshop on the “opening essay,” and master workshops.
During the course of the year, fellows participate in multi-day field trips. These study tours expose fellows to educational and social ventures in the field of practice, enabling fellows to hone their observation skills and ability to learn from them. Special attention is given to the relationship between praxis, conceptualization, and theory. Additionally, the trips provide a shared set of experiences that support group development and serve as a resource for learning. Every trip over the course of the year is assigned a subject. Examples of such field trips include: In search of learning; community meetings – development towns as a test case; the individual and the group – boarding schools as a test environment; and conservation and change – the kibbutz movement as a test case.
The purpose of the group exercise is to engage the fellows in a collaborative effort to consider solutions for a problem currently on the agenda of the education system in Israel. The exercise offers an opportunity to practice the transition between the worlds of theory and practice. The work process includes clarification of the values that the fellows seek to promote, in-depth study of the issue at hand, and the translation of these foundations into implementable policy. The process simulates an existing real-world situation, in which people with different worldviews and opinions must reach a consensus and formulate policy together. The fellows present the products of the group exercise to an audience comprising policy makers, members of the Mandel community, and other stakeholders. Over the years, the group exercises focused on topics such as early childhood education, racism in the school system, the integration of Ethiopian immigrant children into the Israeli education system, the role of education colleges in improving the Israeli education system, and more.