Mandel School for Educational Leadership: The Program of Study
The Mandel School for Educational Leadership offers a two-year 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 world view and personal-professional identity, clarify the educational goals they would like to attain, in all their complexity, and translate these ideas into a plan of action.
The program consists of theoretical and practical components that allow fellows to constantly 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 2015-2016 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, was briefly presented 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 specialized subject while expanding it in new directions. The development of a personal area of interest includes honing a vision that is guided by a defined world view and set of values, in-depth study of both theoretical and practical aspects of the chosen field, and translation of these elements into a real-world plan of action. Throughout their individual learning process, the fellows have access to all of the school’s faculty members and are given opportunities to consult with any other experts they might find helpful, whether theoretical or practical.
The purpose of Mandel School tutorship is to accompany and support each and every fellow on his or her own personal learning journey. Mandel School tutorship is based on the assumption that significant learning takes place at the intra-personal level, and thus every learning experience and input has an effect and 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, the fellows spend one day a week with a manager or in an organization that they want to study in depth. The internship program is created jointly by the fellows and the manager of the organization in which they are placed. The process helps the fellows gain familiarity with the work of organizations, 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 design their vision and professional identity, supplies them with different paradigms for interpreting reality, invites thinking about creating connections between these worlds; and provides the arena within which fellows can develop a common language and constructive modes of discourse with each other.
Education: 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: 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 in writing and verbally and to learn from the varied experience and expertise of their colleagues in the group. Workshops are held in small groups and are moderated by faculty members from the worlds of academia and practice.
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.
The following elective courses were offered during the past year: Professional Discourse and Innovative Pedagogical Efforts in the Yishuv in Eretz Israel; Culture for All – Is it Possible?; Israeli Situations: Five Perspectives; Civil Society and the Third Sector: Selected Issues in Theory and Practice; Selected Readings in the Classics; Israeli Society: An In-Depth Analysis of Selected Events; Arab Feminism: Getting to Know the Other from a Gender Perspective; Between the Tensions: Pedagogy for Conflict Management in Israel; and Multi-Central Multiculturalism: The Israeli North as a Case Study.
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 world views and to create a common and safe space. 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 allow fellows to meet educational and social ventures in the field of practice and to improve their ability to improve their observation skills and ability to learn in the field. 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 situation in the field of practice, in which people of varying world views and opinions are required to come up with a single, agreed-upon policy. The fellows present the products of the group exercise to an audience comprising members of the Mandel community and stakeholders in the issue at hand. Last year, the group exercise focused on early childhood education, at the request of the Ministry of Education, and a summary paper was submitted to the Ministry at the end of the process.