Walfish, Ruth A., and David L. Brody. “‘Students get bogged down’: How Religious Israeli Elementary Teachers View Problems and Solutions in Bible Teaching.” British Journal of Religious Education (early view; online first).
Bible teachers in contemporary society confront serious problems related to the nature of the biblical text and the socio-cultural context of their teaching. This study, based on semi-structured interviews, examines the problems that five expert religious Israeli elementary school teachers encounter in their teaching and the solutions they employ. Our findings show two major domains of pedagogic issues: unfamiliar biblical linguistics and problematic content. Teachers reported student difficulties in understanding biblical Hebrew. Problematic content includes irrelevant topics, emotionally laden material, and age inappropriate issues. Linguistic solutions relied on reading comprehension techniques and use of features specific to Bible reading such as diacritical marks. Regarding content issues, teachers were motivated by faith in the sanctity of the text to find effective solutions. These include selectivity, reinterpretation using homiletic tools, a holistic understanding and contextualising the narrative. Though teachers felt ill-prepared by their pre-service training in dealing with these challenges, they demonstrated resilience in their solution-oriented pedagogy. These findings suggest attention to mentoring and professional development, and to the creation of a community of practice to support teachers’ dealing with the ongoing challenges in their teaching.
The present study examined how Israelis and Palestinians present their narratives related to their conflict in school textbooks used by the state educational system and the ultraorthodox community in Israel and by all Palestinian schools in Palestinian National Territories. The focus was on how each side portrays the Other and their own group. The content analysis was based on a developed conceptual framework and standardized and manualized rating criteria with quantitative and qualitative aspects. The results showed in general that (1) dehumanizing and demonizing characterizations of the Other are rare in both Israeli and Palestinian books; (2) both Israeli and Palestinian books present unilateral national narratives that portray the Other as enemy, chronicle negative actions by the Other directed at the self-community, and portray the self-community in positive terms with actions aimed at self-protection and goals of peace; (3), there is lack of information about the religions, culture, economic and daily activities of the Other, or even of the existence of the Other on maps; (4) the negative bias in portrayal of the Other, the positive bias in portrayal of the self, and the absence of images and information about the Other are all statistically significantly more pronounced in Israeli Ultra-Orthodox and Palestinian books than in Israeli state books.
This article presents two pioneering religious Jewish schools that opened their doors to girls in Jerusalem in the first decade and a half after the end of World War I and the establishment of the British Mandate in Palestine. One of these schools, established by Chana Shpitzer, was exclusively for girls, while the other, Maʿaleh, was coeducational. Although both schools were Orthodox in outlook and identified with the growing Zionist movement, their approaches to Torah education for girls were quite different. I believe a comparison between these two schools offers some insights into the relative advantages and disadvantages of single-sex and mixed Jewish educational frameworks.
The Islamic Movement, which is called in Arabic Al-harakaat al-islamiyya or Al-haraka al-islamiyya, has, since its foundation in the 1970s, placed emphasis on education, especially the dissemination of the Islamic message. After the movement scored significant successes in local authority elections, its influence increased on the ideological guidelines according to which some of the Arab education system is partially or fully shaped. The article discusses the split in the movement within the State of Israel, and the differences between the southern and northern faction. It also compares Islamic education and Arab education within Israel and abroad in Europe, in countries which have large immigrant Moslem populations.
The education system that the Islamic Movement tries to develop symbolizes the complexity of the relations between it and the state authorities. They are aware that the authorities will not help in differentiation and separation and will not cease from the constant supervision of the movement’s educational institutions. Therefore, their choice of a synthesis between formal and informal education or of a partition between pedagogic state education and moral study classes, is a rational, calculated choice, taking into consideration the reality of a cultural – ethnic – national minority.