Submitted by rebecca on January 31, 2012 - 2:24pm
Deepening Jewish Learning through the Art of Conversation
"Sometimes we have conversations that are deeper (than hi), where we don’t know the answers…about life, the universe and everything. People come to the synagogue knowing this is a place to have those conversations. A good educator is someone who knows how to keep those conversations going." - Rabbi Larry Hoffman
As part of our LOMED initiative this year, 100 congregational educators are developing their ability to educate through Relational Judaism in order to increase a child's sense of belonging. Over the course of the last year, we have brought educators into different environments to learn how to use varying contexts to support children's learning. Last Spring educators practiced focusing on learners questions at malls and shopping centers. This past Fall, they met in each others homes, to learn about stories and how they link us to one another and to the greater Jewish narrative. Now, we are bringing educators to restaurants to learn how to have both social/spontaneous and functional/facilitated conversations that encourage learning and children's development and growth.
40 New York educators have already attended group lunches at restaurants to experience the methodology of learning through conversation and to discuss the ways they can implement conversation in their practice. Through this program, we are modeling techniques that educators can use with their students and let them experience the benefits of deep conversation for themselves. The educators experience how a dynamic group conversation, as opposed to a teacher led discussion, brings out wisdom in the exploration of an idea and allows the educators to hear what is important to the students. Afterwards, one participant reflected that "carefully thought out questions to spark actual conversation can move us in very memorable directions. I look forward to adding more of this to my teaching." Together, we are discovering how Jewish learning can foster personal and caring relationships among Jews.
Read Cyd Weissman, Director of Innovation in Congregational Learning's Blog Entry about the program here.