Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"Text-Books and Textpeople" (A.J. Heschel): What is the Role of the Mehanekh in the Jewish Secular High School in Israel, and What is the Place of Jewish Texts Within that Role?
by Sela Kol, Aviva Helena, Ed.D., The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 2011, 300; 3602633
Abstract (Summary)

My study concerns the teacher knowledge of mehankhim, teachers in Israeli high schools entrusted to promote students' moral, civic, and social growth. It examines two mehankhim from a secular Israeli high school who participated in a long-term professional development program in secular Jewish education, centered by traditional and modern Jewish texts. This study is situated within the body of research on teachers' professional development, focusing on the vocation of mehanekh in secular Jewish education, teachers' professional knowledge, and mehankhim's life stories. I suggest that mehankhim are professionals, with a professional practical knowledge unique to them, despite their current lack of specific training for their vocation. One major source of knowledge that informs the practice of today's mehankhim is the historical legacy of the role. A second is the evolution of Israeli public discourse, which demands a corresponding evolution in the undefined "mission statement" of mehankhim, and in their preparation and in-service training. Using the qualitative method of portraiture and relying on narrative analysis, I have drawn portraits of two mehankhim. I completed a full ethnographic survey of the participants in their professional setting, engendering the creation of a multi-layered, comprehensive and esthetic whole. This study examines ways to professionalize the vocation of mehankhim. It offers hope for change in the Israeli public discourse by well-trained Jewish and Arab mehankhim, invigorated with a new popular mandate; it suggests an opportunity for Jewish Israeli mehankhim to collaborate with their American counterparts in Jewish education, giving Jewish texts a central role.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ingall, Carol K.
Commitee: Davidson, Aryeh, Hansen, David, Holtz, Barry, Mittelman, Alan
School: The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Department: William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 75/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Teacher education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Curriculum development, Inservice teacher training, Israel, Jewish education, Jewish text, Mehanekh, Pedagogical content knowledge
Publication Number: 3602633
ISBN: 9781303558665
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