The Institute for Democratic Education


The Institute for Democratic Education is one of the important centers for the development and advance of educational systems and for the education of teachers to work in democratic schools. The Institute, whose offices are located at Kibbutzim College of Education, works for the democratization of schools and supports groups that strive to establish new schools in the spirit of democratic education. The College in collaboration with The Institute for Democratic Education operates a program to prepare teachers of the humanities, the sciences and the arts for high school education frameworks. The program is called The Hothouse for Educational and Social Initiatives and leads to a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree.

Students who enroll in this program can choose two disciplinary majors and will receive certificates as teachers in both disciplines and a Specialization Certificate in Democratic Education. The program combines academic studies in the disciplinary majors with study and research in the principles and practices of democratic education. The practice teaching part of the program is conducted in the regular junior high school frameworks as well as those belonging to the Network of Democratic Schools.

The Hothouse for Educational and Social Initiatives

The Hothouse for Educational and Social Initiatives is a unique framework for educating practitioners. Its first objective is to create the conditions and the surroundings in which future educators are encouraged to formulate and express their ideas, to test them in the complex reality, and to respect the ideas of others even as they confront them in critical dialogue. Another important objective is to provide the disciplinary and pedagogical knowledge that will qualify future teachers to teach a range of subjects. A third objective is to encourage initiative and leadership skills so that the graduates of the program will have the ability to bring about needed changes in teaching and learning processes and in the school organization.

Training for education and teaching in the spirit of democratic culture encourages students to function according to their own unique abilities and aspirations, to further progressive social goals and to defend basic human rights for all. In addition to providing a unique program for teacher education it provides a non-conformist alternative for living and working in the modern world. The program attracts a more or less equal number of men and women, many of them non-traditional students with previous work experience in teaching or other fields. Many of them see teaching as their “mission in life”, in whatever framework they will work in the future -regular public schools, schools belonging to the Network of Democratic Schools, or other formal or informal settings.

The “Hothouse” and the “Student Community” are the heart of the training process. The Hothouse consists of a group of twelve students who undergo a three year educational enrichment process, combining group work with individual tutoring of each student. Within the Hothouse framework each student chooses an educational or social initiative to work on until it successfully materializes. The Student Community gives expression to the active learning process and the involvement of all the students of the course in creative experiences.

The program offers three disciplinary alternatives:Humanities - socially oriented,Biology and Chemistry - environmentally oriented, and Arts and Digital Media. In addition to the B.Ed offered on successful completion of the program, graduates receive a secondary school teaching certificate for their disciplinary majors as well as a Specialization Certificate in Democratic Education.