A Program in the Humanities Emphasizing Social Initiatives in Cooperation with the Institute for Democratic Education

This program of studies in the humanities for secondary school educators combines academic studies at the college level in the various disciplines, with active participation in the Hothouse for Social and Educational Initiatives. The goal of the Hothouse is to develop educational leaders who will join in efforts to initiate changes and improvements in educational frameworks and in the social fabric of Israeli society.

Students in this track choose one of three disciplines (history, literature, or Bible and Jewish culture) as the major and another one of the three disciplines as the minor. The major and the minor concentrations together provide 92 semester credits. Students also have the option of choosing an additional 12 credits in the third discipline. The courses here offered can be credited toward a first degree in parallel departments of Tel Aviv University. Students in this track will receive teaching certificates for grades 7-10 and will be trained to teach humanities in regular secondary, in Democratic Schools, or in schools undergoing change processes.

Setting rigorous academic requirements on the one hand and exposing students to complex interdisciplinary issues on the other hand are aimed to encourage critical and independent thinking. During the length of the course students will be asked to submit papers on questions dealt with during the course. Working on these reports, students will sharpen their analytical abilities, their comprehension of the relevant questions and their competency in language and written composition. Students will be encouraged to use references and source materials and read world literature to give real meaning to the expression “higher education”.

Side by side with the academic disciplines students will be trained in pedagogic skills. Experienced pedagogic counselors will accompany the students in didactic workshops and in practice teaching in the democratic school during the first year of studies. In the second year they will work at regular secondary schools or schools undergoing the shift to democratic schools. In the third year they will have a wider choice of teaching possibilities. Year four will be devoted to a teaching internship. Within this framework students will learn to formulate and develop teaching plans for different age levels, to confront and deal with problems of pupils, and implement the plans they have made, with the educational model they have learned at the College as their guide.

In addition to courses in the disciplines and practice teaching, students will take courses in educational theory to provide them with an over-view of the social and educational challenges of our time. Sixty hours of this program will be devoted to outreach activity in the community accompanied by a workshop in the College. At the heart of the educational course are the “Hothouse” and the Community of Learners. There are twelve students in the “Hothouse” experiencing an intensive three year course combining classroom work with individual tutorship.