Wednesday, January 13, 2010

#jed21 on tutors, teachers and coaches

A day or three of tweeting while working! My friend Robin Faintich tweeted in response to my last blog posting about an article in the New York Jewish Week on tutoring. More friends joined in: Josh Barkin, Peter Eckstein, Ellen Dietrick and Ruth Abusch-Magder. I am amazed, but not surprised, by the level of dialogue that can occur in 140-character chunks. The conversation began Monday morning. As I write this it is almost noon on Wednesday and Jonathan Woocher just jumped into the pool. As my wife’s accounting professor at the University of Michigan, Chip Klemstein, once said, “It’s not the miracle of birth, but it is pretty cool!

I am posting the conversation to date below in order to continue it with you. I am also posting it as a comment to
David Bryfman’s blog about the potential value of twitter in Jewish education. David has some very interesting things to say (and he mentions me-check it out mom!). Please continue the conversation with us here on twitter!

(The left hand column is the speaker, the name in the right hand column is the person to whom they are responding or directing their words.)

@rabbigurevitz

Tutoring vs.Religious School redux - Al tifrosh? http://bit.ly/5hWxwM #jed21

@rfaintich

@IraJWise Tutoring vs.Religious School ... isn't it our job to figure out how to integrate them? #jed21

@barkinj

@rfaintich It’s our job, but Ira's right: we need to be wary of something that is educationally and ideologically problematic. #jed21

@rfaintich

@barkinj one challenge is that I am not sure that @IraJWise would agree that RS is educationally problematic-if that's what you mean #jed21

@IraJWise

@rfaintich Absolutely. It is also our job to bring them in at the beginning, which means offering something compelling & meaningful. #jed21

@redmenace56

@rfaintich RS as it exists might B problematic, but not necessarily. methinks tutoring CAN be integrated w/out leaving community #jed21

@IraJWise

@rfaintich I don;t think it is. It can be. We don;t always get right. But we do more than we get get credit for. #jed21

@rfaintich

I am the product of the tutor/RS integration,i KNOW it is possible. Know of a great model in OC-Mindy Davids special. #jed21

@rfaintich

@IraJWise i agree that some, incl. you, do more than you get credit for... and in a paradigm that i believe is systemically broken. #jed21

@barkinj

@rfaintich No. I meant that Jewish education through tutoring is educationally problematic. #jed21

@rfaintich

@barkinj why? #jed21

@barkinj

@rfaintich Tutoring is fine for cognitive learning. Good Jewish education should also be affective, emotional, spiritual, communal. #jed21

@rfaintich

@barkinj you falsely assume tutoring can't also be affective, emotional & spiritual and then integrated into communal #jed21

@redmenace56

@rfaintich yeah makes sense but challenge is finding resources & institutional will 2 create programs that R NOT 1 size fits all #jed21

@redmenace56

@rfaintich like prev post re: teens, creating mix of tutoring & communal learning needs resources that many of us don't have (more) #jed21

@redmenace56

@rfaintich we want change & know it's doable, but when lay leaders won't provide resources we r stuck with taking very small steps #jed21

@redmenace56

@rfaintich & small steps R not always enough 2 hold funders, parents & kids attention, even though we try. need something big.#jed21

@redmenace56

@rfaintich big change perceived as dangerous-small may not b enough. risk not always positive thing in many funders/parents eyes. #jed21

@barkinj

@rfaintich An observation, not an assumption. I've never seen tutoring do those things. #jed21

@redmenace56

@rfaintich we need mechanism to filter the innovations and drive 4 change down from big centers to the periphery. #jed21

@barkinj

@rfaintich Tutoring is generally used for "training", which by definition is not affective, emotional, spiritual, community-oriented. #jed21

@IraJWise

@rfaintich Not that tutoring can't be those things, but a communal setting can make them richer and deeper! No student is an island. #jed21

@barkinj

@IraJWise @rfaintich Yeah, Ira said it better. #jed21

@rfaintich

@barkinj @IraJWise perhaps the problem is word/implication of "tutor" & not mentor, facilitator, role model, personal educator, etc #jed21

@ellen987

@rfaintich@barkinj @IraJWise On tutor discussion, I love the idea of Jewish life coaches instead of religious school teachers. #jed21

@rfaintich

@IraJWise my "tutor" is the one who brought me into Jewish camping & gave me a new community. I was in RS for judaics-she enhanced it #jed21

@IraJWise

AHA! So it was not JUST the tutor. Sounds like the kind of person we need doing lots of things. Not a Zero-sum game! #jed21

@lookstein

@rfaintich @irajwise @barkinj Abe Unger weighs in on the benefits of tutoring in the Jewish community in op-ed http://bit.ly/5M4csQ #jed21

@barkinj

@ellen987 Not sure what you mean by "life coach" in this context. #jed21

@barkinj

@ellen987 I call them "teachers", you call them "coaches." Good teachers know Jewish education is not about imparting info. #jed21

@ellen987

@barkinj I think there is a real difference between coach and teacher. Especially when you are inviting them into your home. #jed21

@ellen987

@barkinj By Jewish life coach I mean someone to help you figure out how to reach your family's goals for Jewish living and learning. #jed21

@barkinj

@ellen987 What if your family's goal is to have a bar mitzvah and then disengage from Jewish life? #jed21

@rabbiruth

What if the option is a tutor or nothing? that is quite common #jed21

@ellen987

@barkinj If your goal is to disengage aren't you going to do that even if your kid goes to RS? I'm talking people who want to engage. #jed21

@darimonline

@barkinj is it ever someone's REAL goal to disengage? Or an assumed path b/c lack of something compelling, inviting, worth change? #JED21

@rfaintich

@RabbiRuth I would say it is then the role of the "tutor" to try and bring the entire family into other entry points. #jed21

@barkinj

@DarimOnline You're right. Lots disengage because we don't offer anything engaging. But some disengage because that's what they want. #jed21

@barkinj

@ellen987 Religious schools need the disengagers (and their tuition/dues) to pay salaries, keep the lights on, etc. #jed21

@barkinj

@RabbiRuth Why? The vast majority could send their kids to relig. school. The people who choose tutoring usually do so as a choice. #jed21

@rfaintich

@barkinj @DarimOnline i think those who have chosen to disengage before they even see the product are those who are "in" out of guilt #jed21

@ellen987

@barkinj A coach working with entire family provides more avenues for engagement. Goal for enrolling kids in RS is not fundraising. #jed21

@redmenace56

@ellen987 ellen - i'd like 2 talk 2 U more abt this - i'm starting a lifecycle coach program @ my synagogue. how do we touch base? #jed21

@darimonline

@rfaintich @barkinj Can we re-cast the guilt paradigm? It's so not-compelling and will ultimately fail (is presently failing). #jed21

@barkinj

@ellen987 I totally agree. But too many congregations use BM as bait to get people in the door. #jed21

@IraJWise

@barkinj A bit cynical. For those only seeking BM, we meet a need. If we are good, we use their time here to help make more connects #jed21

@jwoocher

Need 2 real conversations w families: when they join, when BBM approaches. What will make this m'ningful 4 u? What must we do & u do? #Jed21

@barkinj

@IraJWise Yes. Playing the "cynic's advocate" here. But what would happen if all those BM-only folks left your school? #jed21

@IraJWise

@barkinj We would have to become a completely different kind of institution to afford serving those who want us the way we are. #jed21

@IraJWise

@barkinj And we still wouldn't reach those who left. #jed21


Conversation continues! Join in at #jed21.

If you don't understand how to follow a twitter hashtag (#jed21 is a hashtag!) go to Mashable's guide.

Here is the rest of the conversation:

@rfaintich @IraJWise what would you project would happen to your school if b/m were universally moved to 18 (or h.s. grad)? #jed21

@IraJWise @rfaintich Not sure. But you can't move it. People won't follow. That's how we got Confirmation in Reform. #jed21

@IraJWise Our conversation on tutors and schools through Josh's last post on line http://bit.ly/5RamqV #jed21 This is cool stuff!

@rfaintich @IraJWise if everyone agreed to move it (not like that will happen) then ppl choice - follow or nothing? #jed21 just hypothesizing

@lookstein thought of #edchat (see http://bit.ly/4Gt48i) when read @IraJWise compilation of tweets (http://bit.ly/5RamqV) maybe need jedchat 4 #jed21

@barkinj @rfaintich @IraJWise What are the implications of this conversation (tutoring) on the larger conversation about post BM dropout? #jed21

@barkinj @rfaintich @IraJWise My hypothesis: Schools that heavily integrate 1-on-1 tutoring have higher rate of post BM dropout. #jed21

@barkinj @rfaintich @IraJWise My reasoning: Maybe families/kids that don't heavily value community have less reason to stay after BM. #jed21

@rfaintich @barkinj one thought- does "drop out" only apply to weekly RS or the community/congregation on the macro? #jed21

@barkinj @rfaintich I say macro. Because I'm not so narrow-minded as to believe that RS is the only way to engage w Jewish education. ;) #jed21

@barkinj @rfaintich But even on the macro level, I would still make that hypothesis. #jed21

@rfaintich @barkinj going with the macro, if done well, I respectfully disagree with you #jed21

@barkinj @rfaintich "If done well" is a big if. My read of the trend (as described in JWeek story) is that it prob isn't usually done well. #jed21

@rfaintich @barkinj so let's find a way to fix it :) #jed21

@rfaintich @remilder or it means that part of the "tutors" job is to be a role model and work to bring them in to J community opportunities #jed21

@rfaintich article http://tinyurl.com/yfrzw36& quote "[judaism] is learning-based, not rite-based." based on discussion about b/m do we agree? #jed21

@barkinj @rfaintich Right. So do we try to improve tutoring (because it's a trend like it or not), or do we try to fix the underlying problem? #jed21

@rfaintich @barkinj i think it's more than a trend & is actually educationally sound (again if done right)...so I think we should improve it #jed21

@RabbiRuth I think that there is much that could be done to support organizations like Milestones in SF that make this work well #jed21

@FlorenceBernard Welcome To The Next Level: #jed21 on tutors, teachers and coaches http://bit.ly/6gTHhl

@rfaintich @jwoocher beyond what makes it meaningful is WHY are you engaging in this? What is motivating your choice for joining & for BBM? #jed21

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