A new book makes a compelling case and charts the course towards a “person-centered” approach to Israel education. Written by Dr. Barry Chazan, A Philosophy of Israel Education: A Relational Approach aims to assist educators and academics to engage learners in a variety of viewpoints and experiences as they build personal relationships with Israel. The book is available as a no cost ebook.
In A Philosophy of Israel Education, Chazan first lays out the educational terminology that defines the field. He then details the eight principles of “person-centered” Israel education, such as developing the learners relationship with Israel and examining the diverse Israel narratives. Chazan offers practical ways for educators to implement these principles to ultimately develop a new paradigm through which Israel education occurs. A section on a culture of Israel education discusses the many settings, communities, social networks and other factors that contribute to immersive Israel experiences.
“Excellent Israel education mirrors excellent education, regardless of discipline,” says Dr. Barry Chazan. “This almost always puts learners – and their singular backgrounds, interests, knowledge, and more – at the center of the educational experience. Almost anyone can develop a deep and meaningful relationship with Israel, the Land, and its people. But talented educators, who have skills and confidence to model these experiences, are needed for this culture to develop and thrive.”
In the book’s conclusion, Chazan argues that this educational approach – in which Israel, and its varied meanings, is shown to be valued throughout history – is understood as “value education.” Exiting the Jewish sphere, the question is then posed to readers: “Can an education that focuses on a specific ethnic or affiliative group also be a framework for character education?” Can it be part of the development of personal character?
For Chazan, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” This type of education “encourages reflection on values that are posited, rather than on conclusions to be imposed,” he notes, before adding, “We believe that, under the right conditions, particularistic education can be a significant force in education for a life of values, character, and benevolence. Indeed, it is often the case that through our particularity we find our humanity.”