An Israeli learning experience

Building an educational career in Haifa at Gordon College of Education.

By ALAN ROSENBAUM
June 6, 2019 22:23
4 minute read.
Gordon College students studying overlooking the Mediterranean

Gordon College students studying overlooking the Mediterranean. (photo credit: GORDON COLLEGE OF EDUCATION)

Located on the slopes of Mount Carmel, with a magnificent view of the blue Mediterranean, Haifa’s Gordon College of Education has unveiled a new educational program for American students that is as enticing and attractive as the local surroundings. Beginning in October, the school will open an International Student Program for American students offering a Bachelor’s degree in Math and Science Education (Grades 1-6), Social and Special Education, English as a Foreign Language, and Early Childhood Education.

Dr. Eli Vinokur, head of the program says, “Most students in the US who know about Israel, know that there’s Tel Aviv. Gordon College of Education in Haifa is for those who want to experience Israel, but from a different view.” 
The affordable three-year program provides students with an accredited Bachelor’s degree in Education. After completing the degree, students can spend an additional year of studies at Gordon, and receive a teacher’s certificate, which will qualify them to teach in Israel. The school is also offering an extensive ulpan to improve students’ Hebrew proficiency, so that those students who elect to remain in Israel will be able to teach classes in Hebrew. Students who return to the United States after completing the degree may need additional training to earn a local teacher’s certificate. 


Dr. Vinokur explains that the international degree from Gordon is recognized worldwide, since the school is accredited by the Council of Higher Education in Israel. The school, which has an enrollment of 2,500 students, operates numerous projects with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as various ministries of education worldwide. 


“Gordon is the only college in Israel that has received numerous grants from the European Union to lead international projects in civic education, developing curriculum, and internationalization,” says Dr. Vinokur. “We are leading in new ways to approach new learners.”


Many American students who come to Israel to study end up living here permanently, says Dr. Vinokur. A degree from Gordon, he explains, provides its recipients with a profession. “If they return to their communities in the United States, they can teach there, or they can stay in Israel, acquire a teacher’s certificate, and work here.”


There is a growing shortage of qualified English, mathematics and science teachers in Israel, and Gordon’s degree in teaching English as a foreign language is especially useful in Israel. Gordon’s Social and Special Education degree is particularly helpful for informal educational settings in both the US and Israel, such as summer camps, workshops, role playing and theatre. The Early Childhood Education Program is designed to train and equip kindergarten teachers with extensive knowledge of early childhood development, learning and education, from birth to the age of six. Training focuses on nurturing educators with an educational-humanist worldview that manifests in social-ethical values in their work.


Gordon School of Education, despite being one of Israel’s oldest teacher training institutions, uses of state-of-the-art technologies and diverse teaching methods in innovative teaching environments. “Gordon is considered to be number one in Israel, also among universities, in using technology in education and in social education – creating the social processes that allow one to use technology in a fruitful way,” says Dr. Vinokur. 


“The role of the teacher is changing from being a center of knowledge to acting as a facilitator for cognitive and social processes.” Prof. Yecheskel Taler, president of Gordon, explains that children today have shorter attention spans and as a result, new methods of teaching have been developed at Gordon. “We are doing it very successfully, and we can share this knowledge with students from around the world,” he says.


All incoming students receive iPads, and the school uses technology such as augmented reality and sensory learning to provide more realistic learning experiences. “We have a sensory room,” says Dr. Vinokur, “where everything you touch changes and moves. If want to learn about the Roman Empire, you enter the room and smell the dust and see the Coliseum and touch the stone, around you and you learn from experiences. This provides a sense of augmented reality and a sense of feeling with four of your senses.”


Prof. Taler points out that while students can get information by themselves via the Internet, teachers still play a critical role in directing them on how to absorb the knowledge and social values. “We have to prepare children today for the future,” he says. “Fifty to seventy-five percent of today’s occupations will not exist in the coming years, and new ones will develop. We must prepare children for a way to adjust to a world that we cannot anticipate what will be tomorrow. Students have to be flexible and adjustable and use teamwork and be prepared for changes.”


Incoming students to Gordon’s International program will be housed in three different neighborhoods in Haifa, and arrangements will be made to house Orthodox students in observant areas. Haifa has an active night life, in the city’s downtown and port area, which is attractive for college students, and the many museums and cultural sites make it an attractive destination. Says Prof. Taler, “I’m sure that our students will enjoy every minute here. The atmosphere is calm, but if they study and work hard, they will gain the knowledge and skills needed to be good teachers.”


Prof. Taler explains that with all of Gordon College of Education’s technological prowess, prospective teachers need to retain their sensitivity to children and see each child as an individual with specific needs and skills. Incoming students to Gordon’s International program will undoubtedly learn the skills necessary to become competent educators, both in Israel and abroad. 

Individuals interested in learning more about the program can click here, call +1 (347) 797-6203, 
or write to registeril@gordon.ac.il
 
This article was written in cooperation with Gordon College of Education.


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