Rothschild Foundation awards 4 outstanding teachers

Education prize to be given to “outstanding teachers who foster skills of open discussion, discourse” among pupils.

Teacher 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Teacher 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Rothschild Foundation will award its 2013 education prize to four outstanding teachers in Israel next week.
The foundation, also known as Yad Hanadiv, is dedicated to “creating resources for advancing Israel as a healthy, vibrant, democratic society committed to Jewish values and equal opportunity for the benefit of all its inhabitants.”
The Rothschild Prize in Education in Memory of Max Rowe, worth NIS 160,000, has been awarded every two years for the past 25 years to educators or groups who have made a significant contribution in the field of education in Israel. Rowe, a former chief executive of the organization, worked to advance education in the country.
The four recipients of the prize, who teach in four different disciplines and work with diverse populations, are described by the organization as “outstanding teachers who foster skills of open discussion and discourse” among their pupils and are “all working to facilitate open and respectful discourse in their classroom.”
One of the winners, Ran Yashfe, is a teacher at the School of Transformative Media in Tel Aviv who developed a communication method utilizing video cameras that facilitates dialogue between special education students and between at-risk youth in middle and high school.
Shikma Levi, from the Ilanot School for Special Education in Nahariya, is being awarded the prize for her efforts to emphasize dialogue and discussion among her students as basic tools for acquiring life skills.
Labeeb Sirhan, principal of the Alghudran “Heh” elementary school in the Druse village of Maghar, is another recipient of the prize. Sirhan, who formulated his educational vision based on the principle of dialogue, developed innovative tools to boost the sense of belonging and pride among pupils, teachers and parents.
The final recipient of the prize is Johina Awauda from the “Alef” elementary school in Kafr Kanna, who created a culture of democratic discussion and discourse, and applied her vision in educational activities with her pupils.
Rabbi Jeremy Stavisky, a member of the prize committee, said picking out the winners was “a difficult task.”
“We encountered optimistic individuals with glimmers in their eyes, who gave us the sense that they were carrying the world on their shoulders,” he said.
“In the end, we chose a special group of four people who, through unending dedication over the course of many years, created educational frameworks marked by attentiveness and inclusion, dialogue and acceptance,” he continued.
“In democratic countries, schools have an essential role in developing the skills of discussion and discourse among the future citizenry,” the foundation wrote in a statement.
“Teachers are responsible for instilling basic skills such as the ability to conduct a discussion with people of disparate opinions in a respectful and tolerant way, and the ability to present arguments based on facts and to critically analyze them.”
The award ceremony, to be attended by Lord Jacob Rothschild and Education Minister Shai Piron, will take place on Sunday at the Knesset.