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Thursday, August 27, 2009

What is A Jewish Community of Cooperative Learners?

A Jewish community of cooperative learners represents the transformation of a group of individual members into a united, interdependent, mutually supportive and cohesive unit (i.e. classroom or school) that works, studies, and learns together because of a shared set of middot such as: Derech Eretz, showing civility and respect for others; Kehillah or community and B’tzelem Elohim; all people are created in HaShem’s image. The chart below summarizes the major differences between a traditional classroom or school and a Jewish community of cooperative learners.

Comparison of Traditional Classroom/School and Jewish Community of Cooperative Jewish Learners

(Solomon, Davidson & Solomon, 1993)

A Traditional Classroom/School

A Jewish Community of Cooperative Learners

Little instructional time is devoted to class or school community building.

Instructional time includes specific activities for class or school community building.

Little time is devoted to teaching the social/relationship skills. It is assumed that individuals have the social skills for effective interpersonal and group communication.

Specific time is devoted to teaching and refining the social/relationship skills for interpersonal and group communication.

Common values, shared goals and expectations are not jointly developed.

The class/school develops common Jewish values, shared goals and expectations.

Little time is devoted to reflecting on how well the class or school is adhering to its values.

Specific time is set aside to reflect on how well the class or school is living its Jewish values.

There is little, if any, positive interdependence. At times members may actually be pleased if others do not do well or do not get their needs met.

There is positive interdependence. ("All for one, and one for all." "To do a quality job, we need each other.")

Individuals are responsible for themselves only.

There is shared responsibility for each member of the class or school.

There is minimal sense of class or school loyalty.

There is a strong sense of class or school loyalty.

* Solomon, R., Davidson, N. & Solomon, E (1993). The Handbook for the Fourth R III: Relationship Activities for Cooperative and Collegial Learning. Columbia, MD: National Institute for Relationship Training, Inc.

On the next post we will describe the relationship among these institutional structures: A Congregation of Life-Long Learners, a Jewish Professional Learning Community and a Jewish Community of Cooperative Learners.

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