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Monday, August 24, 2009

What is a Jewish Professional Learning Community?

Ideally, the mentor teacher trains the pre-service and in-service teachers within a supplemental or day school that is a professional learning community. A Jewish Professional Learning Community (JPLC) is one in which every member including the students, madrichim, teaching assistants, student teachers, co-teachers, novice, beginning and experienced teachers, mentor teachers, expert teachers, Rabbi, school principal, or educational director is continuously teaching and learning from each other. It is a kehillah (community) of Jewish learning where each member acquires Jewish wisdom for personal growth, and also cares for the social, emotional, and spiritual well- being of others.

The foundational values of the JPLC include, but are not limited to these middot: the pursuit of knowledge (daat) wisdom (chochmah) and joy (simcha); kindness (chesed), compassion (rachamim), civility (derech eretz), respect for self and others (kavod); community (kehillah), study in order to teach (lomed al manat lelamed), doing good deeds (ma’asim tovim), repairing the world (tikun olam), holiness (kedushah), and acting in the image of HaShem (B’tzelem Elohim).

These Jewish values are not merely discussed and debated, but are evidenced in the daily interactions of its members.

On the next post we will discuss the six characteristics of a professional learning community as defined by Richard DuFour and Robert Eaker (1998).

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