1. Importance of Pedagogy
We found that advancing teacher content knowledge in Israel studies was not, alone, sufficient. The comprehensive nature of this initiative demanded enhancement of skills in educational planning, instruction, and assessment. Time and resources invested in elevating pedagogical knowledge, skills, and sophistication among educators was well spent.
2. Distinguish Israel Education from Advocacy Training
As we have stated, the aim of Israel education is to enable the learner to develop a meaningful personal relationship with Israel. While training in pro-Israel advocacy could follow Israel education it is a different endeavor. Israel education that strives to train advocates is less effective in enabling learners to cultivate their own relationships with Israel.
Our insistence on this distinction does not equate with avoiding politics or the Israel-Palestine conflict. On the contrary, in the appropriate educational contexts and age groups, these issues are an important ingredient in Israel education; indeed an Israel education that ignored these issues would be bizarre.
3. Israel Education’s Goals Demand a Holistic and Rigorous Approach
The task of developing a personal relationship with Israel involves cognitive, affective and behavioral outcomes. The most successful Israel education curricula weave a tapestry of history, thought, politics, current events, culture, geography, music, literature, poetry, with encounters with the country and its people.
Our experience reinforces a widely held view that Israel travel and people-to-people are important ingredients in Israel education. However, we found that the impact of these activities are magnified when they are curricularized – when these “informal” experiences are designed with the same intentionality as in-classroom learning units. Those schools that aligned and integrated their Israel travel and encounter experiences with their classroom learning seem to achieve heightened educational impact.