Sunday, January 25, 2015

Experiential learning vs classroom learning

Expulsion from Gush Katif, August 2005
Israeli tenth graders were only six years old in 2005, when Israel dismantled the Gush Katif block of settlements in the southern Gaza Strip. They never stepped foot in the Gush Katif region, and few have any recollection at all of the traumatic events surrounding that historic evacuation.

Last week, over 2,700 tenth grade students set out on the fourth annual YBA “Masa Kisufim” (Trek of Yearning) march, to learn about the rise and fall of Jewish settlement in that unique region on the Egyptian border, where greenhouse-based agriculture flourished and prospered for over 35 years. The students toured greenhouses similar to those that were left behind in the Gaza Strip, and heard personal stories from former Gush Katif residents about their lives there and the traumatic expulsion from their homes.

Masa Kisufim March, January 2015
The annual Masa Kisufim march joined two other well-established all-night hikes in YBA’s tradition: to the Galilee village of Beria during the eighth grade to learn about the early years of Zionist settlement in Eretz Yisrael; and to Kibbutz Kfar Etzion during the ninth grade, to learn about Israel’s War of Independence.

Rabbi Beni Nachtailer, Director General of the YBA Educational Network, explained that "the Idea is to teach our students about the history of settlement in Gush Katif in an experiential way - through an all-night hike in the western Negev, near to where those settlements were located. Knowledge gained through experiential learning is hard-wired in our memories, much more than through classroom learning.”

The YBA network regards experiential education activities to be just as valuable as formal classroom education in Training Israel’s Future.™


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