Spreading the Word the Traditional Way
AVI CHAI begins its final year as an organization, providing generous support to initiatives in Jewish education. ADRABA will always be grateful for their inspiration and encouragement in launching our bold endeavour. And so, to paraphrase Rava (Shavuot 23a): “Let’s pour one for my homie.”
Despite all the Instagram memes and newsletters and blogposts at adraba.ca, some folks still don’t get why ADRABA is different. We still field questions from some about what makes ADRABA different. Others have asked why parents should send their children to ADRABA when Toronto has so many other, more well-established Jewish high schools. Why take the risk on something so out there and so risky?
ADRABA cannot be so easily summed up on a post-it note.
This is a challenge in a world driven by marketing and tweets and “going viral” where attention spans are short and people want their world broken down into easily digestible seven-second-long nuggets.
Life is complex. Your child’s learning should be too.
ADRABA requires a little bit more time and bandwidth.
So let’s begin with the end – why take a risk? ADRABA’s “blended Jewish” approach may seem risky if you haven’t been following trends in education. Blended learning has been around since the 1990s. It has been studied by academics and researchers who want to test the claims that “blended is better.” The results? Students learn better. In the traditional classroom, information flows from teacher to students. In a purely online format, information flows from students to teacher. With blended learning, information flows both ways. (You can read one of the many studies about blended learning’s efficacy here.)
Blended learning is built upon collaboration and teamwork not only between learners, but between learners and instructors. With tech, students can interact with instructors and fellow students anyplace, anywhere and anytime. Student learning is not limited to in-between bells. And with online projects, there is more transparency because the entire group (and the instructor) can monitor progress.
Blended learning also promotes student ownership of learning, where they learn to manage their own learning goals and rhythm of learning. There is no longer such a thing as “slow students” or “faster learners” as everyone learns at their own pace.
Blended learning also prepares students for living in a tech-centred world. In a previous newsletter, I spoke about the Luddites and how their protest was not against tech, but against harmful tech. At ADRABA, we will not only learn desirable skills to make learners more savvy and employable in the future. We will also learn about how to use tech responsibly and mindfully. As I wrote before, we surely love our smartphones (and tablets and laptops), but Facebook and Instagram? As the Russians fondly say: Доверяй, но проверяй; (Doveryai, no proveryai) – trust but verify.
All of this points to the most positive aspect of blended learning : student interest and engagement. Blended learning lives significantly (but not completely) where the learners are … online and in their back pockets. At ADRABA, we hope to leverage blended learning’s attractiveness to inspire generations of Jewish learners to engage with their tradition, history, values, languages and practices in ways unimaginable even ten years ago.
So, rather than rely on Instagram and Facebook to take us viral, we look to you to spread many words about ADRABA the old fashioned way… to friends, relatives and people at the next table in Aroma, the ‘Que or United Bakers.
Here’s what you can do RIGHT NOW.
We have a parent info night coming up on the 23rd that will soon be fully booked.
Send three potentially interested friends a short email telling them to contact [email protected] RIGHT NOW! You could also call them but people are often harder pressed to field phone calls during the day, especially in the hectic run-up to Shabbat.
Some “standing room” spots are still available!
However, if January 23 doesn’t work, we will also be adding a date in February due to popular demand, so if they reach out to [email protected], I will add them to the list and let them know when the date, time and place are firmed up.
Until then, Shabbat shalom!