The Visit of a Delegation from African Countries November 21, 2012 – The MOFET Institute
One of the objectives of “The Golda Meir Mount Carmel International Training Center”is to prepare people from various countries for assuming essential roles in their countries. The center maintains close contact with The MOFET Institute, and every year, groups of teacher educators and policy makers from the Training Center visit the Institute.
In this framework, a group of 21 participants from Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, and Nigeria visited The MOFET Institute. The participants, in this group, are teacher educators and policy makers on the topic of early childhood education in the education systems in their countries.
In an endeavor to build the program of the visit in accordance with the topics studied by the participants, the topic of this seminar was “Innovative Methods for an Integrative Approach in Teacher Training – with an Emphasis on Early Childhood and Primary Education.”
Dr. Michal Golan, the head of The MOFET Institute, launched the proceedings with a brief presentation of The MOFET Institute as a center for teacher educators’ professional development. Her lecture was accompanied by a short promotional movie.
Dr. Golan then went on to make a contribution from her own field of specialization – early childhood – and delivered a lecture on the topic of aspects that should be emphasized in early childhood education. She stressed the need to select an approach that is appropriate for the existing needs, at the same time relating to the principles that are necessary when determining any kind of policy. In her opinion, the child should be nurtured as a member of human society, and to this end, must be given tools that will help him fit into that society. Dr. Golan described the difficulties encountered by early childhood educators as well as the insights and approaches they should adopt in order to give every child his place as an individual and as a self-standing personality while endeavoring to pave his way toward fitting into society.
The participants’ reactions and questions attested to their great interest in what they had heard as well as to their desire to learn from the experience of the educators in Israel.
Dr. Sara Ziv, the founder of The MOFET Institute and currently the head of its International Channel, commenced her lecture with an explanation of the terms “teacher educators”, “profession”, “professional development”, and “center”. She went on to explain teacher educators’ need for professional development, and stressed that in the educational world, this need is practically ignored. However, The MOFET Institute has assumed this role and has developed the research-based and professional knowledge, the tools, and the infrastructures necessary for teacher educators’ professional development.
Dr. Ziv gave a historical overview of the 30 years of The MOFET Institute’s development, describing the difficulties facing the developers and listing their achievements. She stressed the unique nature of the development process of the Institute and the formation of a community of teacher educators that studies, creates, and investigates.
At this point, Dr. Ziv introduced the guests to the International Channel, which was founded five years ago, along with its goals and the work environments it has developed, namely, the various components of the online environment (content portals, online academy, webinars, and so on), and of the face-to face environment (short and long-term seminars, study tours, and so on). The participants were keenly interested in the entire model and in its component parts, and raised conceptual and practical questions.
In the concluding part of the encounter, Dr. Rivka Reichenberg, a senior faculty member of The MOFET Institute, described the structure of the Institute’s school for teacher educators with its various specializations, and devoted her lecture to the specialization in Instruction and Mentoring. While describing the specialization, Dr. Reichenberg foregrounded the central role of the tutors, who participate in all the lectures along with the tutees, and then accompany them individually and in small groups as the tutees relate to the material in greater depth and prepare their projects. The tutors are expert peers, and the collaboration enables a community to be formed in which each individual can assume the role of either tutor or tutee, in accordance with the topic. Dr. Reichenberg also presented research findings characterizing the work of the tutors as perceived by the tutees for the purpose of improving the tutors’ work.
At the end of her lecture, Dr. Reichenberg had the guests participate in a game that exemplified the work method in the Instruction workshops. This activity sparked a great deal of interest among the participants, who expressed their satisfaction with the entire visit by saying and singing “thank you” in several languages.