Graduates’ corner


Education is my way to touch Israeli society

Sivan Oliel

Third-grade teacher and coordinator

MA graduate of the Department of Education in Tel Aviv, specializing in Democratic Management and Public Policy

What are you doing these days?

I live in Rishon Letzion, and I am a third-grade teacher and coordinator, as well as a coordinator of the field of language education at the school.

What is the best place for you?

The place that is best for me is my classroom, my little piece of heaven, where magic happens with my students, who mean the world to me.

Where does your strength lie?

I feel that most of my strength lies in my classroom, where I break boundaries with my students, allowing both them and myself to think and act creatively and out of the box.

Magic Wand- What else would you need to increase your influence?

The place where I feel I need the magic wand is in my role as a language education coordinator. I need the flow, acceptance and open-mindedness of the rest of the staff.

What was your state of mind during your master degree studies?

I had finished my undergraduate studies and I felt I needed more knowledge and inspiration. I had many question marks and looked for a degree that would help me formulate my true self. The degree helped me to connect the dots and develop the ability to look both internally and outside of myself, as well as providing me with a different outlook on many other issues.

Can you share a unique experience that you had during your studies? Something embedded in your memory?

The experience I most recall was when we established an alternative model for a typical school in our first year’s main course. As a teacher and educator, who teaches in elementary school and sees what is going on in the field firsthand, it was important for me to find alternatives, to create a creative and sustainable model in the present school system. The process of brainstorming together in a group in addition to learning different approaches to education, has enabled me not only to form my alternative education model, but also to establish my own core beliefs regarding education.

Which aspects of the degree do you think were most significant? What influenced you the most?

For me, the most significant elements are studying in workshops, which I believe is essential for education tracks, and unfortunately is not as obvious at the universities. In addition, the second year’s research seminar with Dr. Raviv Reichert enabled us to express ourselves and enriched our knowledge regarding diverse educational studies.

Punchline in conclusion?

Education is my way of affecting Israeli society which is constantly evolving. This is my way of contributing to it, with the help of the tools I acquired during my Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Education for Early Childhood at the Seminar HaKibbutzim College. These tools received scientific basis due to the profound process I underwent in my masters, touching also on aspects from Democratic Education. I believe that the combination of different educational methods is the key to success.


 
My classrooms is my little piece of heaven

Betty Karat Greenfield

Director of the HILA House in Petach Tikvah

An MA graduate of the Department of Education in Tel Aviv, specializing in Democratic Management and Public Policy.

What are you doing these days?

I am currently finishing my position as the director of the HILA House in Petach Tikvah, an educational center for youth who have dropped out of the formal education systems, and am starting a new job as a district pedagogic facilitator of the HILA program. In addition, I am about to complete my master’s degree in education policy with a specialization in democratic education.

Where do you feel at your best?

Professionally, I feel best when working with at-risk youth and excluded populations. When I was considering changing my job, I knew that I would remain in the field of at-risk youth and in making higher education accessible for them. I firmly believe in the right of every child to a basic 12-year education to help integrate them into our society.

Where does your strength lie?

My main strength is in my desire to help and promote populations that are neglected in Israeli society and my ability to create and contribute in my classrooms, my little piece of heaven. Authentic action that is not patronage, but rather promoting equal opportunities and social justice, even if only locally and on a small scale.

What was your state of mind during your master degree studies?

I was thirsty for theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of education on two levels: both my personal interest in theories related to education, and the need to develop the boys and girls I meet daily. I always knew that “knowledge is power” and I felt that I needed more knowledge to do my work better. When it came to pedagogy for at-risk youth, the connection between democratic education specifically, and progressive education in general, seemed to me, despite common stigmas, natural and logical, and I wanted to study things firsthand.

Can you share a unique experience that you had during your studies? Something embedded in your memory?

During our studies, we were asked to visit progressive schools throughout the country to see education at work and not just in theory. I visited the Democratic School in Kfar Saba and fell in love. Not blindly in love, I had my observations as I always do- but I knew that I had to bring my colleagues from the youth promotion district, to witness this wonder. Two weeks later, we found ourselves holding a day of district principals at the Democratic School in Kfar Saba, and so I could share my thoughts with my colleagues, who deal with special pedagogy tailored to at-risk youth every day, and encourage some of them to think a bit outside the box.

 Which aspects of the degree do you think were most significant? What influenced you the most?

There were two things that were most significant to me: the first, were the unique specialized courses, which were interesting and different. The second, is that everyone could take what they were studying in the direction that interested them. In each of the courses I participated in, I wrote papers on subjects that are important to me, such as dropping out of the educational system, youth at-risk, and many more, while others researched subjects that were of interest to them. The degree enables the connection between theory and practice, so that anyone can take the theory and connect it to their own world and areas of expertise.