Academic Training Programs
The Institute develops and leads training processes for agents of social and educational change. The training mostly takes place in a variety of academic frameworks for bachelor’s and master’s degrees and certificate studies.
Graduates of the programs are integrated as educators and social leaders within civil society and public service. Among the graduates are leading teachers, principals, directors of informal education, social entrepreneurs, and others.
Our academic training programs are aimed at people in the field of social education and are based on educational and social innovation and the promotion of a democratic culture. Workshops and training seminars are conducted in the spirit of the Institute’s vision for organizations undergoing short-term processes: to lead, map, and expose organizational change within various educational, social, and communal frameworks.
To train change agents in the field of social education in democratic awareness and to equip them with the tools to implement a democratic way of life.
• The academic tracks and the training processes are characterized by innovation, activism, and professionalism.
• The academic tracks attract a unique population of young people who want to influence Israeli society through civil and educational action. Half of the participants are men – a very unusual statistic in Israeli teaching training institutions.
• Our training processes have been selected as experimental programs by the Ministry of Education and are currently recognized as one of their specialized programs.
Various academic tracks are being implemented at Tel Aviv University, Kibbutzim College of Education in Tel Aviv, Kaye Academic College of Education in Beersheba and Oranim Academic College of Education at KiryatTivo’n. We have partnerships with additional academic bodies in Israel, such as The David Yellin Academic College of Education and Oranim Academic College of Education, and abroad, such as Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago
Examples of Academic Programs in Israel
The Incubator for Educational Initiatives
The Incubator for Educational Initiatives program trains participants to lead social change processes in the spirit of the democratic culture. The program is taught as part of a joint bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate between the Democratic Institute and the Kibbutzim College of Education. Having been developed as a trial program in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, it has operated successfully for the past 13 years. The program attracts a unique group of students (average age of 27) with prior educational experience, half of whom are men.The incubator’s unique training process enables the students to be active social and educational entrepreneurs while still within the framework of their training.
Among the incubator’s 500 or more graduates, you can find influential teachers and principals in the field of education and activists and entrepreneurs in the realm of civil society.
Paths is a training track for educators in social and environmental education which takes place in Kaye Academic College of Education. It uses experiential and experimental learning tools with study frequently taking place outside of the classroom. In this track veteran educators, using this opportunity to complete their degree studies, Paths Trail trains teachers to be innovative educators.
The program sees the global environmental crisis not as a crisis of nature but of society; its source is not the relationship between people and nature but between people themselves. There is, therefore, a need to find solutions to the crisis from an educational perspective.
Students graduate from the program with the following certificates:
• Teaching certificate to teach geography in high schools
• Informal education certificate with a specialization in work with youth in the community or youth at risk.
• Certificate from the Institute for Democratic Education
• Counselor certificate from Keren Karev, the Karev Program for Educational Involvement
Paths were developed as an experimental program of the Ministry of Education and are recognized as one of the flagship programs of teacher training in the south of Israel. It attracts young people from different sectors of society and residents of southern Israel, Jews and Arabs alike. They learn side by side through dialogue and cooperation.
The Academic Khan
The Negev offers many social and environmental challenges, and there are many people working to promote the region through various organizations. However, many of these activists come with insufficient training and do not work within a wide enough context. The Academic Khan looks to solve this problem by providing the tools for more effective processes which create joint responsibility for the environment and encourage significant learning, on the one hand, and by expanding the context for activity throughout the Negev, on the other.
The Academic Khan is a collaboration between the Democratic Institute and Kaye Academic College of Education in Beersheba. It provides academic training with course credits in a variety of subjects. The program comprises at least 60 hours and includes study outside the classroom (tours, visits, meetings), seminars, and lectures—various forms of learning both theory and practice. Participants are required to submit a final project. As a short-term program, the program is suitable also for people who work full time.
The Academic Khan aims to train and develop innovative educational subjects including democratic education, environmental education, democratic leadership, twenty-first-century skills, social and environmental initiatives, and more.
Examples of the Academic Khan’s courses:
The Negev as a Puzzle of Changing Needs – the course is held at the initiative of Israel Chemicals Ltd. (ICL) in the Negev and is offered to tour guides employed by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. The course presents the different needs that come together in this region of Israel: industry, settlement and Zionism, tourism, army, and nature reserves. Its goal is to enhance understanding of the complexity of the region’s different needs.
The Educational Guide for Nature Therapy – students, guides, and other interested parties must pass an interview to be accepted to this course. Using both theory and practice, it focuses on the subject of nature therapy, outdoor training (ODT), and the development of reflexive thinking for youth at risk and youth in the community. At the end of the course, each participant builds a therapeutic map of the group.
Environmental Education for Counselors of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority – the course is designed for soldier-teachers and guides who have graduated field schools and are interested in deepening their understanding and their skills in the subject of environmental education, the development of environmental identity, and the creation of an open space in the course of a trip or educational tour. The course takes place over one intensive week.
Community Leaders Course for Youth Coordinators in the Management of Society and Youth – the course is designed for groups of youth coordinators from the Bedouin sector as part of their training in the management of society and the youth. The course deals with subjects such as: Who is a significant leader? What is authentic leadership? How can you lead change in the community? What is initiative and enlisting partners in the community? At the end of the course, the youth coordinators each open a social and environmental initiative in their community.