The David Yellin Academic College of Education
|Interviews: Dania Ansenberg / Michal Goshczini|
Description of Project
The David Yellin Academic College of Education was founded in Jerusalem in 1913 as a Jewish teachers’ seminary, as a pioneering effort to offer courses in Hebrew that could train teachers to teach in Hebrew. Since then the college has trained thousands of teachers in Israel.
The college has about 4,500 students who make up a microcosm of Israeli society. Jews, Arab Muslims, Christians, and new immigrants all meet at the College to develop the next generation of Israeli educators. With an Arabic language curriculum as well, the college has about 85 staff people and 460 teachers, also from diverse backgrounds.
The college offers B.Ed. studies, teaching certification, three M.Ed. programs, diploma courses, and a pre-academic program, as well as unique programs reflecting the student population: training for Ethiopian professionals to help them guide Ethiopian immigrants to integrate into Israeli society; the Challenge Center, which offers support services to students with learning and physical challenges; the Malmach Track for teachers of children with severe disabilities, and a multicultural dialogue for students of Jewish-Israeli, Palestinian and other international backgrounds to promote communication between Jews and Palestinians in Israel.
These unique programs add new dimensions to training Israel’s educators, who have such a significant role in shaping Israel’s future generations.
Education of Israeli youth is a priority of the Bnai Zion Foundation. A multi-cultural institution and true microcosm of Israeli society, the David Yellin Academic College of Education brings together secular and religious Jews, Muslim and Christian Arabs and new immigrants to develop the next generation of Israel’s educators. Over two thousand new students are accepted annually.
The four main tracks of programs students can select are early childhood education (kindergarten through second grade), elementary, junior high school and special education, focusing on learning disabilities (from severe to moderate).
The College has over four thousand enrolled students, who study in a tolerant environment of mixed cultures with high academic standards and personalized guidance.
The College has pioneered essential education programs such as The Rachel Shazar Institute, which is a national center for the training of the teachers of the severely mentally handicapped, and it offers a teachers’ education program in special education to work with children with learning challenges.
Special projects help students and teachers reach out to new immigrants throughout the country, and the College has the very first animal-assisted training center in Israel for preparing therapists to utilize animals in therapy. This two-year postgraduate program trains students to work with animals in the pet-assisted teaching of the mentally and physically handicapped, as well as with the elderly. Research has shown that bonding with animals provides beneficial experiences related to life’s most basic elements.
THE IMPACT OF BNAI ZION
The David Yellin Academic College of Education offers an exceptionally broad range of programs within the educational sphere. Located just seven miles from Ma’aleh Adumim,
the College has an ongoing relationship with that community (another Bnai Zion Foundation project). Student teachers and graduates teach in the school system of Ma’aleh Adumim, and some of its residents are students at the College.
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
The college is nearly a century old. Enlarging and renovating the classrooms throughout to optimally accommodate the current population is a priority, as well as renovating the archive containing historical documents. Being in the forefront of education to train animal therapists, the Collegewould like to expand its animal therapy department. Obtaining special software for the library to enhance research opportunities for educators is another goal, as well as budgeting for interdisciplinary seminars with other Israeli institutions of higher education. All of these programs and more are in need of funds to transform these dreams into realities.