Relational Engagement: Experimenting with New Approaches in Experiential Jewish Education
By Shuki Taylor
M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education announces the M² Circles initiative
and launches first Circle focused on relational engagement
What if more education happened through deeply personal relationships between educators and learners?
What if learners and educators were equally transformed by the joint exploration of ideas and values?
What if learners and educators together created a shared space for meaning making?
And what if these relationships opened doors for new ways of forming communities and social networks and exploring Jewish identity?
What would this all take?
Standing on the shoulders of the rich and impactful work done by educators and institutions in the space of relationship-based engagement, M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education is thrilled to announce an all new cohort program focused on the theory and practice of relational engagement.
Launching in July 2018, this program marks the start of the M² Circles initiative, a series of five specialty programs, each focused on a different area of experiential Jewish education, which will be rolled out over the next three years. Each of the five Circles is designed around extensive research conducted by M² and groups of interdisciplinary experts in an effort to introduce educators to new approaches and methods that will deepen and sharpen their practice.
The first Circle, the M² Relational Engagement Circle, is a 12-month cohort-based training program that explores the role and impact of relationships between educators and learners in the evolvement of Jewish identity, self-conception and human flourishing. Designed for senior Jewish educators currently practicing relational work, the program offers participants the opportunity to experiment with a variety of disciplines, approaches and methodologies, which include the following:
- Workshops on the formation and progression of relationships through the prisms of improvisation and relational psychology
- Examination of the impact of ideas, texts and values on relationships based on the pedagogy and philosophy of havruta
- Intensive work around character development in the educators’ quest for authenticity and integrity
- Individualized mentoring to facilitate the synthesis of the elements of the program with participants’ personal strengths, visions, values and professional realities
The M² Relational Engagement Circle features a world-class faculty, including Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfield, Dr. Erica Brown, Dr. Elie Holzer, Rae Janvey, Dr. Arna Poupko Fisher, Dr. Assael Romanelli, Rabbi Dr. Daniel Smokler, Dr. Bernie Steinberg, Shuki Taylor, Dr. Tamara Mann Tweel and many more.
In addition, ongoing action-based research will be integrated into the program to enable cohort participants to test and evaluate the application of their learnings. We hope that this action-based research, conducted by the participants themselves, will yield new approaches in and findings about relational engagement that will be published in a new journal.
The M² Relational Engagement Circle is designed for educators, from all denominations and backgrounds, deeply engaged in the theory and practice of relational learning and engagement and with at least 10 years of relevant field experience. Participation is by invitation only.
To learn more, recommend excellent educators, or form new relationships with us, reach out to Michelle Lackie, Senior Director of Community Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about M² Relational Engagement Circle at www.m2circles.org.
Shuki Taylor is the CEO of M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education.
The M² Circles initiative is generously supported by the Jim Joseph Foundation.
Stay tuned to learn about our next two Circles – The Design of Immersive Experiences, on the fundamentals of UX design, launching in fall 2018, and The Cultures of Experiential Jewish Education, focused on positive psychology and education, launching in spring 2019.