The Kohelet Foundation announced the inaugural year of its Kohelet Prizes. Unrestricted prizes of $36,000 each will be awarded to six educators — or teams of educators — who currently work in Jewish day schools and whose work skillfully demonstrates a progressive approach to education in one of the following six categories:
- Interdisciplinary Integration
- Real-World Learning
- Learning Environment
- Differentiated Instruction
- Development of Critical and/or Creative Thinking
- Risk-Taking and Failure
“We know there are incredible, creative and highly effective teachers doing this work in the field right now. We want to inspire them to share what they know about developing the minds and hearts of their students,” said Holly Cohen, Kohelet Foundation’s executive director.
“The first five categories are critical to excellent education. By honing in on these, we hope to surface work that demonstrates the elements that matter most in the classroom,” said Rabbi Dr. Gil Perl, the Kohelet Foundation’s chief academic officer. In explaining the sixth category, Perl noted, “In schools, failures are too often seen as an endpoint,not as a crucial step toward success. To foster a growth mindset in students, we have to begin by fostering it in our teachers.”
Cohen added, “We’re shifting the paradigm from ‘failure is bad’ to responsible risk-taking and failure breed success. That’s a game changer for the field of Jewish education.”
To submit an entry, educators will share their work by uploading it directly to the Kohelet Prize website any time from September 29, 2016, until 11:59 p.m. on November 29, 2016. A panel of judges in the fields of education, psychology and neuroscience will select the winning entries.
To promote an open source culture within the field, the Kohelet Foundation plans to create a searchable database of all entries. The database will be accessible via the Kohelet Prize website after the close of submissions.
The Kohelet Prizes will be awarded in early 2017.