Shelach – a Hebrew acronym for nature, land and society – is a curriculum that coordinates a range of educational activities related to Israeli heritage and the Land of Israel. Participants in the young Shelach leadership program are chosen and trained to assist Shelach teachers in implementing, organizing and leading trips and school activities related to the Shelach curriculum. In addition, they fill various roles in conducting school and community activities, according to their abilities and preferences.
Young Shelach leaders undergo two types of training: a basic training course that is conducted in a summer camp framework, and continuing training that takes place during the school year. This study examined the continuing training at two levels: the District level and the school level. It also examined the support received by the Shelach teachers for training and supervising the young Shelach leaders. The information can serve as a basis for improving the continuing training process, including support and supervision of the teachers.
The information was gathered through several instruments: a self-administered questionnaire completed by the District supervisors and 169 Shelach teachers; a focus group conducted with the District supervisors; and a face-to-face interview conducted with a senior figure.
The findings show that the training programs for young Shelach leaders at the District level and at the school level are not structured. At both levels, training takes place during the planning and implementation of the various activities conducted once a year at the District level, and during the course of the year at the school level. There is a lack of continuity between the training provided at the two levels, as well as a lack of communication and coordination. In addition, different expectations about the program were found between the District and national levels. Nevertheless, all those involved agreed about the program’s primary goals and content. The study also found that in-service training for Shelach teachers must be improved in order to meet the teachers’ needs. The teachers cited the need for creating additional opportunities for exchanging information and experience with other Shelach teachers. In addition, it was found that the teachers make only partial use of the program material they receive, and that some of the material does not meet their expectations.
The findings present a number of directions regarding the continued development of the program in general, and the training of young Shelach leaders in particular:
The program for continuing training should be structured at both the District level and the school level;
Modes of support and supervision of Shelach teachers need to be provided through the creation of written material that is related not only to the program’s content, but also to its teaching methods; evaluation and supervision of the young Shelach leaders; and in-service training that will meet the teachers’ needs;
The program’s status in the schools should be changed by increasing awareness among the school staff regarding the importance of the program, and by integrating the program’s activities into the general school activities.
There should be a re-evaluation of the application process for candidates in order to open it to students who are not academically strong, for whom the program can provide an opportunity to excel;
- There should be a re-examination of budgetary issues concerning the continuing training program.