Orot Israel College's Special Education Track – "Academy Class" Program


special education

The "Academy Class" program at the Academic Colleges of Education has been operating for seven years under the guidance of the Ministry of Education for special education students in their third year, as part of their practical work.

The uniqueness of the "Academy Class" program is that Orot's students are a "second teacher" in the classrooms and accompany the students as an integral part of the class in addition to the teacher who prepares for the entire school year. The rationale of the program is to facilitate the entry of Orot's student-teachers into the classrooms after they graduate.

This the third year that the "Academy Class" program is taking place in special education classrooms at the Yakir School in Yakir, with the amazing encouragement and support of the school principal, Ms. Dalia Rubin, and under the direction and guidance of the energetic pedagogical instructor, Ms. Aliza Lipsker.

Dr. Jacob Kurzweil, Research and Development Coordinator - Teaching Experience Division at the Ministry of Education, visited the Yakir Elementary School in June 2021 and observed collaborations in the practical field of experience, with an emphasis on learning communities in the "Academy Class" program.

Ms. Dalia Rubin, principal of the school, strongly believes in such collaborations, and was very happy to host the visit.

The visit was attended by: Dr. Jacob Kurzweil, Research and Development Coordinator - Teaching Experience Division at the Ministry of Education; Ms. Dalia Rubin, Yakir School principal; Dr. Avia Gutman - Head of Special Education Track at Orot Israel College; Ms. Racheli Bartov, Head of Pedagogical Instruction at Orot Israel College; Ms. Aliza Lipsker - Pedagogical Instructor at Orot Israel College; training teachers in the school, and the ten students doing their practical work in the "Academy class" program from Orot Israel College's Elkana campus.

The participating students from Orot Israel College talked about their work in the classroom: Shaked, noted that the two days of classroom work required a lot of preparation, and if she was not in the "Academy Class" program, she would not think of being an educator, now she sees the beauty and challenge of education. Another student, Hadas, happily said "Academy Class" is a part of my life, it was hard, but worth it, I feel I can easily be a teacher next year."

Shira noted that at the beginning of the year she would sit for many hours preparing the lessons, but later it was easier, and feels that this year she has really grown in her work in teaching. Another student noted that she returned home happy because she felt she had contributed to the students, and engaged in many programs to promote them

All the students noted the large investment and the need for differential teaching and adapting the study materials to each student, and although they did not have time to work for a living, it was worth growing as a teacher in the "Academy Class" program.

All the visitors went on a tour of the school. Principal Dalia showed us the therapeutic farm which has small ponies, kennels, rabbits, chickens and more. We watched a special education animal therapy class with dogs, and witnessed the good interaction and affection between the students and their personal dogs.

At the end of the day, we returned to the library to summarize the meeting. Dr. Kurzweil was most impressed by the work of the students from Orot, noting the ease and independence of the students, who felt at school almost like full-time teachers.

This program, initiated by the Ministry of Education, enables them to be better teachers, and facilitates the new teacher's adaptation to the school's teaching routine.

I am pleased to note that two students who did their practical work this past year, were selected by the school principal to continue teaching in the next school year as internship teachers.

We thank the school management and the teaching staff for opening their hearts and the Yakir School for this professional tour.

Special thanks to the Ms. Aliza Lipsker, Orot Israel College's Pedagogical Instructor and to all the wonderful students under her guidance

Congratulations to all of them on their success as teachers in Israel!