Call for Volunteers
Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity?
Make a difference in the educational system as an English support instructor
in your neighborhood or near your work place
Integrating support instructors in the educational system
Teaching & Learning Models based on community involvement have been developed as part of the Teach Together program. Our purpose is to encourage school children to increase their interest and knowledge and become successful in their studies. The program is unique in introducing and supporting an innovative layer of instruction as part of an existing core curriculum teaching staff and most of all having a tremendous potential influence.
The program is managed by Shiur Acher (A Different Lesson), a non-profit organization, specializing in recruiting, training and providing professional guidance to those dedicated to volunteering in the educational system.
Support instructors are individuals of high personal standards, sharing their know-how and experience in order to reinforce the educational system and contribute their added value. This program has been operating successfully since 2013, with mathematics and science studies, supported by the Embassy of the United States of America. Based on the acquired knowledge and experience, and as per the Ministry of Education request, the program is expanding its scope to include English studies.
When it comes to English language education, the educational system is forced to deal with heterogeneous classrooms, learning gaps that emerge in elementary school, reading and writing difficulties and lack of English as a spoken language. A significant difficulty is that school children do not understand the relevance of learning English to enrich their daily lives and future.
Engaging support instructors in English language education aims at reducing learning gaps and at the same time strengthening practice of the spoken language in order to improve and expand school children's vocabulary. The instructional support team goals are to maximize individual student success and motivation in learning English.
Support instructors make it possible for the future generation to meet with individuals in professional positions that require good English skills. Moreover, the young school children are exposed to the life stories of these support instructors, demonstrating the importance of mastering the English language.
Well now is your chance to make a change and do something meaningful!
Teach Together trains and accompanies volunteer professionals in an orderly fashion, integrating them with the school educational staff. All volunteers receive professional and pedagogical guidance throughout the volunteering period.
Teach Together has been operating successfully since 2013 with math and science studies. 500 volunteer support instructors in about 150 schools across the country have been involved in the program, in close coordination with the Ministry of Education, local municipalities and various educational networks. Meaningful and inspiring partnerships and collaborations take place among support instructors and teachers of grades 9th -11th. For the coming school year we are expanding the program's scope to include English studies for grades 6th-9th.
So, what is it that we ask from the support instructor in our Teach Together program?
ð Relevant educational, professional or any other experience that can contribute to English learning at school.
ð Two weekly hours throughout the entire school year. (20-25 hours in practice).
ð Participating in the training program (8 sessions - a total of 32 hours in the evenings or on Fridays).
ð Creating a cooperation plan with the teacher, defining success goals and modes of operation.
And from here onwards all the rest is on us - the school, the suitable teacher, the pedagogic and logistic support.
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What makes us unique and so different from other educational volunteering programs?
1. Success goals for advancing English learning
- Providing a strong base of knowledge for the acquisition of the English language, improving reading, writing and speech skills.
- Strengthening student's English conversational skills and encouraging their sense of success.
- Improving student's orientation and motivation for the English language by arousing their curiosity, emphasizing the language relevance to life domains and increasing the student's self-efficacy.
- Improving the quality of teaching and learning English while adding effective practiceand personal approach to each student.
2. Innovative model for instructional support
- Working together in the classroom, with the teacher, during school hours and under the guidance of the pedagogical team.
- Planning and applying cooperation models, taking into consideration the needs of all parties involved - the teacher, the students and the volunteer.
- Clear coordination of expectations and creating a cooperation plan between teachers and volunteers regarding mutual goals and modes of operation.
- Improving the suitable response to each student in individual and collective learning.
- Giving the future generation a chance to meet with individuals in positions that require a high level of English.
3. Significant involvement in school – a program that makes a difference
- Working with 6th-9th grades.
- Consistent and committed volunteering designed to establish mutual trust between the students, the educational team and the volunteers.
- Integrating several volunteers at each school for the purpose of developing a positive influence on the discipline and a peer-learning forum.
- Significant involvement of the school's principal and/or an educational team member coordinating the activity.
- Teachers'-volunteers' mutual learning sessions.
- Potential of ongoing connection between the work places and the schools in other models of involvement to promote the program's goals.
4. Volunteer Training and support
- Pedagogical and disciplinary training, regular enrichment sessions.
- Getting familiar with the curriculum, adolescence characteristics, the educational system structure and unique challenges in the different disciplines.
- Focusing on the areas of the volunteer's expertise, to provide added value.
- Ongoing contact and periodical sessions with a professional staff assisting with logistic and pedagogical issues.
- Volunteers' and school peer-learning.
Teach Together – Questions and Answers
What shall I actually be doing as a support instructor?
The support instructor is not a substitute to the teacher! The program does not provide the training and authorization required for the formal teaching profession. The purpose of the program is to reinforce teachers in the educational system, not to replace them. This new role enables a significant cooperation with the pedagogical team while taking into account the volunteer's limitations on the one hand and his added value on the other hand. The volunteer works side-by-side with the teacher, assisting in any way that meets the school's needs, pedagogical vision and the volunteers' preferences. The main question is "what does it look like in the classroom?" The answer is that for each teacher-volunteer pair, the situation is different. Each pair creates a cooperation plan which includes objectives and models of work methods and task division.
The support instructor's main contribution is bringing his own professional experience, reducing the overall burden on teachers, increasing effective personal and team practice, engaging research work, giving individual attention to each and every student, enriching teaching and learning materials and engaging online teaching.
Who is suitable for the program and for whom is the program suitable? Is this an individual volunteering or on behalf of one's workplace?
The program can apply to anyone in the private, public, business and social sectors, who is capable of listening and giving young people full attention, and who is a native English or high level English speaker with teaching skills.
Support instructors should believe in their significant effect on the English language study, acknowledge teacher's leading role and be willing to assist, and should be entitled to a certificate of non-criminal record.
Volunteer hours are mostly in the morning/noon time. Volunteers are expected to commit to a year-long volunteer work. Volunteers can approach us independently. Thus, employees must receive their employers' confirmation. We are happy to say that many organizations are encouraging their employees to volunteer. We shall be more than happy to provide any help in order to obtain these approvals.
What is required from a support instructor?
- Support instruction in the school system will be done in accordance with the volunteer himself, the teacher and the support team.
- Support instructors, together with the teacher, will develop a plan consisting of objectives and models for volunteer-teacher cooperation.
- Support instructors are expected to commit to a year-long volunteer work according to the weekly hours agreed upon.
- Support instructors are expected to take part in educational procedures such as testing, measurement and assessment.
- Support instructors are expected to agree not to disclose any confidential information concerning the school children, except for reports obliged by law
At which schools can I volunteer?
The program's activities take place in a wide range of schools in all sectors across the country. The schools' choice is based on professional criteria according to the volunteer's preferences as to the geographical location, available days and timetable.
What is included in the training program?
The training program includes three parts:
- Training course - eight sessions (in the afternoons or Friday mornings) starting Sept. before first entering the class and throughout the school year, including introduction to the educational system, pedagogy, teaching and learning, dialogue with students, meeting the teacher, modern learning environments and teaching challenges in the discipline.
- Individual sessions with the educational team and/or the program team.
- Regular pedagogical and logistical supporting array available for the benefit of the support instructors.
The training program does not involve any cost but is subject to the volunteer's commitment for at least one whole year.
Where do we begin? What is the process?
- Contact us for mutual acquaintance. Includes submitting an application form and curriculum vitae.
- Attending group introductory meeting and a personal interview.
- Participating in the support instructors training course.
- Assigning to one of the schools participating in the program.
- Professional and pedagogical support throughout the year.
Program's Background and Effect
A Different Lesson NPO, operating Teach Together program, aims at promoting public involvement in the Israeli educational system; the program boasts 10 years of experience in engaging and supporting thousands of volunteers from the public and private sectors.
The Embassy of the United States of America together with A Different Lesson aim at promoting a significant multi-year plan to improve the quality of teaching and learning by integrating support instructors as part of the curriculum. The Ministry of Education joined as an important partner, together with the companies Teva and Intel. Following the program's success in mathematics and science, we are expanding the program's scope to include English studies.
Throughout its existence, internal and independent evaluations revealed the following benefits:
- More than 20% improvement with regards to lowering dropout rates, increasing choice of 5 point level matriculation study or improved achievements!
- Following the program, an increase was noted in student’s self-efficacy in math and science and in their motivation. Two-thirds reported that the program helped them improve their achievements.
- Teachers overall recommendation included continuing with the program. An overwhelming majority were interested in maintaining their involvement in the program with a 4.6 out of 5 rating.
- Aside from quantitative data, teachers indicated other aspects in which volunteers influenced the teaching and learning environment: individual help for students, increased opportunities to practice, work in groups, exposed students to alternative ways of thinking; integrated relevant content from the industry in the classroom, giving students a wider context of the subject; increased motivation due to the presence of the volunteer and his personal attention; increased student achievement; increase in self-efficacy; moral support - the volunteer, as an outsider to the educational system, is a sympathetic ear for some of the students, a non-judging person with whom the students can share their difficulties and sometimes bridges gaps between the system and the student.
- Support instructors assistance to the teachers as testified by teachers:
- Being able to provide personal attention to students and adding effective practice time.
- By having the volunteers participate in the educational discourse, relating to both students and teachers. In some cases teachers had a new perspective of students following support instructor’s insights, who is in fact someone they can consult about the way of teaching and students difficulties.
- Connecting math to everyday real problems and integrating illustrating technologies.
- The commitment of the teachers and volunteers to cooperate has been an incredible positive influence on both students and teachers, exceeding expectations.
During the school year of 2015 the program was used as a platform for learning and evaluation by the Ministry of Education regarding optimal models for integrating support instructors and cooperation required between them and the teachers. As part of the research, lessons and teachers-volunteers meetings were observed; detailed interviews were held with principals, teachers and volunteers, as well as questionnaires. Research results can be found here.
Teachers and volunteers testimonials from the English lessons pilot trial held at the end of 2016 school year:
“The volunteer assists by giving personal attention to students with difficulties, supporting and helping them. In my opinion it is of great importance, especially when classes are so big making it difficult to give attention to everyone during the lesson.” [Teacher]
“I try to show the students that it’s possible, that they have the ability to improve their English and provide them with the confidence that if they would only follow the teacher they will realize how much they understand” [Volunteer]
“When the volunteer comes, together we manage to help the students find new ways to learn. The model of group work challenges them somehow to work better; it’s very helpful that she is there” [Teacher]