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Mediterranean Education: An Israeli School Visit

Dave Wilson

A picturesque, idyllic beach setting on a bright Mediterranean inlet might seem more like a resort setting to most visitors that venture to Mikhmoret, a short drive north of Tel Aviv, but at the Mevo’ot Yam youth village, 1300 at-risk Israeli kids (including 400 that live on the premises with their instructors) get the education of a lifetime.

The aquatic curriculum at Mevo’ot Yam blends traditional classroom staples like math, science, and grammar with unique, hands-on, seagoing subjects like marine biology.

We took a tour of Mevo’ot Yam Friday, where we were presented with student projects that included the rehabilitation of injured sea turtles, the study of marine plants, as well as the preservation of clownfish (think “Finding Nemo”).

The institution also employs a teaching strategy called a “creative dialogue,” in which students choose an element of the set curriculum and work in a group to settle on a conclusion, which is then presented to their parents and the school’s alumni (who are still very involved). A recent example of this creative dialogue examined the World War II fighting methods of the American and Japanese forces, and how each distinct culture affected the battle strategies employed by each side.

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Sal, a 17-year-old Tel Aviv resident enrolled at Mevo’ot Yam, sees part of his mission at the school as, “Promoting awareness of marine ecology.”

Beyond the science-based focus, student Sal speaks highly of the other benefits the unique school affords. “I love the place. They give me all I need: Time to learn, time to play with my friends,” Sal noted.

Moshe Dolev, the school’s principal/CEO, is in his 24th year at the youth village. “We believe in (the students), that they can succeed, and that they can do whatever they want. It’s a win-win situation.”

Could you implement the hands-on methodology in place at the Mevo’ot Yam Youth Village in your school? Let us know in the comments section below.

We’ll be posting updates from Israel as the next two weeks progress, so keep coming back to TeachHUB.com. Special thanks to the gracious folks at Vibe Israel for setting up our tour based around Israeli educational developments!