Issue 4
February 1999

Editorial Staff: 
David Lloyd
Gail Mann 
Ellen Serfaty 
Ann Shlapobersky
Renee Wahl

Can The Bagrut Keep Pace with the NC?

ETNI News is pleased to devote our fourth edition to the NC — and for those of you who don’t know what “NC” is, welcome to the club. I gave several hishtalmuyot on the NC--or New Curriculum or Standards--before I knew what the acronym stood for. A good sign…once something new gets an acronym, it is on its way to acceptance!

Or is it? 

Ofra Inbar does an excellent job of talking about the process of change, and provides all of us—administrators, teacher-trainers and teachers alike—with a good idea of the types of reactions we will experience in the field, and within ourselves, as we implement new Standards in our English classes. Good advice for teacher trainers and coordinators on how to understand the climate within which changes take place and the process that is most likely to lead to success.

Judy Steiner once again gives us a very clear historical roadmap of how we arrived at the point of changing the “face” of what we do in our English classes. Most particularly, she shares how the implementing committee studied changes in the rest of the world, and sculpted Israel’s new model based upon the successes, (and cognizant of the failures) of other countries. The essential elements in the NC relate to our expectations of our students, and the way we assess and evaluate them. This will change dramatically in Israel over the next few years, turning our students into thinkers and planners while achieving improved proficiency on many EFL levels. Judy emphasizes that the NC is likely to lead other academic subject leaders to make similar changes in Israel—we hope! 

Our leading globetrotter-surfer, David Lloyd, raises one of the most important questions for those of us using CALL in our classrooms—will the NC prove a barrier or a blessing for students and teacher cooperative work on international projects?

And special thanks to Gail Mann, Lynn Timna, Gaby Shoshani and Miriam Melamed for the pleasurable, whimsical side of implementing change. As a fellow teacher-trainer, it is impossible to imagine taking such an astounding document, and conducting TOTALLY frontal training with a group of teachers on how to implement it! Gail Mann began the journey of introducing innovative training techniques with her PowerPoint presentation, and has carried on with her colleagues to show how teachers in workshops can experience the curriculum while teaching themselves important lessons about what the NC will look like in the trenches…don’t miss this article! Surf around, sit back, and enjoy!

Thanks once again to Renee Wahl we can learn about Standards implementation in other countries, as well some very practical tips on how to implement it in our classrooms—tools, strategies, traditional and electronic folios and much more. Remember, the key is “the student will be able to do…”

Our progress continues with dialogues between teachers and inspectors, with Gail Mann featuring relevant tips on how to make grading compatible with the NC in our “Ask the Inspector” column. 

All well and good…but this brings us back to our initial question, and the “title” the ETNI News staff has chosen for this editorial…Can The Bagrut Keep Pace with the NC? Although recent changes in the Bagrut exams are a step in the right direction, the exams are still bogged down with traditional exercises that do not entirely implement the assessment principles so prominent in the NC.

Right now, we are also missing a few pieces…groups are still working to draft CALL standards, and those that apply to students with special needs, whether they are native speakers or learning disabled. You will find in Ellen Hoffenberg-Serfaty’s column a discussion about increased recognition of the needs of LD students--an analysis of new Ministry directives and advice for dispensations for learning disabled students taking Bagrut exams. Also, the importance of early screening and diagnosis, and a summary of ETNI Listers questions, concerns and advice on how to help LD students to cope. Another important facet of work with the NC—how to use technology to adapt our EFL material (and make technology accommodate student needs).

All of this work and planning could add up to Israel looking more like the Australia CATs (see Judy’s article)—“testing” through Bagrut could be transformed into students showing us through presentations and projects what they know and can do, while reserving a place for traditional testing as part of an overall evaluation system.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! The News staff has outdone itself in bringing you news in our regular columns.

  1. Want some great examples of projects, or using video technology to our best advantage? In What’s Happening Around the Country”, Jack Pillemer, Karen Eini and Adele Raemer talk about “Millenium”, “Monsters” and “Sub-titles”. And Rachel Arenstein shares how a dream has turned into a technological reality in her computer work at Ma’alot, with some great advice on handling those pesky day-to-day problems.
  2. Gail also gives some good pointers on using Hot Mail, for you and your pupils. 
  3. We’re bringing you examples of some interesting training that have taken place around the country inIn-Service courses including a report from ETAI’s winter conference. We hope that in future issues of ETNI News, the ETAI committee will provide a regular column on ETAI news.
  1. And in Reviews, meet Gail Weinstein, and learn more about how “Learner’s Lives” can be implemented in your classroom, and how this project could be used to build bridges in the Middle East.
And about us—the News. As staff, we love to do the News, partially because you are such great readers. We basked in the warmth of your praise for News #3, reading your e-mails and hearing your words at ETNI’s F2F this summer. Read what you wrote—“Letters to the Editor”.

And look at how much ETNI has grown, by checking out David’s report of the list and web-site. 

You may have noticed (LOL) that there has been a long pause between ETNI News #3 and #4. That’s because…well, to put it simply--we are over-worked! We are all over-worked, editors and readers alike. But we want you to help us with our joyful burden…go right now to “Announcements”, find your talents listed, join in…and help us get the News to you faster, with even more great content and ideas. This is your News, and we need your help!

That’s it for this time, folks. We end our editorial with a reminder: we encourage the kind of openness to change and patient leadership that ETNI Listers are known for, to make this “NC time” one of successful’s good for our computers, our students…and for us!

-ETNI News Staff