Applied Middot Program
Applied Middot ProgramA research-proven method designed to formally teach Jewish Values in a way that can be assessed and measured
Tuition CrisisWhile we are so focused on the affordability of Jewish Day School, I believe that that the question we should be asking is: Why do we care so much to have our kids in Jewish Day School? What are we working so hard to pay for?KnowledgeSocialJewish Values
TORAHKnowledgeSocialValuesYDS: The Jewish ExperienceHow can we measure a "Jewish Experience"? How can we decide which schools are "good" at providing this experience for our children?Judge on final product of studentsJudge based on how child behaves in that school
Problem: We don't even know! We have not yet found a successful and efficient way of measuring the impact of our promoting of Jewish values.To understand why, we must define what Jewish Values are, what it is we are trying to define.Jewish Value are ethics that are derived from the Torah. That is why Pirkei Avot starts with "Moshe received the Torah from Har Sinai"- we must understand values through the lens of the Torah (Abraham J. Twerski; Rabbi Yitzchak Hakohen Kook)
We must attempt to design a curriculum that:Teaches Middot through the perspective of Torah and using Torah sources as a guide to MiddotCan assess students growth in terms of knowledge and behavior.Research-Based
Goals of Applied Middot ProgramWhat curriculum can we design to formally teach Jewish Values through the Torah LensHow can we assess if that curriculum is working
Kennedy, T Et Al. Exploring the gap between knowledge and behavior
Researchers wanted to know if medical education (exclusively knowledge-based) will lead to proper medicinal action and behavior among family medicine residents in Toronto University.The method used to measure this knowledge-behavior gap was to first teach the knowledge, then at a later time, participants were observed as they treated patients. Researchers analyzed the session and recorded the times when the resident acted in a way that went against the knowledge they were taught. They then identified 8 different factors that lead to this gap.Lesson: Locate times when student acts out of the knowledge they were taught, sit down with the student to hear the details of the incident, identify the factors that lead to the student acting in such a way. Keep record of them over time.
Kennedy, T Et Al. Exploring the gap between knowledge and behavior: a qualitative study of clinician action following an educational intervention. Acad Med.2004 May;79(5):386-93.
8Anderson, M. D. The Effect of Knowledge on Behavior when Individuals Overestimate RiskWanted to see if sex education will lead to better decisions and sexual behavior. multiple choice quiz measured knowledge and weighing risks followed by statistics on actual outcomesStudies revealed that although sexual activity increased with sexual education, since the curriculum was designed to promote safe sex, participants were a lot safer and wiser when having sexual activity.Lesson: The curriculum needs to be designed to promote specific actions (When someone you don't know is upset, ask if there is anything you can do) and not just broad (Be a kind person). Also shows the importance of "hypothetical dilemma" questions to teach the student what to do if
Anderson, M. D. The Effect of Knowledge on Behavior when Individuals Overestimate Risk. Washington University. Research still in progress.9Ajzen & Fishbein (1977)Argue that attitudes can predict behavior, provided that both are assessed at the same level of generality. There needs to be a high degree ofcompatibility(or correspondence)between themArgue that much of the earlier research suffered from either trying to predict specific behaviors from general attitudes, or vice versa, and this accounts for the generally low correlations. Attitudes can predict behavior if you ask the right questions (Davidson & Jaccard, 1979)
Azjen & Fishbein. The theory of planned behavior, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 50, Issue 2, December 1991, Pages 179-211, ISSN 0749-5978, 10.1016/0749-5978(91)90020-T.Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/074959789190020T
10Azjen & Fishbein ContinuedAccording to Ajzen and Fishbein, every single instance of behavior involves four specific elements: a specific actionperformed with respect to a given targetin a given contextat a given point in time.According to theprinciple of compatibility,measures of attitude and behavior are compatible to the extent that the target, action, context and time element are assessed at identical levels of generality or specificity (Ajzen, 1988).Ajzen (1996): '...to the extent that the beliefs salient at the time ofattitude assessment are also salient when plans are formulated or executed, strong attitudebehavior correlations are expected'.Lesson: We must design the curriculum to teach Jewish values within the framework of the Principle of Compatibility. We need to teach specific actions, with a specific target, in a context and point in time.
Retrieved from 11Newton, L.H Fairfield UniversityMission: To create a "closed loop" in ethics education: From the teaching we are doing now, are students actually taking away any skills or dispositions for ethical deliberation?Idea: Put together an "assessment project", a system to find out how effectively we are inculcating the habits of systematic and compassionate thinking about matters of ethics in students.
Newton, L. H. Outcomes Assessment of an Ethics Program: Purposes and Challenges. Fairfield UniversityRetrieved from: http://www.uvu.edu/ethics/seac/Outcomes%20Assessment%20of%20an%20Ethics%20Program-Purposes%20and%20Challenges.pdf
12Newtons MethodQuestions- What we are looking to solveBaseline Knowledge- Starting pointAssessment MethodCurriculumRe-Assessment
QUESTIONSOutcomes Question: What is it that learners will be able to do (or do better) at the end of the course?Assessment Question: How can we tell if students have achieved this outcome?Student's Question: Can there be definitive "Student Learning Goals", so that the student will know, at the end of the day, whether or not they have been accomplished?
Baseline KnowledgeAwareness: Recognition of ethical dilemmas in your lifeReasoning/Reflective Skills: Analyzing components of the dilemma
ASSESSMENT METHODJames Rest's Defining Issues Test (DIT)series of cases on which students are to answer standardized questions o what should be done and what considerations weigh most strongly in the decision. Taken as baseline, and then again after program.
Problems: Cases were outdated and questions were broad and undefined.
Newton- DISORDER MethodMoral Dilemmas presented, decision-maker identified, enough factual information to address the problem but nothing more,Questions: Very brief answers (1-2 sentences each)Way to assess: DISORDERDefine DilemmaInquire for InformationSort out StakeholdersOptions and Outcomes (articulate)Rights and RulesDetermination (Make a decision)Evaluate EffectsReview and Reconsider
CURRICULUMNewton does not provide any information on the curriculum they used in this study.My own idea based on the study:Basic Components:Relevant Ethical DilemmasAnalysis and DiscussionTorah sources to apply to this problemPractical tips to behave appropriately in real-life scenarios
RE-ASSESSMENTRe-AssessmentWould incorporate the same type of stories, same questions.De-brief afterward on how curriculum changed their perspective/answers. My Opinion:Need Ongoing Re-Assessment.Keep Records of students behavior in school and use those incidents as part of the re-assessment.Other IdeasTo give these tests to students who are not in the "Middot Program" to serve as a control group.This assessment method only reveals if the program works, but there are a variety of curricula methods you can utilize- stories, Mussar, Gedolim, Projects, etc. How can we tell which one works best? We can choose 2 months for each and see results? We can just choose one per year and see results?
ReservationsWill need at least 2 years of data to be able to recognize patterns. As it stands now as a program, you can't operationally define success. However, you can compare patterns within a substantial sample size to recognize where the program is working, and to see if you would like to adapt or tweak aspects of the program. Reservations: This does not attempt to assess long term behavior improvement. The tests are mostly essay-based, which would require trained educators to grade them according to a rubric of maturity, objectivity, prudence, proper application of Torah sources, etc.
Applied Middot Program DetailsCourse Objectives:Students show a developing sensitivity to identifying ethical issuesStudents have increased knowledge relevant to ethical issues Students display improved ethical judgment, and a strengthened commitment to practicing and promoting ethical behavior in their own lives.
AMP MethodPresent Realistic and Relevant Ethical DilemmasClass DiscussionMake a DecisionPresent Torah perspective on the issueEvaluate decisionAssignments / AssessmentsHomeworkExamsEssaysOne-Minute PaperGroup Projects