Neuroscience and Family Education

This webinar, presented by Joel Grishaver, explored the latest "brain" research and its implication for family education. We were informed about how our new understandings of the mind effect the way we should be "selling" family education to get greater participation. We also learned about how our latest understanding of learning will impact the kind of programming we provide to families.


The slides for the presentation can be found here.

The recording will be posted once it is rendered.


Thoughts, questions, ideas that arose during the webinar.

  • If our brain determines how we compare ourselves to others, how does this shape how we teach families to see themselves as part of and also separate from the secular world?  Does it matter?
  • Learning how to listen is a skill which can be developed.  How do we teach family members to listen to each other?
  • We can learn how to learn.  How do family systems learn?  Can we teach a family how to learn AS a family?
  • When trauma exists for young children, it impacts how they learn later in life.  How do traumas impact family learning?  Are Jewish institutions a place where families recover from trauma?  Do we create those access points besides pastoral care from a single rabbi/cantor?
  • If you distill down some of the neuroscience information - we come to understand that Family Education should begin with parent education and character development.
  • When one child in an environment is yelled at, it causes stress for all other children present.  How do those in the presence of it get comforted? How can we teach parents that children need this?
  • We learned that the brain is constantly seeking novelty sensations.  How can we ensure that all Jewish education encounters have moments of novelty sensations?  (or as Amy Sales of Brandeis calls it - surprise and delight)?
  • Social interaction is a key indicator of learning.  How do we develop social moments within a family?  between families?
  • How do we help families be better families?  Have we considered this to be the focus of family education and NOT content of Jewish focus (i.e. holidays, ritual, etc).
  • If kids need to feel physically and emotionally safe to learn, how can they learn about how to live Jewishly if home isn't a safe place?  Do we know which of our kids live in homes where they don't feel it's safe?  How is their Jewish development impacted?
  • What can we learn about great museums/experiences about family education?  For example, The Please Touch Museum or Disneyland?


We look forward to the discussion on these questions and any you have been thinking about.

Replies to this Topic

Robyn, these are such great questions. And some of them cross over the topics, challenges, and questions that are being raised by the new Coalition of Jewish Family Educators in NY. Especially the one on social interactions and how it is a key indicator of learning. I imagine it also can be a key indicator of a greater sense of belonging or connection to a group. I'd love to explore this more and see if there are ways to measure the efforts and the impact or outcomes. Our group may begin to explore using collaborative inquiry to do some of this research. Perhaps others would be interested in joining in on the fun! 

Can we get these slides as a downloadable pdf so that I can print multiple slides and save paper?


Valerie, were you not able to download it from the file cabinet?

Can't wait for the audio recording to be posted so I can listen again.  I listened to the webinar and have been thinking about it ever since.  I had read the book How Children Succeed recently but Joel did an excellent job of helping me to process the information within that book.  I am eager to read some of the other ones mentioned in the webinar.   I think the implications for Jewish Educators and for Family Educators is huge.  There is a lot for us to think about and a whole new way for us to challenge ourselves to create real moments of impact for our families.  Thank you Joel for an excellent job.  You continue to be my teacher.

This is a great resource to have!! Here at JCC  Chicago in EC, we are thinking of offering a  workshop  on this at our PD opening in August!

I was so sorry that I couldn't participate in this webinar. Will you be sending a post when the audio is available? Thanks!

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