Pop in Principle
Education and Ethical Engagement
PoP’s work sits at the intersection of Jewish education and ethical engagement. Through research-based frameworks, which initially emerged from the close study of Jewish learning, PoP inducts people into a particular set of collaborative dispositions and skills. These dispositions and skills develop people’s capacities to engage in dialogue that is accountable to upholding the integrity of self, others and the subject at hand, and that holds as its most basic mission, “seeking to understand.” There is a real and urgent need to start building back our collective capacities of ethical engagement. In today’s world where many seek meaningful relationships, connections and conversations, these relational competencies are crucial to helping us build and sustain flourishing communities of Jewish life and learning.
A New Approach to Jewish Learning
In PoP’s framing, Jewish wisdom is not just what you learn or talk about but it is also how you learn and how you talk. We have built a powerful educational model based on relationship-building. Our approach to learning focuses on the idea that the process of learning resides in relationships – with our learning partners, ourselves, and the outcomes.
PoP’s Core Framework: Six Communication Practices for a Collaborative Learning Culture
An organizational culture marked by ethics and excellence does not arise magically; it is built through patterns of daily communication. PoP’s core framework is anchored in the twinned practices of listening/articulating, wondering/focusing, and challenging/supporting. When honed and held in balance by all members of a community, from the boardroom to the playground, this core framework can fundamentally shape the quality of relationships and learning.
Pop in Practice
PoP works on skills and dispositions.
All too often Jewish education separates affective from skill-based and content-rich aims. PoP posits that affect and skills should be inextricably tied and so we guide educators and learners to build these dispositions and skills systematically, holistically and explicitly.
PoP focuses on learners’ engagement with one another AND learners’ engagement with subject matter, leveraging the powerful connections between the two.
Many programs and educational research efforts focus either on learners’ engagement with subject matter OR learners’ engagement with one another (such as collaborative learning). Building on the worthy work of such efforts and powered by the ideals of Jewish education, PoP works on both of these relational dimensions to create both learning and experiential outcomes that equal more than the sum of its parts.
PoP helps educators guide learners to dwell in the interpretive “sweet spot” of learning — the place where meaningful and meaning-making engagement lives between learners and content.
How many times as educators do we feel that we are onto something special with learners but somehow we know that it is not quite right or does not quite get to where we need it to be to meet our content and experiential goals? Often the reason for this is because the “instructional task” — or what learners are actually doing — is tangential to the core of the learning, the interpretive “sweet spot.” PoP instructs educators and student alike to identify the sweet spot of learning, to design programming, and to support learners to spend their time and energy where it counts.
PoP shifts the responsibilities — and therefore the possibilities — of learning from the educator to the learner.
If we desire that learners “be engaged” with Jewish life and learning, then it is the learners — not only their teachers — that must do the engaging. PoP effectively supports educators to shift the intellectual, ethical, and spiritual practices of engagement from the educator to their learners and helps educators realize their own potential to expand and deepen their role as a teacher of both students and content.
PoP is a pedagogy, not a curriculum.
While curriculum is foundational to educational excellence, it is also not adequate. Without pedagogy (real time teaching skills that bring curriculum to life), even the best curricula will fall short. PoP’s core frameworks provide the pedagogical navigation system for educators and learners to steer their learning toward their goals in a way that is responsive and authentic to the particularities of context, content and individual participants. Few professional development programs work systematically in this space of contextual and real-time teaching and learning, which is essential for bringing the promise of curriculum to life.
We are the havruta experts.
PoP grew out of the close study of havruta learning and has developed a comprehensive framework for realizing the potential of this treasured Jewish social learning practice. If you would like to improve the havruta learning in your school or organization or introduce it as an important practice in your context, PoP is exactly right for you. We can also help your program or educational practice take the ideals of havruta learning “beyond the pair” to infuse the entirety of the learning culture with the stance and practices of havruta at its best.