WGC’s Department of Education is rapidly growing to become one of the College’s largest departments, attracting students to its unique specializations: literacy, learning disabilities, educational counseling, management of educational institutions, and early childhood education. The curriculum is designed to provide comprehensive knowledge in various fields of education and to develop a deep understanding of educational issues in their pedagogical and social contexts as a basis for advanced studies and for filling positions in the educational system.
Educational counseling plays an extremely important role in the educational system in that it addresses the emotional needs of students, teachers and educational staff. The counselor is an agent of change in the system, whose influence extends to both inside and outside the school. Schools are increasingly relying on the specialist qualifications of the educational counselor for enhancing the mental health of students and helping them to cope with various situations of pressure.
The study of academic skills, reading and writing, reading comprehension, arithmetic and the development of literacy and communications skills are among the central issues in education today. The purpose of this program is to enable students who are studying education to understand, analyze and act to identify learning disabilities that make learning difficult and to make a diagnosis and provide preliminary treatment. The program deals with broad aspects of study of these academic skills as well as research and theoretical aspects of treatment issues related to learning difficulties, communications disorders, speech, reading and mathematics.
The department conducts a special program in collaboration with Akko’s elementary schools (both Hebrew and Arabic speaking), in which faculty and students work with pupils with learning difficulties. The activities encompass the identification and treatment of pupils with learning difficulties with an emphasis on reading acquisition for second graders and developing mathematical thinking with fourth graders.
Poor learning abilities constrain individual and social development as they undermine the strength of democratic society, the state’s economy, science, and art. The acquisition of basic learning abilities is essential for every individual in order to become educated and to participate in the day-to-day activities of a modern state.
The Literacy Education program aims at providing students with essential knowledge and understanding of basic learning skills and those factors that affect their development. The program distinguishes between the acquisition of basic learning skills such as language, reading, basic mathematical concepts and the usage of digital information, on the one hand, and content learning, such as knowledge of history, geography, art and science, on the other hand. It is believed that the mastery of basic learning abilities paves the way to the acquisition of contents.
The program provides an introduction to brain research, the psychology of language and reading, bilingual education, learning disabilities, second language acquisition, mathematical thinking, and information technology. It is particularly suited to professionals, such as teachers in kindergartens and elementary schools as well as functionaries in education administration, and is also suitable for non-professionals, such as parents.
WGC Center for Literacy Education
Established by the Department of Education to promote Hebrew and Arabic literacy in the Galilee and to stimulate novel research on literacy education, WGC’s Center for Literacy Education aspires to serve the entire region as a platform for literacy training. The Center is a pioneer in the field, as Israel does not have a central body dedicated to literacy research.
A central project of the Center is conducted in cooperation with the Education Department of the city of Akko. WGC faculty and trained students provide ongoing evaluation and greatly needed assistance to pupils with learning difficulties in Jewish and Arab schools in Akko. In addition, the Center operates reading projects and parents’ workshops series in Akko kindergartens in an effort to prevent literacy difficulties and prepare kindergarteners for first grade.
By initiating and encouraging research, the Center will improve the understanding of literacy acquisition processes of pupils with learning difficulties and will examine teaching and diagnostic methods regarding reading and writing difficulties in language and mathematics. The Center collaborates with literacy researchers from other academic institutions in Israel and engages in studies of Hebrew and Arabic literacy, as well as literacy in English as a second language.
Leadership and Management in Educational Systems
The division was established in recognition of the fact that an increasing number of employees in the educational system (formal and informal) currently occupy managerial roles with different levels of authority and responsibility, despite the fact that their professional training did not prepare them for this aspect of their work. Competent management devolves upon proficiency in managerial knowledge and skills. Educators who are not equipped with managerial skills are likely to miss opportunities for managerial positions, or to occupy such positions with less than optimal outcomes. Our goal is to offer graduates of Management in Educational Systems an opportunity to acquire skills that are essential for management and leadership, in addition to broad knowledge in the field of education.
Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education deals with the development of young children and understanding their needs from birth to commencement of primary school. The program provides knowledge about early childhood education, from the developmental and pedagogical perspectives. The studies specifically focus on the ways of thinking and learning of the child before entering school, and his emotional states. Students learn what to consider when building learning activities that are appropriate for young children, and how to design an educational environment that suits their needs.
The program fosters educational leadership with academic knowledge and experience working with children. Coursework includes: emotional and social development in early childhood; physical, motor, and cognitive development; theories of personality; normal development; play and its importance in early childhood; development of language, reading, and writing; promoting mathematical thinking in early childhood; children's behavior in pre-school and kindergarten; and more. The curriculum for pre-school education is of great importance in light of the Israeli government's decision to introduce free and compulsory education for young children.
Head of the Department of Education
Dr. Vered Vaknin-Nusbaum