The “GRMR” Model for Ariel’s Education System

All students can achieve far beyond what they believe or are taught is their capacity. This belief guides the transformation of Ariel’s education system into one of the most innovative, empowering and effective in Israel. Through this approach, grounded in research by leading educational psychologists, Ariel’s education system seeks to provide every child with the opportunity to realize his or her greatest potential.

Vision

Every student in the City of Ariel, from kindergarten through university, will learn to excel in every scholastic field of their choice.

Conceptual Framework

GRMR thumbUnder the leadership of Mrs. Ilana Nulman, the Ariel Department of Education has introduced a new conceptual educational framework, entitled “The GRMR Model,” based upon the work of Howard Gardner, Joseph Renzulli, Sugata Mitra and Ken Robinson.

Professor Howard Gardner’s well-known “theory of multiple intelligence” identifies areas of intelligence rather than seeing intelligence as dominated by a single ability. Practically, Gardner believes that the purpose of schooling “should be to develop intelligence and to help people reach vocational and avocational goals that are appropriate to their particular spectrum of intelligence.” Such an approach helps students feel more engaged, competent, and inclined to give back to society.

Professor Joseph Renzulli’s triad enrichment model provides practical direction for developing intelligence and personal values across various learning contexts. The first element is exposure to a wide variety of fields, including those not traditionally taught in a classroom. The second involves a more in-depth study of specific fields. The third is specialized exploration. This three-ring process of learning enables children to realize and materialize their potential.

Professor Sugata Mitra and Professor Ken Robinson both encourage learning in intimate focus groups, to encourage mutual productivity between students and teachers and among peers. In general, Mitra challenges educators to deal with life’s big questions, and to explore them through interdisciplinary learning.

Robinson’s approach, which complements those of Gardner, Renzulli and Mitra, suggests that educational systems be designed for relevant learning, so that students can meet educational experiences that are in sync with their lives and awaken their curiosity and personal interest. Once implemented, the innovative GRMR Model will underscore a uniform educational character throughout the community.

Students will be exposed to a variety of study tracks so they can discover their interests, strengths, and special talents. These study tracks include: language and humanities, mathematics, the arts, science and technology, and movement and athletics. Broad-based exposure to these fields stimulates curiosity and enthusiasm, sharpens intelligence, and fosters self-discovery. With more in-depth learning, students are equipped for an advanced level of exploration in specialized fields, by which they analyze and synthesize information towards greater knowledge, independent thought, creativity, and ultimately, societal engagement.

Setting

The City of Ariel, home to Israel’s newest university, is the ideal place to introduce a new, comprehensive educational continuum, from kindergarten through academia. Ariel’s unique demographic composition, with a residential population of 19,000 and an additional 15,000 students at Ariel University, predisposes the community to the implementation of a systematic citywide program that will enhance learning approaches, styles and capacity for students of all ages.

Method

Milken SchoolIn order to implement the GRMR Model, Ariel’s Department of Education has crafted a comprehensive educational strategy.

Traditional schooling approaches, which group students first and foremost based upon age and geographical zoning, will be replaced with scholastic choice. Study tracks will be introduced from kindergarten through higher education, thereby developing specialized fields of study and providing students and families the opportunity to choose from among study settings and curricula. With the new approach, every study track is structured and led by an Ariel University academic guide. This strategic paradigm was initiated at the start of the 2013-2014 academic year, with a citywide kindergarten through university robotics study track. As the paradigm’s implementation progresses, Ariel will be the first city in Israel where each elementary school is dedicated to distinct fields of educational excellence.

Implementation In keeping with the principles of the GRMR Model, each of Ariel’s four elementary schools has begun to develop a distinctive area of study, in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Education.

  1. Or Zevulun – Jewish heritage and the arts
  2. Nachshonim – Green-tech and entrepreneurship
  3. Milken – Science and sustainability
  4. Aliza Begin – Land of Israel studies and music

The educational transformation at the elementary schools will be implemented gradually, with three critical benchmark phases:

  • 2014-15: Staff training and infrastructure development.
  • 2015-16: Inter-school student transportation, to allow multidisciplinary exposure and learning.
  • 2016-17: Student registration for schools based upon specialty interest in place of geographical proximity.

At the junior high school level, students will be able to choose from six academic tracks, which will involve classroom learning, workshops, and extra-curricular activities. These academic tracks are:

  • Exact and life sciences
  • Computers and robotics
  • The arts – visual, theater, dance, and poetry
  • Athletics and movement
  • Land of Israel and Jewish heritage
  • Communication (multi-media)

Cooperation with Ariel University will be further extended during high school to allow students to engage with the University’s cutting-edge research, labs and facilities at advanced levels.

Inspiration

Israel’s Ministry of Education has expressed keen interest in this revolutionary paradigm. Plans include three local, regional and national annual conferences dedicated to the study of this new initiative. Similarly, an annual international conference will provide additional opportunities to examine the success of the GRMR Model and the corresponding citywide educational paradigm.

Funding

Mayor Eli Shaviro has identified the new strategic educational plan as the top priority for the City of Ariel. More than a third of municipal funding is currently invested in the department of education, with further funds allocated to support this initiative. For a more detailed proposal, please contact American Friends of Ariel at info@friendsofariel.org.