Learning - the Israeli Way: Key Educational Experiences and Classroom Noise

Gad Yair, Golan Peleg-Fadida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: The present study exposes that meaningful learning experiences in Israeli schools take place in noisy and highly active classrooms. In contrast to common assumptions, we show that significant learning takes place in “active” classrooms, where “activity” reflects students' enthusiasm, curiosity and interest.
Place and Duration of Study: The study took place in Israel and collected evidence along three years.
Study Design: The study used a convenience sample of adults who reported about their strongest educational experiences in life. The sample proved representative of Israeli high school populations. The present article is based on the analysis of 483 retrospective key educational experiences that adults had during their school days.
Methodology: We used interpretive methods to analyze major themes and patterns but also coded experiences in order to assess the quantitative ecology of "noisy" experiences in school.
Results: A thematic qualitative analysis of the episodes shows that key educational experiences occurred when the content of instruction was authentic, relevant and challenging. Key experiences also reflected teachers' use of competitions, instructional peaks, varied skills employed in research projects, free choice of activity, presentations in front of an audience, and the use of surprises in learning. The article shows that many experiences took place on field trips, while others transpired during what seemed like ordinary frontal, teacher-centered instruction. Overall, these key educational experiences reflect the "deviance" of individual teachers from patterned instructional programs, and students' "chaotic-like" behaviors during the pre-planned school schedule. During key educational experiences the teachers were deviating from formal instructional schedules and the students were neither sitting in silence, nor complying with formal directives. Rather, they were shouting with enthusiasm, rejoicing in their learning, at times ignorant of the fact that they were actually learning.
Conclusion: This article shows that in Israel learning is equated with noisy and rather informal modes of instruction, suggesting that “active” methods have long-term educational effects on students' lives.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)246-264
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jun 2013


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