Individually Designed Specialization
Degree Conferral: Nov, 2011
What is the title of your dissertation, and the focus of your dissertation research?
The title of my dissertation is: “Dance Education: Choreographing the Dance Teachers’ Path within Israel’s Schools.” My research explores the field of dance education in Israel from the perspective of teachers. The personal and professional meaning dance teachers and educators give to their work is studied. The research identifies goals, challenges, and needs of professionals in the dance education field in Israel through dance teachers’ experience.
This study intention was to increase the professional understanding of the field. The theoretical framework for this study provides rational for dance education for all children and the historical setting for dance education in Israeli schools. The study addresses the social and cultural setting, the educational system, teacher training in general and specifically, dance teacher training.
The knowledge gained in this study provides valuable information about dance teachers challenges and professional needs for the future design of recommendations that will support the process of training dance educators in Israel.
How have your research interests grown/developed/changed along your doctoral study path?
This dissertation journey was an exciting experience for me. I entered it with doubts about being able to accomplish this goal in the short time frame that I had. I have been away from academic learning for 18 years since my Master’s degree in Columbia University and was unsure about whether I would be able to re-enter this mode of thinking about my profession. I had just moved from Israel to Boston with my family, and had to help my children adjust and rebuild our lives in a new country.
My choice of Lesley University for my PhD studies has proven to be a great one. I enjoyed Lesley’s educational philosophy as well as the fine teachers and mentors I have met in my PhD path. I was amazed by the acceptance and openness to the experience and passion that each student brings with them to their studies. Enabling me to pursue my interests and write about dance education was priceless. Lesley’s program was process orientated as it encouraged me to grow as a person, as a researcher and as an educator.
At the beginning of this journey I knew I wanted to write about dance education in Israel and about dance teachers’ training. I thought I would evaluate existing training programs and their contribution to the work of dance teachers in the field. Eventually I decided not to address a specific training program but to focus on the teachers and gather the data from their perspective and their experiences in the field. My background as a graduate of one of these training programs, my involvement in this community and my plans to return to this field lead me to this choice of focus. I was interested to know how other teachers feel about their work. I realized that this knowledge can provide valuable data for the field. I also felt that the teachers who work in the field would appreciate a venue to express their professional beliefs and thoughts.
What are your personal and professional “post-PhD” hopes/goals?
Now that I completed this journey I look forward to continue my exploration in this field and use the knowledge I have gained through this academic process in training next generations of dance educators for the Israeli school system. I recently joined the pedagogical training team at the Kibbutzim Seminar where I get a chance to practice the actual challenges of training novice dance teachers. I find this work challenging and exciting as I get to share my knowledge and my own experience with future teachers. My goal is to make this path as smooth and painless as possible and to help my students develop their own professional identity as educators in our field.
Ronit Ronen Tamir is a dancer and dance educator. She holds and BA degree in Dance from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and a BA in Education from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as well as an MA degree in Dance and Dance Education from Columbia University, NY. She has extensive dance teaching background working with children and adults in Israel as well as in the United States, and is currently involved in the pedagogical instruction team of dance teachers at the Kibbutzim Seminar of Education. Ronit has been performing and choreographing with leading Israeli folk dance companies like Karmon Dance Company and “Hora Jerusalem” in Israel and ‘Collage’ Dance Company in Boston.