Israel Prizes

Prof. Miriam Ben-Peretz (of blessed memory), Winner of the Israeli prize for Educational Research in the year 2006

 ben peretzJudges’ Considerations for Awarding the Prize “Prof. Miriam Ben-Peretz is among the well-known Israeli researchers in the study of  teaching and curriculum design and the study of teacher education and professional development. Her studies in these areas have had a significant impact in Israel and abroad, and she is now regarded as a leading authority in the areas of her study.

In the field of curriculum planning, Prof. Ben-Peretz has developed the concept of “curricular potential” and investigated the interaction between teachers and curriculum. She pointed to new directions in curricular research and integrated curricular planning theories and teaching theories. Prof. Ben-Peretz published unique articles and research reports, among other concerning school curricula and programs in the collective education, as well as Jewish education.

Prof. Ben-Peretz’s research, concerning the professional development of teachers and ways of their professional thinking, have been published in numerous articles and a book about the process of professional knowledge acquisition and the role of memory in this process. These works are pioneering in the field of combining research on memory and research on teaching and teachers’ development in an historical perspective. Prof. Ben-Peretz has greatly impacted the way we currently think about curriculum, instruction, and teacher training. Her writing has sharpened these issues and presented detailed examples of how teachers and teacher educators interpret their work and create educational opportunities for their students.

One of the most outstanding and important qualities of Prof. Ben-Peretz as a researcher is her ability to bridge the gap between theory and practice and between research areas are different from each other, yet are interrelated and influence each other. Her studies are always anchored to concrete problems of educational practice, and produce solutions that can be applied. She combines scientific ability, imagination and creativity with practical wisdom. Along with her research work, Miriam Ben-Peretz has fulfilled public-academic roles: President of Tel Hai College, Chairman of the Committee for determining the five-year plan for the Arab sector, Chairman of the Committee on Reform in Teacher Education and more. Each of these roles contributed to the establishment and improvement of the educational system in Israel.

Miriam Ben-Peretz’s contributions bare a significant influence on the thinking and policies in education, both in Israel and abroad. Prof. Ben-Peretz has contributed to the educational system in Israel with her profound insights, her original studies and her leadership ability, and has brought great honor to Israel in the field of educational research.

Prof. Ben-Peretz provided generations of students who hold important positions today in research and teaching at universities, colleges and the educational system.

For all those reasons we recommend that Prof. Miriam Ben-Peretz be awarded with the Israel Prize in educational research in the year 2006. ” (Source: Ministry of Education, Israel Prize Division)

Dr. Dina Feitelson (of blessed memory), Winner of the Israeli prize for Educational Research in the year 1953


About Her research and Contribution to Educational Research

“The late Dr. Dina Feitelson started out in the academia, when she joined the Hebrew University and had already had several years of teaching experience. Her dissertation (1952) was devoted to a critical analysis of teaching methods in classrooms of faltering children in what were then entitled schools for retarded children.
At the same time, Dina became an independent researcher, when Szold institution appointed her research project coordinator – one of the most important research conducted in the field of education in Israel at the time. The aim of the project was to determine the factors of failure of first grade students. This study revealed Dina’s experience in teaching, and her ability to analyze the prevailing teaching practices of the time in a penetrating and uncompromising manner. For this research, carried out before Dina received her Ph.D., Dina has won the Israel Prize for research in education.
In her study, “Failure Factors in the First Grade”, Dina adopted unequivocally an etiology that focuses on the cultural differences factor, without underestimating the importance of the difficulties which originate in economic ability. Dina and her colleagues had no doubt that in order to promote immigrant students they should be allowed to acquire tools for familiarity with Western culture and science. Dina saw clearly that the condition for the success of cultural intervention is an intimate acquaintance with the culture of the world. Indeed, it was the next task which earned her the title of Doctor, and which, in many ways, is no less pioneering than the first research project, which has gained such wide publicity.
In Dina’s first studies, out of sensitivity to anthropological and developmental aspects, the intensity of the distance between the culture of the immigrant population and the receiving culture is revealed, and the deep chasm between the child’s life with his family and the child’s life at school, representing the receiving culture, is sharpened. Dealing with this gap will become a primary educational mission, both for Dina and others, in teaching and research.
These pedagogical solutions proposed by Dina obliged a reform in teaching reading. The method that was accepted till then was teaching whole words and that was considered a modern and progressive method. Dina attacked the method in teaching of subjects in which it was considered to be modern and progressive, because in her opinion, this method could not be used for teaching reading or math in the systematic and structured manner that these subjects require.
Dina’s important contribution to the teaching of reading relates to what is known today as literacy. Dina perceived reading as part of a wide circle of literacy. Her rigorous practice, over many years, perfecting methods of reading stemmed from the feeling that the failing students’ difficulty  in reading stemmed from the lack of reading literacy culture around them. Her proposals for reform in the teaching of reading stem from the recognition that the methods used then in education are not appropriate for students who did not grow up in a literate environment.
Dina’s energy was directed to investigating the three stages of reading acquisition. As the years passed, she devoted more of her time to the cultivation of the third stage, the stage of free reading, reading out of pleasure. A research she conducted with her students uncovered basic facts about the prevalence of books in different populations of Israelis. The message which arises from a series of studies Dina initiated and carried out with her students and colleagues is that most of the values of the language used in books can also be, to a certain degree, taught in a compensating manner to the areas of kindergarten and school. Dina opposed the teaching of reading in kindergartens, and found empirical support for this opposition. However, she believed with all her heart that the systematic linguistic activity which can be done in kindergarten may compensate for a literary lack and worked in this direction for years in another one of her projects – the junior section.
The class library project, stemming from the initiative of Dina, is perhaps the most important thing being done today in Israel for the development of literacy. The life and soul of Dina are bundled in the pages of the little book opened to the eyes of infants. “

(From: Shimron, J. (1992), “from the causes the failure to facts and whims – things in memory of Dina Feitelson”. Studies in Education, 57-58: 7-14

Rationale of the Jury for Awarding the Prize

“The jury committee for Israel Prizes for educational research has unanimously decided to recommend the Minister of Education and Culture to grant the Israel Prize for Education for the year 1953 to the work of Ms. Dina Feitelson – Shor: “failure factors in children of the first grade”. These are the reasons for the committee’s decision:
The above study was conducted in a sophisticated scientific method, while maintaining accuracy and caution in looking and deliberate observations; having said that, her work should be regarded as a fruit of understanding and directly observing the child and the unique conditions of education and teaching in our country. In her research, the problem of the failure of children starting their learning is discussed. This problem concerns the fate of thousands of students in our schools.
The conclusions of the study may be used to boost a vigorous examination of the customary and acceptable in this area in of our educational system.
The jury notes that the appreciation expressed in awarding the prize will also apply to Szold institution for the child and youth, for it was with its assistance and guidance that the study was conducted and published in its pedagogical journal”.

(Source: Ministry of Education, Israel Prize Division)


Prof. Gavriel Salomon (of blessed memory), Winner of the Israeli prize for Educational Research in the year 2002


Judges’ Considerations for Awarding the Prize “Prof. Gabi Salomon, Professor of Education at the University of Haifa, is an educator with a worldwide reputation for the study of the various aspects of education. His studies cover a wide range of educational interests and bridge between the world of theory and the practical world. His contribution to education is known for its innovation, multi-disciplinary nature, and continuous contact with the educational practice in the field.

Initially, Professor Solomon was engaged with educational and media psychology, in an attempt to bridge the gap between these two disciplines through symbols used in communication systems (semiotics) and thinking (psycho-semiotics). This was how Prof. Solomon became interested in the connection between communication, thinking and learning which he researched and developed over a decade.

At the beginning of his career, most of his academic work centered around the relationship between television representation systems and the “acquisition” of mental isomorphic representation ways by children. Israel’s first screening of the television series Sesame Street has allowed Professor Solomon to open a series of systematic studies that served as a model for many international studies that followed. Prof. Solomon expanded the research field by conducting experimental studies and cross-cultural comparative studies. These studies served as basis for a theory he developed about the relationship between systems of representation in the media and culture and ways of thinking.

In his books, Prof. Solomon develops educational implications of his systemic approach. Later on, he even designed, researched and developed a semi-intelligent software designed to help in meta-cognitive area of writing essays. This development has led Professor Solomon to designing inclusive learning environments, which are rich with technology and are based on constructivist educational philosophy.

Over the past decade, Prof. Solomon has been preoccupied with four complementary research directions: (a) development of a theory on intelligent and productive uses of computers in education, with particular emphasis on an “intellectual partnership” between the computer and the student; (B) development of a new theory on the subject of transfer in learning; (C) development of theory on an interactive, systematic approach to the study of education – an approach that emphasizes assemblies and spiral connections rather than isolating variables and searching for linear relationships; (D) expanding the notion of the interpersonal aspects of thinking. Currently, Professor Solomon focuses on the subject of peace education.

Professor Solomon’s research on relevant issues in education stands out as innovative and original. When all the researchers of the effects of the media were preoccupied with the question of the impact of media contents on children’s behavior and tendencies, such as violent behavior, Prof. Solomon directed the attention of the world of research to the typical symbolic systems of the media and how they shape the ways of mental representation. Prof. Solomon has also made an important distinction between the amount of exposure of children to information and the quality of the processing of this information. According to this theory, learning depends on the mental effort invested in processing the learning material, a matter which is considered to be more of a function of the prevailing beliefs and expectations than that of immanent features of the material itself. Another important and original theoretical innovation of Professor Solomon is the subject of the “transfer” in learning. The subject of the transfer has reached a dead end and the new approach of Professor Solomon,” Theories of the two ways of transfer “, highlighted the issue of “transfer” in a new light, thus allowing the emergency exit out of the impasse.

Studies by Professor Solomon, in addition to being innovative, are well known for their diversity. His work involves a wide range of issues, including the effects of the “language” of television, peace education, development of new methodological approaches and designing technology-rich learning environments.

Professor Solomon is considered to be one of the leading educational figures in mediation between theory and practice. He constantly attempts to bridge the gap between theoretical conceptions and the experience he gained from his many studies and practical projects that he initiated. His approach allows for a balanced combination of technology and pedagogy and the design of new learning environments in which theories are applied in practice. Professor Solomon is also attentive to the needs of the State of Israel and is constantly acting to advance the education system in Israel.

The many accomplishments of Prof. Solomon have been admired and respected since his early years by various organizations in the world. The American Psychological Association (APA) awarded Prof. Salomon with the status of Fellow. In addition, Professor Solomon was invited to serve as a visiting professor at various universities in the United States – South Carolina, Michigan and Harvard – and is a popular lecturer on the subject of computing in various international conventions.

For all those reasons we recommend that Prof. Gavriel Salomon be awarded with the Israel Prize in educational research in the year 2002.” (Source: Ministry of Education, Israel Prize Division)