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  • Sharon Shenbaum

Change for English Education Now!

Updated: Jan 30, 2019

Five and a half years ago I moved from Canada to Israel with all the inspiration and motivation that push a Zionist. I was enthralled to learn the Hebrew language and was determined to speak it with a native accent. As an educator I was excited to learn the new the mannerisms, traditions and educational system of Israeli society.

Then, I became a mother… Little did I know that my native language (English), my Canadian perspective, traditions, and quarrels with the education system, would all of a sudden take great importance? I remember lying awake at night during my last trimester, thinking, “Goodness my son won’t know English. He has to know English! He has to be able to converse with family and friends in Canada. The education system has to be better and it has to be better now!” Research has proven that the optimal age to introduce a second language is between birth to seven years old; the earlier the better! When I discussed my worries with my husband, he laughed and said, “The only way he’ll get all of that is if we move to Canada.” Move to Canada? But I made Aliyah to Israel – my “utopian” Israel – I’m not moving back.

The ball started rolling. I was working as an English teacher in Tel-Aviv and department head for English in an Elementary School. The more I taught the more I realized how the methods of teaching were lacking here and that my son will definitely NOT become a bilingual English speaker if I rely on the system. It was during my maternity leave that I began brainstorming ideas. Ideas spawned into a methodology and the methodology transformed into two books (a third on the way). My son, Evyatar was finally sleeping through the night and with clear days ahead of me I began practicing the Simplish methodology in elementary schools. The books trialed in surrounding schools in the Sharon region, as remedial or supplementary teachings. I opened an English Chug (extra-curricular class) and am proud to say that almost two years later all the children using the Simplish methodology finish with reading and writing success. Many entered this year to grade 2 knowing how to write, read (on a basic level) and have a strong foundation in English. The children truly enjoy learning with the books that are developmentally appropriate, easy to understand and use, and cater to the different types of learners. Now it’s just a matter of reaching more schools and programs so that all children can relish English success.

I am excited for Evyatar now, because he will learn to read and write in English with, Simplish – English Made Simple, like those before him and after. A method with a proven track record of success and one that meets the individual learning needs of children