Key Learnings from Moving Traditions Teen Groups, Rosh Hodesh and Shevet

2018 Year End Evaluation

For the past three years, Informing Change has worked with Moving Traditions to design the teen and group leaders surveys and to analyze the data.

At the end of each program year Moving Traditions seeks feedback from adult group leaders and teens in our Rosh Hodesh and Shevet groups to better understand educational outcomes and identify areas for potential improvement.

In Spring 2018, 446 teens and 118 group leaders completed year-end surveys[1], representing almost half of the 318 groups which ran in 2017-18 in partnership with 134 communities across North America. The surveys included multiple-choice and open-ended questions, allowing teens and group leaders to describe their experiences in their own words.

Across the board, teens participating in Moving Traditions teen groups in 2017-18 showed increased progress toward the organizations’ three primary educational outcomes: building self-concept, challenging restrictive gender norms, and finding meaning in Jewish teachings.   The evaluation finds that participants in Moving Traditions teen groups benefit from learning how to apply socio-emotional learning and Jewish wisdom to help them deal with the joys and challenges of adolescence.

Gaining a strong self-concept and the social emotional skills to navigate through life:

  • 78% learned skills to help tackle challenges/problems when things get hard or stressful,
    up from 67% in 2016-17.
  • 77% reported becoming more self-confident,
    up from 65% in 2016-17
    .
  • 72% got to know themselves better,
    up from 60% in 2016-17
    .

Are now better able to recognize and resist sexism personally and in their communities:

  • 81% reported they became more aware of gender stereotypes and inequality in society, a new question in our survey.
  • 64% reported that they talked to people outside of the group about gender stereotypes,
    up from 53% in 2016-17.

Finding Judaism “personally relevant” and “applying Jewish wisdom to deal with challenges of teen life”:

  • 72% say they learned that Judaism can help them in their personal lives,
    compared to 62% in 2016-17.
  • 81% report that their Moving Traditions group helped them connect to each other
    and to the Jewish community (77%), consistent with high responses in 2016-17.

Group leaders continue to benefit from the experience:

  • 92% reported that their experience with their group was good or great,
    consistent with the high response in 2016-17
  • 74% plan to continue in their role as group leader (18% were unsure).

Improvements in outcomes are believed to result from changes to the program model:

  • Clarifying educational outcomes for institutional decision-makers and group leaders.
  • Refocusing our work with partners who are fully committed to implementing our curriculum
    with teens in the 8th grade and up.
  • Introducing a new vetting process to help our partners hire quality group leaders.
  • Refining the pre-service Teen Training Institute for Group Leaders and Supervisors
    to focus more clearly on our outcomes: Jewish, social-emotional, and gender-related.
  • Providing more training opportunities for group leaders throughout the year, including one-on-one coaching conversations, webinars, and in-person gatherings.

Issues of gender and sexism continue to be more front and center in our society

  • To address growing numbers of accounts of sexual harassment and assault, Moving Traditions updated and created new curricula in 2018 to address #metoo, consent, and healthy and respectful sexuality.
  • In 2019, the organization has issued responsive curricula on understandings of masculinity raised by the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and to provide background and to facilitate values-based decision-making on participation in the Women’s March.

Moving Traditions sees opportunities for continued improvement in the following areas:

  • Creating a pathway to greater participation in our teen groups by launching the new b’nai mitzvah program with 36 partners.
  • Continuing to provide new curricula to address current issues with Jewish content that make our traditions relevant.

2017-18 End-of-Year Survey Highlights

Teen Outcomes:

Experience Judaism as personally relevant

  • 72% say they learned that Judaism can help them in their personal lives.
  • 66% deepened their interest in Jewish rituals and traditions.
  • 67% strengthened their connection to their Jewish identity.

Have strengthened relationships with the Jewish community

  • 81% strengthened their connection to other Jewish teens.
  • 77% strengthened their connection to Jewish community.
  • 66% report that, because of their experience with a Moving Traditions program, they have done or intend to do other Jewish things.

Have a strong self-concept and social emotional skills to navigate through life

  • 78% say they developed leadership skills.
  • 78% learned skills to help tackle challenges/problems when things get hard or stressful.
  • 77% became more self-confident.
  • 72% got to know themselves better

Recognize and resist sexism personally and in their communities

  • 67% took action to confront sexism.
  • 81% became more aware of gender stereotypes and inequality in society.
  • 64% talked to people outside of the group about gender stereotypes.

Participate in and value Moving Traditions experience

  • 91% responded that their experience in the group was good or great.
  • 74% say that they have or will recommend Moving Traditions programs to others.

Group Leader Outcomes:

Reflect and understand the goals and values of Moving Traditions

  • 92% say that their experience with their group was good or great.
  • 74% plan to continue in their role as Group Leader (18% were unsure).

Mentor teens according to the Moving Traditions educational model

  • 99% of those that attended the Moving Traditions Training Conference rate the training as good or great.
  • 84% of Group Leaders use the Moving Traditions curriculum and tweak it to fit the needs of their specific groups.
  • 68% have led groups for 2 or more years. 26% have led groups for 5 or more years.
  • “Safe Space” and “Group Leader” were among the top “best things” about Moving Traditions reported by the teens

Comments from Participants

“Shevet helps young men find a sense of direction. It teaches the meaning of being a man, being a Jew, and being a Jewish man in the world today.” – 9th Grade Shevet Participant

“Rosh Hodesh is a personal experience that provides clarity through the lens of Judaism as a woman. It has served as a great way to connect with friends and my Jewish community.” – 8th Grade Rosh Hodesh Participant 

“Shevet, for me, was a way to get my feelings across about everything that was on my mind.  I really was so lucky to have a great group of guys led by an amazing leader. Not only have I explored the depths of my identity, but also have gotten the privilege of exploring others as well.” – 11th Grade Shevet Participant 

“Rosh Hodesh provides me with a platform to talk about many social issues I wouldn’t feel comfortable speaking about in larger groups and challenges me to think from new perspectives I wouldn’t regularly consider in my thinking.” — 11th grade Rosh Hodesh participant 

“Rosh Hodesh is something that I value greatly, and I have learned so much from the discussions in my group. I have learned that Jewish values can be applied in one’s personal life. I feel more empowered as a woman and a Jew. I’ll always carry the things I have learned here throughout my life.” – 8th Grade Rosh Hodesh Participant 

“The work of Moving Traditions is hopeful, exciting, and filled with the promise of a more just world.” — Partner Supervisor & Rosh Hodesh Group Leader

“The Shevet training is most special in its way of creating community amongst a group of critical, motivated educators who are determined to push young Jewish men in ways that are so truly exciting.” – Shevet Group Leader 

“I think the Rosh Hodesh curriculum is the most well -written curriculum I have worked with. Running my Rosh Hodesh group for the past 6 years has been a wonderful experience … The girls ended their time together with plans to have Skype sessions from college. I think that says it all.” – Rosh Hodesh Group Leader

[1] Moving Traditions had 280 group leaders facilitating 315 groups during the 2017-18 program year.  Based on the groups that provide participation figures, we estimate that the average group has 9 teens for a total of 2,835 teen participants.  Our response rate for the group leader survey is 42%.  Our estimated response rate for the teen survey is 14%, which would give us a 95% confidence rate.

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