Schooling as a knowledge system: Lessons from cramim experimental school

David Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes an experiment utilizing a research and development strategy to design and implement an innovative school for the future. The development of Cramim Elementary School was a joint effort of researchers from Tel-Aviv University and the staff of the school. The design stage involved constructing a new theoretical framework that defined school as a knowledge system, based on the state of the art, interdisciplinary study of the nature of humans, and the nature of knowledge. A new school design emerged based on this theoretical framework and the school was opened in 1995. Action research followed for 8 years and the results indicated that the school has emerged as a learning organization and successfully integrated knowledge technologies into the learning processes of both students and teachers. Differentiated teaching strategy resulted in a significant increase in achievements (+11% in maths, literacy, and science; +10% in literacy in kindergarten; persistence of higher achievement in junior high schools). The greatest beneficiaries were low-achieving students. As the school is a highly complex system, individual variables contributing to the increased effectiveness could not be isolated. The article's conclusion is that experimental schools are a productive strategy to bring about changes, but unless these schools are part and parcel of the culture of the mainstream education system culture, they are destined to remain isolated cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-19
Number of pages12
JournalMind, Brain, and Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


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