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‘Chinuch Mashlim’—Losses and Displacements at the Contact Zone between English and Hebrew: Transcending Monolingual Boundaries

College of Arts and Education, Victoria University, Footscray, VIC 3011, Australia
Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 56;
Submission received: 25 October 2016 / Revised: 25 April 2017 / Accepted: 18 May 2017 / Published: 31 May 2017


This conceptual article investigates the losses and displacements taking place at the contact zone between English and Hebrew. The study focuses on one Hebrew term ‘chinuch mashlim’ [complementary education in Hebrew] and its relationships with its equivalent English term ‘informal education’. By applying a theoretic–linguistic analysis process, the study traces the socio-historical-political meanings of ‘chinuch mashlim’ and relates this theoretical construct to its English counterpart, ‘informal education’. Examination of the relationships between the two terms at their contact zone reveals a strong English dominancy which creates a barrier for researchers in the field to use their full linguistic repertoire. The analysis reveals that the monolingual ‘informal education’ research does not create permeable boundaries that allow valuable knowledge to transcend from Hebrew to English.

1. Introduction

Previous studies conducted in the field of informal Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education have revealed fundamental differences in enactment. Particular attention was directed toward profound differences found in STEM outreach programs that are provided by universities in Israel and Australia [1,2]. It was found that while in Israel STEM outreach programs are highly institutionalized, thriving and diversifying, in Australia the predominant model is ‘start–stop’ with no inclination toward growth [1,3].
Examination of the two contrasting models suggested that, while ‘informal education’ as it is understood by the English-speaking research community, is sufficient for describing the scope of the practice in Australia, it is limited in its ability to capture some fundamental aspects practiced in Israel. The theoretical limitations posed by the English term ‘informal education’ called for linguistic–theoretic [4] engagement with the Hebrew counterpart ‘chinuch mashlim’. This includes drawing upon Hebrew concepts, metaphors and images constituting the ‘chinuch mashlim’ construct [4,5]. The present article argues that drawing into these linguistic resources is essential for developing a more inclusive theoretical knowledge regarding informal education. More so, the assimilation of theoretical constructs related to ‘chinuch mashlim’ are required for allowing research in the field to broaden its reach and ask new questions that are currently unanswerable due to the limitations posed by the ‘informal education’ theoretical construct.
In doing so, this conceptual study put forward the aims to (i) apply the full bilingual repertoire of Hebrew and English in order to theorize regarding ‘chinuch mashlim’, as a unique form of informal education; and (ii) examine the bi-lingual translation processes at the contact zone between the Anglophone ‘informal education’ and the Hebrew ‘chinuch mashlim’, and describe their impacts on multilingual research.
The term ‘full multilingual repertoire’ was defined by Singh [4] (p. 2) as referring to the total array of intellectual resources that multilingual researchers can employ in theorizing. The linguistic repertoire of multilinguals includes both the knowledge that may be accessed, and the social contexts in which these languages are enacted [4] (p. 2). In the context of this study, the bilingual repertoire of English and Hebrew are considered.
As early as 1936, Karl Mannheim suggested that knowledge is a social phenomenon and therefore needs to be studied in the context in which it was conceived and produced ([6] cited in [7]). This contextualised knowledge is not accessible to English monolinguals, thus rendering ‘informal education’ to being deficient in scope. Singh [8] suggested making ignorance productive by inviting multilingual researchers to use their full linguistic repertoire, and thus gain access to knowledge and theories that are beyond the Anglophone capability for knowledge production.
Multilingual theoretical tools may include metaphors, conceptual categories and/or images [5] (p. 55). When applying these tools to educational questions, such as the STEM outreach phenomenon, new and unexpected insights can emerge, which would otherwise be unavailable through the monolingual Anglophone theoretical lens. In what follows, these theoretical tools are applied for investigating the ‘chinuch mashlim’ concept and its social–political–historical context.

2. Introducing ‘Chinuch Mashlim’ into ‘Informal Education’ Research

The term ‘chinuch maslim’ is used in Hebrew for describing outreach programs provided by various governance bodies in Israel. It literally means ‘complementary education’. The word ‘mashlim’ is derived from the noun ‘wholesome’. In this respect, the term represents both a concept, and a metaphor. The concept represented by the ‘complementary’ aspect of the term, signifies a perception by which informal education in the form of outreach programs is equivalent in importance, and is complementary to the formal education. The metaphorical aspect of the term represents the view that ‘chinuch mashlim’ is a form of a wholesome education.
For investigating the social, political, and historical context and processes of ‘chinuch mashlim’, three primary resources, written in Hebrew, were used as data sources. The sources are:
  • Israel Knesset, Centre of Research and Information (2000). Governmental Involvement in Providing Complementary Frameworks and Informal Education to Youth: Comparative Exploration. Written by Itai Weisblai, 20 June 2000. Israel: Jerusalem, Knesset Publications [9];
  • Kalivensky, H. (2008). From Complementary Education to Informal Education for All. Mifne, [10] (pp. 33–38, 58);
  • Cohen, A.O. (1999). The Informal Education. In Fifty Years to the Education System in Israel. The Ministry of Education, Israel: Jerusalem [11].
Two of these sources were published by governmental bodies. All three sources provide historical accounts of the Israeli ‘chinuch mashlim’.
Historically, ‘chinuch mashlim’ as a form of education appeared for the first time in the mid-1930s, when the National Association to Knesset Israel (the official body representing and managing the Jewish life under the British Mandate) constructed the Department of Youth. The department’s role was to manage all out-of-school educational activities [10,11].
Israel was established in 1948. At the time of establishment, the population size was 850,000 people. Soon after, in the first two years, Israel saw a migrant flux of approximately 700,000 people, culminating to approximately one million in the first ten years [12]. This enormous flux of migrants gave incentive to broaden the activities of ‘chinuch mashlim’. The Youth Department that had begun operating under the Ministry of Education established ‘Youth Houses’ for the operations of ‘chinuch mashlim’, as out-of-school clubs [10]. These Youth Houses operated alongside schools and were funded by the Ministry of Education in similar ways to the formal schools. They provided food, social needs, homework support and opportunities for youth who dropped out of school to complete schooling [10,11].
In the 1960s ‘chinuch mashlim’ became mainstreamed among broad sectors of society [10,11]. In response to public demand, the local municipalities became active in providing additional afternoon activities to all age groups from birth (mainly parent and child activities) to old age [9,11].
In continuous attempts to broaden the scope of activities, in 1969 the government formed an agreement between the Ministry of Education and the academic system, directing all tertiary institutions to establish departments for STEM outreach programs. Initially, these programs were provided primarily as out-of-school extra-curricular activities for youth in Years 5–12 [10].
In attempts to codify ‘chinuch mashlim’ as a unique form of informal education, it was described as consisting of the following attributes:
  • voluntary nature—free choice with respect to joining, participating, or leaving the activity;
  • symmetry—reciprocal contact based on equal relations;
  • moratorium—broad permission for trial and error;
  • multi-dimensional activity—activities characterized by a wide range of skills of equal value;
  • recreation and productivity;
  • peer supervision—oversight through explanation and persuasion rather than through prohibition’ [13] (p. 2); [14] cited in [15] (p. 1).
These characteristics, though successful in differentiating between formal and informal education in Israel, are unsuccessful in capturing the differences between the Anglophone concept of ‘informal education’ and the Hebrew ‘chinuch mashlim’. For example, the aspect of whether or not these activities are institutionalized, is not mentioned within the descriptors. The reason for the non-inclusion is that in Israel, both formal and informal education operate as two governmental branches, working in parallel. In contrast, when comparing the Anglophone ‘informal education’ to ‘chinuch mashlim’ this aspect forms a fundamental difference. While ‘informal education’ is conceptualized as free from governmental intervention, ‘chinuch mashlim’ is an enterprise which is highly regulated by the government.
‘Chinuch maslim’ in Israel is perceived as an essential educational service, similar to schools and universities. As with formal education, the discourse concerning its provision often focuses on social equity and accessibility. This may be demonstrated in a regulatory law that was passed in 2011. In response to concerns regarding unequal distribution of ‘chinuch mashlim’ between rich and poor municipalities, the government introduced a legislation entitled Local Authorities Law: The Director of the Youth Unit and Student and Youth Council, 2011 [16]. The new law requires that every municipality with more than 1000 children and teenagers will nominate a director of Youth Unit and a youth council consisting of 15–61 youth participants (aged under 18). The law defines the role of the Youth Unit director in local municipalities, as responsible for ‘chinuch mashlim’ and for student and youth councils in the director’s locality. The government committed itself to participate in funding this ‘chinuch mashlim’ management body as required, in accordance to each municipality’s financial means.
Currently ‘chinuch mashlim’ out-of-school programs operate as a basket overflowing with goods, including for example music, drama, sport, STEM, art, camps, outdoor education, youth leadership courses, entrepreneurship, social volunteering, youth community engagement programs, youth movements and many more [9,10,11]. This form of government regulated education closely aligns with Ivan Illich’s [17] vision of ‘Deschooling society’. When describing his model, Illich states that ‘opportunities for skill-learning can be vastly multiplied if we open the ‘market’. This depends on matching the right teacher with the right student when he [sic] is highly motivated in an intelligent program, without the constraint of curriculum (Chapter 15). When referring to the role of the state, Illich asserts that
Just as skill instruction must be freed from curricular restraints, so must liberal education be dissociated from obligatory attendance. Both skill learning and education for inventive and creative behaviour can be aided by institutional arrangement, but they are of a different, frequently opposed nature.
(Chapter 17)
These characteristics align perfectly with Kahana and Rapoport’s [14] descriptors of ‘chinuch mashlim’, presented above. However, they are quite incompatible with what the Western world perceives as ‘informal education’.
The inconsistencies between the Anglophone ‘informal education’ and ‘chinuch mashlim’ call for a better integration of the latter term within the former’s conceptual framework. To date, researchers in the field of informal education have mostly ignored the potential contribution of ‘chinuch mashlim’ to the discourse and research in the field. In what follows, these translanguaging barriers are discussed as a linguistic form of monolingual dominance [5].

3. Translanguaging Processes at the Contact Zone between the Anglophone ‘Informal Education’ and the Hebrew ‘Chinuch Mashlim’

The question of how languages interacted within and between human societies to create or deplete power seem to have been a matter of interest to people as early as the times of the Bible. In the book of Genesis, the Bible text tells us the story of how multiple languages were first created in the world.
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech…They said to each other…“Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves…the LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”…From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
(Genesis 11, 1−9)
Two points are of interest in this context. The first is that multilingualism is perceived as a punishment to humans for accumulating excessive power. Humans attempted to increase their power and in doing so, they employed a common language. From this perception, a unified language is a form of power.
The second point of interest relates to the order of things. Unlike the common view of Historians and Anthropologists, the Bible suggests that first multilingualism evolved and only then community groups separated and dispersed across the globe. This implies that multilingualism causes separation among people.
From this perspective, the twenty-first century’s Anglophone academic dominancy may be viewed as both an accumulation of a form of power over other languages, and as an attempt to overcome dispersal by language unification. Singh et al. [5] (p. 56) referred to such processes as ‘intellectual and linguistic colonization’.
These two aspects of power exerted as dominance and unification are helpful concepts for exploring how theoretic–linguistic knowledge [4] is transferred across the contact zone between ‘informal education’ and ‘chinuch mashlim’.
The term ‘informal education’ started to be used in the Western world in the mid-1960s, mainly in regard to adult education [11]. Academic research in ‘chinuch mashlim’ began in Israel soon after [18,19,20]. A prominent researcher in the field was the sociologist, Professor Reuven Kahane, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who describes and defines the field as early as 1975. However, when attempting to publish findings regarding ‘chinuch mashlim’ in international journals, Kahana used the term ’informal education’ disregarding its incompleteness in describing the ‘chinuch mashlim’ framework [13]. This form of reference to ‘chinuch mashlim’ in academic publications was followed since then by other researchers in the field [18,19,20]. Rather than enriching the research field of informal education by referring to their full linguistic repertoire and introducing the term ‘chinuch mashlim’ into the academic discourse, Hebrew academic researchers constrained their research into the boundaries posed by the English term, thus expressing conformity with both uniformity and dominance of English over Hebrew.
Mary Louise Pratt [21] refers to areas in which speakers of different languages interact as ‘contact zones’. These zones may be virtual or physical. Within these zones, when Hebrew meets English, the default response seems to be to create a division of labour in which data collected in Hebrew will be reported, using the English theoretical framework [22]. Singh [4] in referring to Illich’s work [23] described the process by which academics’ usage of their full linguistic repertoire to support their contributions to knowledge, is kept unrecognized and un-acknowledged, as ‘multilingual shadow work’ (p. 2). While there was no doubt that the data that was collected in Israel related to ‘chinuch mashlim’ as a wholesome theoretical concept, in its English representations it was reduced to fit within the scope of ‘informal education’.
Various explanations may be provided for this translingual academic practice. One reason may be attributed to the academic journals’ authoritarianism. The dominant Anglophone journal editors and reviewers expect papers that use the accepted jargon and theoretical frameworks. Researchers attempting to write about ‘chinuch mashlim’ are unlikely to find publishers since they would be using terminology that extends beyond what is accepted in the field of informal education research. Another reason may be attributed to the inclination among Israelis to assume that the West ‘is best’ and worthy of imitation. The Hebrew language itself is not regarded by Israelis as an academic language. As a language that has been kept stagnant for two thousand years and was renewed only in the past one hundred years, the Anglophone dominancy is taken for granted and is defaulted even when its explanatory capacity is in deficit.
Law [24] (p. 5) claimed that the most interesting places lie on the boundaries between different orders. He states that language may play a powerful role in transcending the various orders through a process of translation. ‘To translate is to make two words equivalent. But since no two words are equivalent, translation also implies betrayal: ‘traduction, trahison’. So translation is both about making equivalent, and about shifting. It is about moving terms around, about linking and changing them’ [24] (p. 5). In the process of translating from English to Hebrew, the English term transcended the Hebrew, but no equivalent transcending occurred in the reverse direction. This created losses at both sides of the contact zone.
At the Hebrew side, a few betrayals took place. The first, is the betrayal of the potential to use the full linguistic repertoire when conducting research in informal education. The second was conceptual–theoretical. This betrayal occurred when the term ‘informal education’ was implemented for describing ‘chinuch mashlim’ regardless of the fact that it is unfit for describing the full scope of the practice.
Further betrayals occurred when attempting to close the conceptual–theoretical gap between the Anglophone ‘informal education’ and ‘chinuch mashlim’. Rather than creating permeable borders which allow ‘chinuch mashlim’ to inform ‘formal education’, it seems that attempts were made to actively reduce the scope of ‘chinuch mashlim’ practice in Israel in order to create a better alignment with the ‘informal education’ theoretical framework. These shifting processes take many forms. This can be demonstrated, for example, in recent years’ efforts to imitate the Western way of providing outreach programs. In Western countries such as Australia, the formal curriculum heavily influences most outreach provision to school students [1,3]. Similarly, many outreach providers in Israel are now stating on their Internet sites how their programs align with the curriculum (e.g., Campus-Teva at Tel-Aviv University [25]). This is a puzzling new trend, since the Israeli curriculum has internal flexibility that does not require external providers to make such adjustments. Yet, in imitating the West, they do so regardless. Another kind of adjustment is seen now by Israeli programs increasingly moving toward enhancing school curriculum, by providing curriculum contents in their out-of-school programs [26]. In addition to the attempts to create better alignment between the informal and formal education, there is also a shift toward informalizing the ‘chinuch mashlim’ and privatizing it in a similar way to the West. In recent years, there has been rapid growth in private providers entering the informal education space and providing out-of-school free choice activities. These examples show how the Anglophone theoretic linguistic dominance permeates not only the Hebrew linguistic theorizing, but also modifies practices toward unification with the West.
From the Anglophone perspective, the loss caused by the unidirectional translation has been no less than that of the Hebrew. Brown describes translation as ‘the process of making connections, of forging a passage between two domains, or simply as establishing communication’…(It is) ‘an act of invention brought about through combination and mixing varied elements’ [27] (pp. 3–6). In the lack of the reverse translation, from Hebrew to English, the opportunity to forge a passage from the Hebrew socio-theoretical context to the Western theory of ‘informal education’ has not been realized. The potential contribution of ‘chinuch mashlim’ to Western research and knowledge is left unfulfilled.
Ruitenberg [28] (p. 426) describes the ways in which terms evolve to serve political purposes. The language, in turn, may play a role in arresting the thinking about the meanings of the terms and makes them unquestionable. Translation can be used as a philosophical operation for disrupting this ‘complacent belief that one understands one’s own thoughts and the language in which one formulates one’s thoughts’. Within the relationships between Hebrew and English speaking academies, it seems that the dominancy of the Anglophone serves as a mean for arresting thinking about education in its broad sense at both sides of the contact zone. The un-arrestment of thinking requires changes at both ends. Hebrew scholars will need to give themselves permission to use their full linguistic repertoire at the contact zone between Hebrew and English. This will allow them to observe and report truthfully about their field of practice. Rather than focusing on molding their research to suit that of the Anglophone, they can become active contributors to a broadening ‘informal education’ field of research. At the same time, the Anglophone academic world needs to move away from dominance and unification, and create more permeable borders, than those that currently exist, in order to allow such exchanges to occur.

4. Discussion

This investigation was motivated by a linguistic disruption in which the English term ‘informal education’ was found unfit to describe the full scope of current practices. The term ’chinuch mashlim’ was introduced and its appropriateness for use in English academic research was demonstrated. Methodologically, a linguistic-theorizing approach was applied to examine the social-historical context and application of ‘chinuch mashlim’. This was followed by examination of the relationships between ‘chinuch mashlim’ and the dominant, yet incomplete term ’informal education’, at the contact zone between the English and Hebrew speaking research communities.
The results reveal that ‘chinuch mashlim’ constitutes a durable and unique educational model, similar to Illich’s model of ‘deschooling society’ [17]. This form of education holds the potential to reframe ‘informal education’ theoretically and practically. So far, this potential contribution of ‘chinuch mashlim’ to ‘informal education’ research is unrealized. The analysis suggests that this loss may be highly related to the Anglophone authoritarian academic dominancy and the corresponding Hebrew subordination.
The combined dominant and subordinate linguistic relationships seem to be deeply rooted. Akena [7] (p. 2) describes how the European colonizers defined Western knowledge as objective, universal and legitimate, leading to the imposition of a monolithic world view. This, in turn, was accepted and internalized by indigenous people to the extent that they themselves marginalized their cultural values [7]. Singh [29] has identified this form of subordination among international Chinese students studying in Australia. He describes their reluctance to use Chinese theoretical tools in their research as an outcome of lack in self-confidence, and fear of causing offence and potential punitive consequences [29] (p. 360). Israel’s education system is scattered with an abundance of terms carrying meanings that interact in forming the educational landscape. For example, the terms ‘chinuch chevrati’ [social/socialization/socializing education]; ‘chinuch chalutzi’ [pioneering/spearheading/forward education]; and, ‘ezrachut peila’ [active citizenship]. By allowing the various terms to transcend English through multilingual theorizing processes, opportunities may be opened for speakers of both languages to enhance research and practices across the bilingual boundaries. This engagement at the intersection between multilingualism and monolingualism was termed by Yildiz [30] as the ‘postmonolingual paradigm’. She describes this intersection as an area of tensions created by ‘the force of monolingualism as a structuring principle’. This, in turn, causes ‘tensions between multilingual linguistic realities and monolingual ideologies’ ([30] cited in [31] (p. 464)).
Singh [4] (p. 1) addresses this tension by calling for the development of ‘post-monolingual research methodology’. He claims that ‘no language has a privileged capacity for producing original knowledge. Creativity in research benefits by employing the intellectual resources in a multiplicity of languages’ ([32] cited in [33] (p. 5)). This realization may create a disruption that allows theoretical knowledge produced in other languages to emerge and impact research in English [8]. This study exemplifies the losses caused by monolingual research dominance and unification. It also demonstrates the importance of making ignorance pedagogically productive [8], as a means for instigating the emergence of other-than-English theoretic–linguistic knowledge [4].
The study focused on a case study of Israel’s ‘chinuch mashlim’. It told the story of losses and displacements caused by unidirectional translation from English to Hebrew due to monolingual dominance. Taken from a broader view, the case study calls for the development of heightened awareness to the immense social–historical–cultural–political contextual meanings embedded within each language. Becker [34] drew attention to the fact that a language is not merely a code or a system of rules and structures. He uses the term ‘languaging’ to describe the active nature of language in shaping and being shaped by context ([35] cited in [34] (p. 8)). As such, it is a dynamic process of meaning construction [34]. Multilingual researchers need to be vigilant in using their full linguistic repertoire while conducting research in English. Translations occurring between languages are not merely technical operations. Simple assimilation of terms taken from one side of the contact zone into the other may result in a ‘stripping out’ of important contextual theoretical meanings, thus risking the loss of valuable knowledge and the opportunity for new deep meanings to emerge.

Author Contributions

Efrat Eilam designed and wrote the article. Julianne Lynch and Kirsten Sadler contributed equally to conceptualizing and writing. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Eilam, E.; Lynch, J.; Sadler, K. ‘Chinuch Mashlim’—Losses and Displacements at the Contact Zone between English and Hebrew: Transcending Monolingual Boundaries. Educ. Sci. 2017, 7, 56.

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Eilam E, Lynch J, Sadler K. ‘Chinuch Mashlim’—Losses and Displacements at the Contact Zone between English and Hebrew: Transcending Monolingual Boundaries. Education Sciences. 2017; 7(2):56.

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Eilam, Efrat, Julianne Lynch, and Kirsten Sadler. 2017. "‘Chinuch Mashlim’—Losses and Displacements at the Contact Zone between English and Hebrew: Transcending Monolingual Boundaries" Education Sciences 7, no. 2: 56.

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