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TASP 2007

 
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Ramat Aviv Teacher



Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 7
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 3:16 pm    Post subject: TASP 2007 Reply with quote

I feel it very necessary to open this new topic to get the MOST CURRENT information about TASP to prospective participants. It's unfortunate that there are people who are no longer in the program who are making statements about the current program, about which their knowledge is limited.

There have been many changes to TASP, and I hope that my fellow current TASPers will use this new venue to voice their current (2006-2007 impression of the program), good or bad.

I will share with you my own personal experience, and I encourage others to voice theirs as well.

I have had a very productive and positive past year. I am currently a first year TASPer. I have been very pleased with Israel, the academic program, and the school placement.

Tel Aviv University is a fully accredited academic institution. TAU credits are fully recognized by most major institutions in the States. Our professors are the creme de la creme in the field of linguistics. Several of our professors are well-published and highly respected in their field (ex. Ofra Inbar, Elana Shohamy).

My specific school placement has been amazing. I work in an elementary school in Ramat Aviv, just north of Tel Aviv. My students can certainly be a handful. I have found that comparatively, Israeli children can be alot more brash and disrespectful towards teachers. I still love it. My students are happy to have me, a native English speaking teacher, with a fresh perspective on teaching English. I work with 2nd-6th Graders both in Advanced English Enrichment (typically immigrants from the US, Canada, or Britain), as well as the very poor performers in English, known in Hebrew as "Tigbur" classes. I love my students and my job.

I am currently the vice-president of the TASP-Advisory Council. I hope to be the president next year. Since the start of this year, our advisory council has pushed through some important measures, such as the development of an informative handbook to be given at the start of the program to clear up any confusion in advance about the TASP policies.

In my experience, the directors of the program, Dr. Zvi Dank and Dr. Marion Dank have been very easy people with which to work. They have been prompt and efficient when it came to problems that I've faced this year, and Marion has, on multiple occassions, offered helpful constructive criticism on my teaching technique.

I don't believe it's a matter of luck that I have such a high regard for the program. You get out of the program what you put in, and I have wholeheartedly put in a great deal this past year. With a good attitude and drive to make a positive impact at your school placement, this program can be excellent.

Please feel free to email me with any questions or concerns at sarah.ellen.fisher@gmail.com
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MwalimuMsafiri



Joined: 13 May 2007
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 6:52 pm    Post subject: TASP Reply with quote

I am also a first year TASP intern and have had a very positive experience. I teach in a junior high school. I have received excellent support from my fellow English teachers at the school as well as from the TASP directors. It has by no means been a walk in the park, but I have learned a lot. I am looking forward to an even better year next year.
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Henry_Cowell



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 3350
Location: Berkeley

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two new Dave's users who joined on May 9 and May 13???

Hmmmm.... I wonder what their motivation is for joining and posting during the same week. And I wonder too how the second poster managed to respond not even four hours following the start of the thread.
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MwalimuMsafiri



Joined: 13 May 2007
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 8:19 pm    Post subject: Clarification Reply with quote

2 days and 4 hours.

and my motivation is to give a current perspective on the program... as the first poster mentioned...

"I hope that my fellow current TASPers will use this new venue to voice their current (2006-2007 impression of the program), good or bad."
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Henry_Cowell



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 3350
Location: Berkeley

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it's constantly necessary to try to make a bad program look good. That's why there are people continually joining Dave's to do just that about TASP.
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Ramat Aviv Teacher



Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 7
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 9:43 am    Post subject: CURRENT TASP Perspective Reply with quote

Henry Cowell,

Do you have a CURRENT perspective?
Are you CURRENTLY enrolled in the program?
If so, a CURRENT perspective would be welcome.

That's what this forum is for.

It is clear that in the past you have had a negative experience with TASP.

But this forum is for a CURRENT perspective. I think it's evident that you feel that it's unlikely that this program has improved. But the fact is, unless you are CURRENTLY enrolled in the program, you don't have such information.

sarah.ellen.fisher@gmail.com
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Henry_Cowell



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 3350
Location: Berkeley

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I'm sure that TASP loves your CURRENT anecdotal description of your own CURRENT experience.
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tasprefugee



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was in communication with someone who dropped out of TASP last year (2006). According to that person's information, little about TASP has changed substantively, or for the better.

The directors of TASP have, historically, been infamous for playing favourites; prop up their little personality cult and you're golden, start voicing grievances or complaints, and you become an untouchable. This is not simply an issue of "you get out of the program what you put into it", as the above apologist for TASP stated. If only it was that decent. No, you get all the honey as long as you stick to the party-line, follow lock-step, and don't mention that the emperor has no clothes.

It's spooky to watch first hand. And kinda ugly...

As far as I know, some of the main problems with TASP (and more specifically, the couple running it) remain:

1. If you drop out of TASP, you receive no reimbursement for the unused portion of your tuition. Not only that, you will be hounded mercilessly (as will any relatives the Danks can find) to pay the full tuition, despite having withdrawn from the programme. Again, I simply have never encountered a legitimate academic programme that will not reimburse students for unused credits.

If this has changed it would be a great improvement.

2. There still appears to be little external oversight or redress and recourse for dis-satisfied TASPers, beyond appealing either to the couple running TASP or their friends. Again, if TASP's coordination with TAU has resulted in a new arrangement whereby TASPers can appeal to staff and faculty at TAU for more objective help, this would also be an improvement.

And finally,

3. Last I heard, the US Department of Education would not extend Stafford Loans to students enrolled in TASP due in large part to TASP's sketchy record and highly suspicious dealings. Once more, if this has changed and if TASP has finally managed to get itself back into good graces with the US govt., allowing students to recieve govt.-backed loans, then super. But I repeat, if you receive student loans (whatever the source), then pay your full TASP tuition, TASP will not reimburse you for any portion of that money in the event that you don't finish the programme. You will be in debt to the loan provider(s) for a programme you didn't finish.

Ultimately, though, these structural / procedural issues are merely manifestations of the sharky personalities running TASP, and I find it hard to imagine they have changed. Yes, as the apologists for TASP have mentioned here, if you stay in their good graces, those running TASP are all sweetness and light. For their sakes, I really hope they stay on TASP's good side because it does have its bad side and that's no place you want to be.

Better not to be involved with TASP at all, good or bad.


Last edited by tasprefugee on Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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tasprefugee



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should add that it probably isn't any coincidence that new TASP threads appear, singing its praises at a time of year when prospective new recruits are looking at enrolling and are just as likely surfing around looking for information about the programme.

How embarrassing if, as a result of their googling, they stumble upon all the negative press TASP has gotten (read: The Truth) here at Dave's.
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Belle81



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:15 pm    Post subject: CURRENT TASP Reply with quote

To those of you who are discussing the CURRENT situation with TASP, I would also like to point out that I have been involved with TASP currently and not only do they not refund those who have dropped out of the program early, but they also do not refund you if you notify them even months before the program is set to start! You make up your mind... does this really seem like a trustworthy program? A few months are more than ample time to find a replacement student and refund one's money. Enough said.
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Ixchel



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Posts: 155
Location: The 7th level of hell

PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been a teacher for going on 19 years now. I've been reading these boards since Dave started (I've lost/changed names a couple of times) and TASP is one of the few programs that has continually had complaints posted about it. I was very interested in the program until I emailed Dank about it. I asked a few questions and said I was unsure and he went psycho on me, telling me I'd never work in Israel as a teacher (at the time I was considering Aliyah)unless I did my training through him, he knew everyone in the Ministry of Education etc. etc. He became abusive. His behavior was truly bizarre. I'm glad I experienced that right away. I emailed various Jewish Aliyah organizations who had recommended TASP on their websites but never heard back from anyone. The program used to be affiliated with a British university who pulled their support, I suppose because of Dank. Occasionally someone posing as a TASP participant comes here and tries to tell everyone how great TASP is but if that were true none of this would even be posted. There are thousands of programs in the world and only this one generates this much anger.
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Ramat Aviv Teacher



Joined: 09 May 2007
Posts: 7
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 9:23 am    Post subject: Just to clariy Reply with quote

Ixchel wrote:
Occasionally someone posing as a TASP participant comes here and tries to tell everyone how great TASP is but if that were true none of this would even be posted. There are thousands of programs in the world and only this one generates this much anger.


For the record. I'm a real person...and a real, 2nd year tasp participant (It's a two year program), not someone "posing as a TASP participant", as the guy I'm quoting has presumed. My name is Sarah Fisher. I'm not speaking for ANYONE except for myself when I say that I've really enjoyed the program. Currently there are 28 TASPers. Each of them has their own experience.
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tasprefugee



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I'm a real person, too, Sarah. I would love to give my name and contact information, but after leaving TASP I was harassed and even threatened with lawsuits by the head of the programme. Since I do find myself in Israel from time to time, I would rather not risk incurring the wrath of that man and his frivolous lawsuits.

As I've mentioned before, if you "go with the flow" and don't complain, you'll probably be fine in TASP. The quality of instruction you receive is comparable to any of the bargain-basement TESOL diploma mills one can find just about anywhere in the world, now. The extra money, time, and thesis work you do will get you a Masters Degree that is, status-wise, just above an online degree programme like that of the University of Phoenix.

Complain, however, and you see this man's psycho dark side. It really is like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (has he told you his tall tales about helping the Mossad rescue Soviet Jews from behind the Iron Curtain? Meshugah!).

Anyway, that stuff isn't so important. Let's talk nuts n' bolts, Sarah. Tell me this; If you drop out of TASP, do you or don't you receive the balance of your unused tuition, the way you would in any other reputable programme?

Also, who exactly has oversight over TASP? Who can one complain to, confide in, or appeal to for help if and when a student has problems or grievances. Again, any other reputable programme or institute of higher education has a Dean of Students, a Tribunal, Ethics Committee, Grievance procedures and layers and layers of oversight and support. Where is TASP's? Do TASPers have access to Tel Aviv University's student support systems?

Any real school or programme has complete transparency; lists of department heads and positions that provide students with all the information they need, if they need.

In TASP, there's just the head of the programme, and his wife. And, yes, a list of his friends in the Jewish Agency etc. who rubber-stamp whatever he says.

If this has changed, if there is actual transparency and oversight, I would love to know.

If the tuition situation has changed, if students who leave the programme, the way students have every right to, do they get their money back or are they hounded and threatened the way I was and the way many of my peers were who also left TASP?

And finally, has TASP redeemed itself in the eyes of the US government, allowing American students to acquire federally-backed loans? Or is TASP still on the US government's black-list of shady operations?

My complaints about TASP aren't fluff or fantasy. I have detailed these three specific problems (out of many) because they seem to be the most elemental.

These complaints are also relevant; as recently as last year I was hearing that many of the problems that have existed with TASP since the beginning, still exist.

If you can't respond to these complaints with any comparable substance, then you lack all credibility, here.
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