This essay reviews the Teaching and Learning section of the International Handbook of Jewish Education published in 2011.
Editor's article review (Michael Zeldin):
Carol K. Ingall's review of the second section, “Teaching and Learning,” provides a bird's-eye view of the entire Handbook as well as a close up analysis of the articles in this section. Ingall brings her broad knowledge of Jewish education and her deep intellectual analysis to bear to help us understand the enterprise of handbooks. She makes the claim that handbooks were originally “slim volume(s) that could be carried in the hand,” a description that is quite at odds with what this two-volume Handbook is. She also tells us that she always understood handbooks to be “quick reference work(s)”; again, a description that does not fit these hefty volumes. She concludes that this Handbook, while neither slim nor a quick reference, is nonetheless a “valuable resource” because it provides “an overview of the research agenda of many of today's scholars of Jewish education.”
Ingall goes on to identify some themes that bring coherence to the second section of the Handbook. First, she points to the wide reach of Lee Shulman, Pam Grossman, and Barry Holtz and their work on “orientations.” As examples, she cites chapters on teaching Bible, history, Israel, the religious other, and travel. She then suggests that “identity is the new ‘continuity’,” and points to several chapters, both in this section and in others, that speak about identity. Ingall points to the compelling character of the articles in this section that deal with “content-specific pedagogy,” notably chapters on teaching Talmud, history, chevruta learning, and Israel travel.