Hevruta Study and Student Empowerment

Published: 
Spring, 2012

Source: Jewish Educational Leadership. Spring, 2012 

 

This article explores ways the hevruta methodology can function as a means for increasing student empowerment and autonomy through mutual interdependence. It also explores how this traditional learning method requires adaptation when applied to contemporary non-Orthodox Jewish educational settings. This adaptation impacts each aspect of the learning enterprise which includes the role of the teacher, the student, and the text. When applied to non-Orthodox settings, there is a paradigm shift within this learning triad that redistributes the power relationships between them.

 

The author concludes:

"The hevruta methodology, as presented in this article, creates a power shift as it relates to the student, the teacher, and the text. In contemporary settings, hevruta study empowers the student. It also empowers the text to yield deeper and broader meaning and relevance as it relates to the life of the student. Students are empowered by: 1) creating their own learning experiences, 2) directing and controlling their own learning process, 3) governing and evaluating the content of their own learning, 4) deepening and expanding the learning which can transform the learner, 5) creating new knowledge rather than just reproducing it, 6) playing a substantive role as interpreters of text through direct encounters with primary sources which generates a sense of “ownership” by the student in their textual interpretations, 7) viewing the teacher as a facilitator of the learning process whose ideas can be challenged, 8) enabling students to make deliberate personal decisions due to the clarity of identity and values that can occur as a result of the challenges posed by their learning partner, 9) fortifying Jewish group identification, religious commitments, and strengthening of social responsibilities as a result of the deep impact of the learning on learners, and 10) viewing themselves as a vital link in the chain of the transmission of Jewish religious traditions by participating within the framework of the larger intergenerational conversation of the Jewish people."

Updated: Sep. 13, 2012
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