Section archive - Formal Education
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Israel will include study of the persecution of North African Jewry under the Nazis as part of mandatory history curriculum in high schools. Study of the Holocaust as a historical subject was removed from the mandatory section of the national matriculation exam four years ago by then-education minister Shai Piron, though teachers were allowed to assign the Holocaust as a research project. Academics and history teachers publicly criticized the move. Former education minister Naftali Bennett reinstated the subject on the bagrut matriculation exam shortly before he was fired from his position in early June by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Updated: Sep. 11, 2019
This exploratory case study examined how two teachers used a comparative approach to teach genocide histories in a Holocaust Literature elective course. Through interviews and observations, we studied how the teachers guided students in comparing genocides as well as how they used survivor testimonies in their instruction.
Updated: Aug. 27, 2019
A Sacred Language or the Language of the Bible: A Curricular Study of Jewish Hebrew Bible Instruction
This curriculum studies article uncovers how ideological commitments often, without acknowledgment, determine instruction. Through a comparison of two popular Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) curricula, both focused on the same subject, one emerging out of a fundamentalist religious worldview and the other a progressive, modernist religious worldview, curricular nuances are explored and theorized. Ultimately, this article argues that small differences in instruction serve to shape radically different conceptions of religious activity.
Updated: Aug. 06, 2019
When the Truth Is Not What Actually Happened: The Epistemology of Religious Truth in Orthodox Jewish Bible Study
This paper uses data from Jewish religious chumash (Bible) study to examine how students’ conceptions of biblical truth are grounded in the particular forms of chumash study they engage in. Using data from clinical interviews with Orthodox Jewish Bible students, we argue that, in relation to the biblical text, questions of truth are functionally meaningless; that is, they are irrelevant to the implicit epistemology embedded in the practice of chumash study. Because of this, students were unable to coherently answer questions about the truth-value of the biblical text, even while engaging in sophisticated reasoning about its literary character. This has implications for how religious schools and teachers approach religious study of traditional texts.
Updated: Jul. 17, 2019
Studying Sacred Texts as a Pathway to Positive Youth Development: Middle School Students Read Hebrew Bible
In many religious education classrooms, the meaning of a sacred text is treated as something stable and authoritative. A teacher’s job is to transmit that meaning to students. This study reports on a year-long intervention conducted in a seventh grade Hebrew Bible classroom in which students were asked to find their own meaning in the biblical text. The study found that religious text classrooms can offer a unique opportunity to support positive youth development when an effective interpretive community is created.
Updated: Jul. 17, 2019
Book Review: Dynamics of Teaching and Learning Modern Hebrew as an Additional Language: Using Hebrew as a Means of Instruction and Acquisition. Author: Yona Gilead
In a field where teaching methods do not generally stem from published studies but rather from years of experiential knowledge of best practices shared among teachers, Yona Gilead’s Dynamics of Teaching and Learning Modern Hebrew as an Additional Language is groundbreaking first for the mere fact that it is one of the only empirical research pieces published in a mainstream venue that maps and records the Hebrew classroom routine at a micro level.
Updated: May. 15, 2019
Drawing on interview data from a practitioner research study involving secondary students in a Jewish school, the following paper presents students’ explanations for why learning through the arts is a valuable and important classroom experience. The explanations offered by students reflected a strong self-awareness and understanding of their own learning styles and how the arts complimented their studies and challenged them in new ways. In addition to hearing how students appreciate learning through the arts, the data also suggests that teachers and other school stakeholders should find ways to provide opportunities for students to contribute to conversations about pedagogical practice
Updated: Apr. 04, 2019
There is a change brewing in congregations across North America, one that is dramatically shifting the narrative of children’s experiences with Hebrew learning and Jewish education. Education directors have begun sharing stories of renewed energy in their buildings and of children who are excited to learn, especially Hebrew. This change is not about tweaking the traditional Hebrew learning model in part-time/synagogue settings. We have done that for years and it hasn’t worked. This is not about increasing Hebrew learning time. Over the years, “more of the same” has closed our students’ hearts to Hebrew as they spend four to six years on low-level prayer decoding/reading practice and review. This IS about changing foundational Hebrew learning assumptions that have shaped Hebrew education in synagogues for decades.
Updated: Apr. 03, 2019
Though Holocaust education is of critical importance in the world of Jewish Day Schools, little research has been conducted about it. The purpose of this paper is to answer some critical questions about how they teach the Holocaust in Jewish Day Schools–the who, what, when, where, how, and why questions. Additionally, comparisons are made between how the Holocaust is taught in America’s public schools versus Jewish Day Schools.
Updated: Mar. 20, 2019
This article aims to describe the development of a curriculum framework for prayer in UK centrist orthodox Jewish primary schools. This process began in 2011 and continues in an ongoing way. This is the first time that there has been a communal effort across Jewish schools that focuses on this area of the curriculum.
Updated: Mar. 07, 2019