Thursday, July 07, 2005

Hooray for Hebrew

Following up on our look at the state of Hebrew knowledge in the the Diaspora, the Jewish Week is running an interesting article about some new exciting-sounding Hebrew-instruction programmes in the dayschools, one in particular:
[W]hen area students head back to school in September, a growing number of them will use a rigorous, new Hebrew language curriculum, which has emerged as an antidote to the more laissez faire teaching methods so prevalent at Jewish day schools. NETA, Harary said, has brought an engaging method to the madness of Hebrew language instruction. Designed for grades 7 through 12, the mix of unconventional materials excerpted in its 24 textbooks includes Hebrew verses by
Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai; lyrics by Israeli folksinger Chava Alberstein; passages from Genesis; artwork by the Surrealist painter Salvador Dali; dialogues that include Hebrew slang; and short stories by Israel’s Generation Y literary sensation Etgar Keret. “My students, they’re really connecting to it,” said Harary, who has taught Hebrew at Hillel High for 17 years. “They can’t believe they’re learning art, they’re learning science, they’re learning Bible in Hebrew.”
Apparently it will be run in 55 schools next year. Anyone have any experience with it?
Adding to our previous discussion, The Jewish Week also provides some background on why such a program is needed:
Hebrew language pedagogy, experts agree, has become a standout issue in recent years, in large part because it had been neglected — often taught by novice teachers with insufficient materials, at schools where only a minimal amount of time was devoted to Hebrew study and virtually no curriculum oversight — for more than a generation. The lack of suitable teachers and texts, and too little time devoted to language study spawned a sharp downward spiral: disinterest, minimal advancement, lowered expectations and frustration. While more day school graduates were spending a post-high school year at a yeshiva or university in Israel, fewer of them found themselves able to converse proficiently when they arrived.


doer said...

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