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Integrating Hebrew Language Instruction

Awarded Grant
Zierler, Wendy
Hebrew Union College - New York Jewish Institute of Religion
Undergraduate School
2018
Topics: Teaching a Specific Subject   |   Relating Pedagogy and Curriculum

Proposal abstract :
HUC-JIR is seeking a $30,000 grant from the Wabash Center to underwrite the initial costs of our Integrated Hebrew Learning for the Formation of Jewish Leaders initiative, which would enable us to invest in the development and implementation of updated, integrative methods of Hebrew language instruction. This initiative aims to improve our students' facility with the Hebrew language and enhance their formation as Jewish religious leaders by strengthening their ability to directly access the foundational texts of Jewish tradition and culture. We will engage consultants to help us tap into the latest developments in second language acquisition methodologies, and also provide faculty with opportunities to attend professional workshops to gain greater facility with using inter-curricular disciplines and technology to form an integrated approach to teaching and learning the Hebrew language.

Learning Abstract :
HUC-JIR sought to investigate what kinds of curricular and pedagogical innovations could be undertaken to improve our students' Hebrew proficiency and impart skills for lifelong Jewish learning and meaningful engagement with the people and land of Israel. We learned that a mutually reinforcing Hebrew-language and text-learning pedagogy requires an intentional approach involving research and training. The grant allowed us to find fitting collaborators and begin offering faculty training and curricular resources. We also learned how important immersive learning opportunities are for our students, as well as best practices for abetting language acquisition for students studying modern Hebrew and classical Hebrew texts,fundamentals on how to best assess language proficiencies, and insights on teaching students with language learning disabilities. We discovered a tremendous interest on the part of our faculty in further enhancing Hebrew pedagogy at the College-Institute and engaging in crosscampus learning and professional development.
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