Thursday, June 27, 2013

How to Transform a Hebrew "Class" into an "Experience" (Strategic Principle #2)

On the anniversary of our launch one year ago, we are pleased to share a few of the successful innovations that make our classes 'strategic.' This is the second of 3 valuable tips for making Hebrew classes relevant, engaging and memorable.

2) LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!  Class setup is uniquely un-classroom like.  


To take a lesson from the old adage, setting is very important. Memory scientists note that the teaching environment has a tremendous impact on whether the information will be accessible at a future time. Test taking strategists recommend that students study in the testing room if possible, so that they are more comfortable recalling their studies in pressurized surroundings.

If our mission is to help Americans gain the skills to speak Hebrew in meaningful situations, then we need to give them every opportunity to practice in a meaningful environment.  

In other words, take the class out of the classroom and learn Hebrew ON LOCATION so students can recall the vocabulary they learn next time they find themselves in a similar situation!

What does this mean for the Hebrew classes themselves?

1) Lessons are not desk and blackboard centered.  
The location of the lesson matches it's content. For example, a cooking class will take place in a kitchen, basketball class on a basketball court, and a dining class around a dinner table or inside a restaurant.

2) Location enhances motivation!
Students are excited to be on the rooftop playground, in the park or gym or supermarket. Looking around, they don't see usual evidence of school and they feel an activity is imminent. Of course, knowing that the access point to that activity is Hebrew, they pay greater attention to the introductory language lesson so they can use the new vocabulary and grammar tools to participate.

3) What about reading and writing?
A portable board or poster serves as a reference point for the language concept of the day, with vocabulary listed in Hebrew (no transliteration). Students are encouraged to use writing as a tool for recording vocabulary in their own notebooks throughout the class period, at any time they have something to record (more on this writing strategy in Strategic Principle #3)!  

Bottom line? Despite taking place in a non-traditional Hebrew classroom environment, the surroundings are print-rich and directly related to the theme of the class. All of these innovations reinforce the language and learning goals for the class and motivate students to give themselves up to the experience of learning Hebrew.

Strategic Hebrew lessons take place on basketball courts and playgrounds, in kitchens and restaurants.  The location is chosen to be conducive to the activity and students are so focused on the topic that they are fully engaged even in a lobby or other public space. View images of our classes on our website Video footage is available on our facebook page,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.