Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Clarifying Learning and Teaching Objectives

Why would one introduce Hebrew into a Sunday School curriculum at an early age? I can think of a host of reasons and a host of risks.

Reasons: makes people aware
  • that the world is bigger than their assumptions,
  • that communication with ancient thoughts is possible,
  • that the Bible wasn't written in English,
  • that there are a lot of intriguing and puzzling things about our tradition,
  • that there are decisions to make about understanding that are not obvious.
  • may be too complex to manage,
  • may be frightening,
  • may be incomprehensible,
  • may turn people off.
How to manage the risks. These are teaching objectives:
  1. make it fun,
  2. make the steps to reward easy (like eating cookies or deciphering one's own name),
  3. let the concerns be expressed and hope that the real Teacher (the Holy Spirit) finds ways of mediating, defending, or prodding the students and teachers as they need,
  4. find ways of integrating the letter or word of the day into the other parts of the curriculum,
  5. make every lesson stand alone since some students will not have seen prior lessons (use handouts and notes for keeping track of things - create some easy posts and exercises online).
Here too are some measurable learning objectives - keeping them low key. When the first year is finished, that the student would be able to:
  1. recognize a Hebrew letter and place it right side up! (use the blocks and make cookies)
  2. put two or three letters together to form a word and see the difference from writing Latin letters (use an English name that is familiar and spell it in Hebrew)
  3. recognize some words at sight (use large print cards)
  4. recognize some words aurally (pronounce and sing words)
  5. remember and recite a famous phrase (read the phrase, sing it, show it, memorize it)
  6. given a word, find the letters that make it (use the blocks)
  7. given several words, put them in order (use large print cards)
  8. given a set of words and their transcriptions and translations, match them (use a matching game)
  9. given a set of familiar names, apply vowel markers to indicate pronounciation
  10. read a short passage, e.g. psalm 117, 133, 150 (target after 12 to 15 weeks)
  11. read an acrostic psalm (target after 25 weeks)
I am guessing as to targets, but I would judge that the first four objectives are beginning to be met after 5 sessions - that is about 60 minutes of teaching over a four month period. Interest, absorption and retention seem quite high - but I would not want to examine achievements too closely yet. The age range in the class is 4 to 10.

Any ideas for additional objectives?


Pianolouise said...

Hi Bob - thank you for all your work that you so obviously put into this and all the time you spent on it. Very interesting and inspiring. And thanks for your input tonight at the meeting! You taught me some invaluable things too! I think you and I were probably among the minority as far as technological enthusiasm went - but I think the S.S. blog is a great idea and I'm going to try and introduce it to my mum so that it becomes not a threat or a source of adversity for her - but a safe non-intrusive user-friendly thing. We'll take it slow. Once I've created the lesson, I'll post it on here in detail and then you and I can chat about how to meld the two lessons (yours and mine) into one! Take care! AnnaLouise

Bob MacDonald said...

It was a good meeting - and I too learned something about the Godly Play program - I get the impression of very creative models and a thoughtful approach to response and wonder. I will look forward to your posting. I have not yet been on a blog where there are multiple authors. It is a very nice coincidence that Abram and Sarai are on the menu for this week - nothing like a plan! I am thinking about how to approach the ה in their names and will likely get the children's names laminated today. I may laminate a couple of alternative spellings too.