BISHVIL HA-IVRIT: OUR PHILOSOPHY
The Bishvil Ha-Ivrit program is driven by the belief that mastery of Hebrew promotes students’ understanding of their history, culture and tradition, excites them about lifelong Jewish learning, fosters a sense of belonging to the Jewish people and cultivates strong ties with Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel) and Am Yisrael (the Jewish people). The Bishvil Ha-Ivrit program seeks to create a community of Hebrew speakers who can participate in a casual conversation or sophisticated discussion in Hebrew, enjoy a Hebrew lecture, read a Hebrew book or an article in an Israeli newspaper using a critical lens and write a letter or an essay about personal, cultural, social, political and global issues.
In order to achieve these goals, Bishvil Ha-Ivrit, rooted in the Communicative Approach, offers students multiple opportunities to develop their communicative skills – listening, reading, speaking, writing and viewing and critical thinking skills through sequential linguistic progression (vocabulary and grammar) embedded in socially relevant themes, resources and learning experiences. The program introduces students to Hebrew from all historical periods: biblical, rabbinic, medieval, enlightenment and modern through authentic and adapted texts from a wide variety of genres – conversations, interviews, articles, notes, questionnaires, songs, prose and poetry, and more. As students gradually develop their Hebrew language proficiency and feel at home with the Hebrew language, they also interrogate and become aware of diverse viewpoints on daily life in Israel, Jewish tradition and history, society as a whole, and the world. In turn, we hope that students become critical consumers and articulate, ethical and responsible producers of new thoughts and texts in Hebrew.
Enduring Understandings of the Bishvil Ha-Ivrit Program
- Learning Hebrew helps foster a sense of Jewish peoplehood and connection to Israel, its people and its culture.
- Students can leverage their Hebrew skills and cross-cultural competence to make a difference in their local community, in Israel and in the world.
Essential Questions of the Bishvil Ha-Ivrit Program
- Who am I?
- What does it mean to be of a certain religion, culture or nationality?
- How is my culture similar to and different from Israeli culture?
- What is contemporary life like in Israel?
- What are families and communities like in Israel?
- How are my family, community and ways of living similar to and different from those in Israel?
- What are the challenges Israel is facing and how is Israel dealing with them?
- What are Israel’s contributions to the world? How is Israel contributing to advancing the fields of science and technology?
- How can I make a difference through my Hebrew knowledge and competency?
- How can I understand when I don’t know all the words in Hebrew?
- How can I express myself when I don’t know all the words in Hebrew?
- How can I use the Hebrew language both within and beyond the classroom?
- What should I do in my head when I’m trying to learn the Hebrew language?
- Are there patterns to the Hebrew language?
- How is my language(s) similar to and different from Hebrew?
The Bishvil Ha-Ivrit program offers linguistically sequential materials for all levels – from true beginners to heritage learners. The program consists of:
- Mechina (fully online module)
- Beginners (Bishvil Ha-Ivrit 1 and 2)
- Intermediate (Bishvil Ha-Ivrit 3 and 4)
- Advanced (Bishvil Ha-Ivrit 5, online module on Freedom and Bishvil Ha-Ivrit Books 22-25)
Foreign Language Frameworks and Bishvil Ha-Ivrit
There are two major frameworks for learning, teaching, and assessing foreign language skills: the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency Guidelines and the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR) (actfl.org). The following table aims to provide Bishvil Ha-Ivrit coordinators and teachers a better understanding of how the Bishvil Ha-Ivrit program aligns with current major frameworks in the field of second language learning. This comparison is by no means official or empirical.