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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54619
Doc. No:TL24573
Call number:‭3312785‬
Main Entry:Rebecca Sharon Shargel
Title & Author:“Maybe Rambam was wrong?”: Middle school students construct meaning of classical Jewish texts in discussionRebecca Sharon Shargel
College:The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Date:2008
Degree:Ed.D.
student score:2008
Page No:185
Abstract:In this study, I examine how preteens interpret classical Hebrew literature. I explore the following questions about classroom discussion: What experiences do students link to Jewish texts? How do students question them? What patterns of interaction occur to sustain discussion? My findings led me to expand upon the definition of "making meaning" as defined by Splitter and Sharp to include interpretive strategies like using the hypothetical, creating analogies, and questioning. I describe and analyze discussions in seventh grade classroom in a Jewish community day school. Employing grounded theory, I gathered data through observations and interviews. My work builds upon prior studies of classroom discussion to develop a typology that describes the different kinds of strategies students use when interpreting classical Jewish texts. I divide strategies of student learning into three categories: literal, interpretive, and reflective. This typology can serve as a resource for teachers who want to improve student learning. I discovered that once students are firmly grounded in literal meaning, they have the tools to interpret texts creatively. As students grappled with the difficulties of applying the morality of pre-modern texts to their daily lives, they questioned the text with increasing intensity. I argue that when students converse with one another, teachers gain the ability to appreciate not only students' perspectives but also their misunderstandings. When I interviewed them, students unanimously claimed that they learned best not from their teacher or even from the insights they generated themselves, but from one another. I conclude that teachers can contribute to the reform of the modern classroom by leading discussions in a way that will give students the freedom to learn from one another. Educators will benefit from understanding how preteens make meaning in text-based discussion. Teachers can employ strategies for facilitating discussions that help increase student engagement. Religious educators who fear that questioning the text weakens faith can recognize that this kind of inquiry provides the potential for greater appreciation and understanding. Middle school instructors can gain new insights students' concerns and desires.
Subject:Social sciences; Education; Classical text study; Classical texts; Discussion; Jewish; Jewish day school; Jewish education; Meaning-making; Middle school; Language arts; Religious education; Judaic studies; Middle school students; Jews; 0751:Judaic studies; 0527:Religious education; 0279:Language arts
Added Entry:The Jewish Theological Seminary of America