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Title: Teaching Midrash explicity in the primary school
Author: Sigel, Deena
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 5313
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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Midrash (classic rabbinic interpretation of Hebrew Scripture) is taught alongside Scripture in Bible classes throughout the Jewish world in the primary school. Because Jewish tradition holds that rabbinic interpretation of Scripture should always be taught together with Scripture the teaching of midrash is viewed as part of the initiation of the student into Jewish sacred texts and into Jewish literacy. Traditionally children encounter midrash commentary when it is quoted or paraphrased by Rashi, Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac of the eleventh century, whose commentary on the Pentateuch is the most widely read. But since midrash is based on the theology ofthe ancient rabbis and was the rabbis' medium for conveying their understandings of Scripture, of God, of righteousness and man's place in this world to their followers, these texts are naturally complex and their content is often abstract. Current pedagogical practice does not address midrash as a discrete subject and does not, therefore, address these underlying characteristics of midrash. It has been my professional experience, as well as that of other Bible teachers, that a lack of explicit pedagogy for midrash can cause problems of understanding for the young student which may negatively influence her view of Scripture. This paper describes an educational innovation (for year six students) that was developed and tested by the author in the format of a design experiment. The strategy for teaching midrash explicitly builds upon academic scholarship on midrash content; on scholarship on the way that children form religious understandings and on scholarship that relates to the way that children make sense of texts. The research was conducted on an international scale, in one school each in Israel, England and the U.S. The findings reflect the challenges faced and the successes that were achieved in teaching midrash explicitly in the primary school.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available