Semadar (Ben-Zvi) Goldstein
All children are gifted, it just takes some longer to open
Tell me, and Ill forget. Show me and Ill remember.
Involve me and Ill learn.
In an age where microwaves prepare dinner in minutes, videos provide
instant entertainment, and computers offer a gamut of recreational activities, classroom
lectures and discussions are less appealing to the technologically advanced student of the
nineties. Our task as educators therefore requires us to become more focused on
entertainment and less on the written word.
A scintillating balance between entertainment and the classroom has
been provided by Howard Gardner, an educational psychologist from Harvard University.
Gardner explains in Frames of Mind, The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (New York,
1993), that learning can and should be more entertaining for students. Lecturing and
writing, traditional methods of learning, embody 70% of classroom time. Accessing
different learning styles creates a more stimulating classroom environment. Gardner
categorizes eight different intelligences, or learning styles, in which a childs
highest intellectual ability may be challenged. The intelligences are linguistic, musical,
logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, inter-personal, and intra-personal. An
eighth intelligence, natural intelligence, was recently introduced (see: Susan
Winebrenner, Teaching Kids With Learning Difficulties in the Regular Classroom).
After reviewing his literature, I found that Gardners
learning centers can be applied to Bible study. If spatial learners build maps in order to
learn world geography, why cant they construct a map of Biblical Israel as written
in the book of Joshua? If students who excel in inter-personal intelligence dramatize an
event, why cant they act out Hannahs struggle with barrenness in the book of
Samuel? Bodily - Kinesthetic learners can build models of the tribal camp order or the
Tabernacle. Musical learners may create musical projects, such as songs, to any one of the
poetic verses in Tanakh. Logical - Mathematical learners can add the number of soldiers,
calculate currency collections or tribal counts. These are just a few ideas which can be
established in an MI Theory based classroom to facilitate self-guided learning.
Most schools include different learning styles in after school
activities, offering classes such as drama, music, and art as part of the curriculum.
Teachers even include creative activities in the classroom, although not on a regular
basis. Creative activities are great for children because more parts of the brain are
stimulated. Unfortunately, these activities usually end in the older grades, or continue
only in the science lab. Gardners work has both formalized and expanded innovative
teaching methods, as well as given it an international stamp of approval.
My work at ATID aims to adapt Multiple Intelligence activities, [hereon
referred to as MI], to the Bible classroom, specifically for junior high and high school.
Hence, my title Biblical Interactive Learning Centers.
The main report describes the eight intelligences in detail, with
suggested and implemented Bible based activities. A sample of MI activities for a junior
high class learning the book of Samuel is enclosed below.
|Take a character from the first few chapters of Samuel and
write a story from that characters perspective. i.e. Tell the story of Chapter 1
from Hannahs point of view.
Record a journal. After every chapter, adapt a
personality of one main character and rewrite the events and narrative from that
characters perspective. This is different from telling a story because it will
continue throughout the book, or because the students can choose a different character
Act as a reporter writing for the Shiloh Times and describe the events as if you
were following the characters through their daily lives.
|Ariel, Yigal, Oz Melech on 1:6
Berahot 31b See Source Sheet A1
- Creates strong empathy for the characters of Tanakh.
- Incorporates text & commentaries through linguistic expression.
- Reviews & deepens understanding of text.
- Enhances familiarity with the text through
The greatest obstacle I encountered was the time needed to create the
various displays. Possible solutions are included in the report, as well as personal and
student goals which prove the benefits of implementing MI Theory in the Tanakh classroom.
Societies, both old and new, offers solutions to problems that arise. Technology and
entertainment can stimulate but they also hinder. The goal of the Jewish educator is to
focus on the natural learning style of each individual student and to incorporate
stimulating forms of entertainment in the classroom. When the 90s
teacher walks into a classroom and tells the students to prepare their thinking gear,
students will hopefully respond, in which intelligence?