Voice of Israel is a 12th grade multi-leveled Hebrew class where the students design, build and create content to their own live website which enables them to learn and apply their knowledge about Israel all in Hebrew. The goal of the class is to learn Hebrew, to deepen the students’ relationship to Israel and to allow them to engage with a wider audience through real life output. Students were given the opportunity to form affinity discussion groups, and engage in peer review, all while learning Hebrew and gaining knowledge about Israel. The website gives students a real-life platform to express their ideas, and to share their knowledge with the world.
Goals of Course:
The course has three main goals:
- Expand the students’ knowledge in Modern Hebrew in all areas: writing, reading, speaking and listening through active application of the Proficiency approach
- Deepen the students’ relationship to modern Israel, as well as fostering a feeling of mutual responsibility to Israel.
- Engage the wider audience in a real-life website which explores various Israel-related topics such as politics, culture, environment, Israel advocacy, Israel on college campuses, etc.
Description and method
The course is designed in a way that connects learning Hebrew, to real life events. By having the students create a website where they curate their own content, we are generating student lead learning and maximum engagement and caring, while all along fostering the students’ care for Israel and expansion of their skills in Hebrew. The course is first and foremost a Hebrew course. Meaning the students are assessed based on their learning of Hebrew. Nonetheless, is done through a lens of active engagement in current events in Israel, or about Israel.
In “voice of Israel” students build their own website. The website is a stage for the students to share ideas, data, information and knowledge about Israel. Each student has a few “roles” which are divided into “admin” (including but not limited to website operation, marketing, outreach to the community) and “content”. All admin work is done in Hebrew. Because this is a live website, students are encouraged to reach out to the community and share their website, hear feedback, and get exposure. As for the content — at the beginning of the year, students choose areas of interest (political, culture, sports, etc) and they act as “reporters” to their subject matter. For example, a student who is interested in the political aspects of different social groups in Israel, may write an article about ultra Orthodox Jews and their relationship to the army in Israel. Another example, students who care about Israel on college campuses made a video about the Israel club at the school which promotes the club and its mission.
This course is a multi level courses meaning the choice of subjects needs to be fully in compliance with the students Hebrew level. Also, because this is PBL, students meet with the teacher to construct their own individual goals for the year. The teacher’s responsibility is to make sure that the level of the topic is appropriate, to create a scope and sequence for the year for each student, and to formulate a comprehensive material package which will be learned by the students throughout the year. Assessment is also student based and the teacher assesses each student based on their needs and abilities.
- Learning Hebrew – the class follows the Proficiency approach to language teaching. Students learn through context and are constantly required to use the language actively. They speak Hebrew in class, they write and read in Hebrew and by creating articles, posts, videos, podcasts and other material they are presented with countless opportunities to use new learned material. They are required to use their listening and speaking skills both in the content they create, and when they engage in different conversation that emerge from the content they themselves created.
- Relevant content – the students learn through generating their own content that is related to Israel. They research, analyze and compile information to formulate their own educated opinions about Israel. They are interested in the topics (since they chose them themselves) and because of that they are more compelled to learn Hebrew.
- Care and connection to Israel – this course builds real connection to Israel. Students learn about topics that interest them and they develop their connection to Israel through their own identity. For example, students who care deeply about culture have the opportunity to investigate Israeli culture, see how the connect it to their own identity, and produce content that portrays that connection.
- Real life experience – because the website is live, students need to figure out who their audience is, how to generate viewership and how to reach out to the community. In addition, there are several life skills that are learned when students work as a team whose responsibility is to create one final product. For example, they need to negotiate their goals for the website, the layout, the presentation. They engage in marketing and think about ways of getting the word out.