Conference of U.S. Jewish Educators Criticizes Hebrew Teaching

A program for coordinating and improving teaching methods of Hebrew on all levels in the United States was recommended here following a three-day conference of 60 leading American Jewish educators, representing a cross-section of Jewish religious and cultural organizations in the country. The Jewish Agency was charged with the task of preparing the groundwork for such a coordinating project.

The speakers at the conference–who represented more than 30 organizations and institutions of higher learning–were unanimous in their criticism of “sporadic and unscientific” methods of teaching Hebrew, which fail to take into account the latest findings in the field of linguistics. They urged extensive use of new audio-visual teaching aids such as phonograph records and tape recorders, which could extend a Hebraic atmosphere beyond the classroom into the Jewish home.

They deplored the fact that American teachers of Hebrew often lack fluency in the language they teach, and asked that Israeli educators working in the United States pass through a preliminary training period which would enable them to relate more significantly to the American child and American language habits.

The conference emphasized the lack of a suitable body to coordinate the plethora of educational institutions and organizations and to channel the contributions of individuals to the field of Hebrew language teaching.

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