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Starting from the Core  

14.10.15

Journal article

Starting from the Core

My teaching method is based on putting my students in a training situation which most resembles a friendship. The best way to learn a new language is by establishing a friendly relationship between people in which both sides can share with each other the firsthand experiences of their everyday lives. The learning process achieves its most effective results when learners practice the language by revealing their inner world: talking about their hobbies, work, dreams, anger, family and friends. These are the learning materials which bring about the assimilation and internalization of language in the most effective manner.

So here is a story to illustrate the point of getting back to the core, to the essence of things:

The months of August and September were full of memories and experiences. Naturally (at least for myself), I shared a lot of pictures and statuses on Facebook. Here is one of the most important conversations I had during the holidays with my son:

My son: I see that you had fun in Poland…

Me: How do you see that?

My son: On Facebook. So tell me more…And by the way, you shouldn’t upload your pictures to Facebook.

Me: What’s the problem? I'm happy to share with others. (At this moment I realized that he expected me to be invisible in social media).

My son: You need to understand that everyone sees your pictures, reads your comments and you never know how people interpret what they see there.

Me: I understand, but I'm not a psychologist who needs to worry about hiding my real identity from patients. Quite the opposite: I am a teacher and the manager of a Hebrew learning company. I am a role model for my students in everything related to Israel and to being Israeli. It’s important to me to be as visible as possible: I don’t have anything to hide, there is no other “self” who is different from the person that I reveal in my lessons and in my relationships with my students throughout the world. I share with them without caring about how they interpret what I write and what they think. My purpose is to put myself out there fully, to talk to them, share my hobbies, memories from trips, happy and sad moments, and all the big and small things I go through.

My son: Why would you do that?

Me: I am hoping to become a role model for my students. I am also very happy when they share their own experience. We don’t deal with psychological issues, but we do talk about our lives, hobbies and work.

My son: Why is it so important that they talk about themselves?

Me: I create an atmosphere in which they can experience Hebrew in a situation most similar to friendship. It’s important to remember that the best way to learn a new language is based on real closeness between people, in which both sides share with each other their everyday experiences firsthand. The learning process achieves its most effective results when learners practice the language by revealing their inner world through talking about their hobbies, work, dreams, anger, family and friends. These are the learning materials that bring about the immediate assimilation and internalization of the language. As a result, the student understands that there is no need to hide anything, and there is an open and sincere dialogue between people about the issues they care about. And all of this in the most real language: Hebrew. 

My son: Actually, you’re right! Your students started learning Hebrew to meet Israelis and learn the Israeli culture.

Me: The idea is simple: the moment you open your heart, your language starts flowing. Why do people learn Hebrew? To get to the essence and authenticity rather than to hide or conceal. Of course, it doesn’t always work – it takes two to tango… I have two students who refuse to share their life stories and asked me to concentrate on texts only. Clearly, I never give up on any of my students, so I keep on working my way and share with them my opinions as well as the most important events in my life. It’s their right to learn the way they want, and I totally respect that by trying to work only on texts, exactly as they requested. At the same time, they use every opportunity in an informal atmosphere, not on a lesson, to express their interest in what is happening in Israel.

My son: Okay, now I’ve got it!

Me: I am happy that now you understand, I am editing the Israeli Anthology because I think that it suits my own perception. I want people to learn more about the authentic voices of the Israeli society. The teaching method I have developed is based on making literary pieces, art and Israeli culture an integral part of the language learning program. Literature and art connect us to our inner authenticity, and there is nothing like them to help us break down the barriers between people and reach the real self: one that observes itself and the world without regrets, without borders and without fear and the one that learns the most important language in the world - Hebrew language.

 

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