Blagging: Hebrew Students

Very busy, but not too busy to blag on my introductory Hebrew class a bit.

We’ve had four sessions together, doing exercises that are entirely oral/aural: no aleph-bet, no labels or signs, no text at all. Also, I’ve offered no translations for what they are saying: they pick it up through Total Physical Response and context. After four sessions, they are able handily to:

  • Greet one another, ask each other’s names, ask after one another’s well being, and answer that they are very well, well, not bad, or not so well, and promise to see one another later;
  • Tell me whether the book(s) or animals(s) are big or small, and which are which; whether they can or cannot see the book(s) or animal(s); whether the book(s) or animal(s) are under the table;
  • Follow commands (singly or in groups) to stand, walk to the door, open or close the door, walk around a table, return to the chair(s), and sit; they can also narrate themselves or other students doing the same, both in a progressive present and in the past (I know those aren’t the categories they’ll learn in the grammar, but it’s more or less how they’ll be thinking of them at this point).
  • Sing, from memory, the Hammotsi (blessing over bread), the Shema, and (just about all of) the blessing sung before the Torah reading in a Sabbath service.

I’m genuinely impressed with how comfortably they are working with the language. Remember that several elements of what they’re doing won’t even be covered in their grammar until Lesson 9, or 12, or even 18. This year, I have some new ideas about how to preserve some continuity as we learn the script and get into the more conventional, grammar-centered part of the course next week.

Teachers: which of your students do you want to blag about? Students: what are you accomplishing that you want to blag about in the comments?

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One Response

  1. Pft. He doesn’t love us like he loves you guys.

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