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Jewish Studies

How to better engage your classroom in Jewish Studies

As a teacher in training some ten years ago, a lecturer shared with us the following wisdom ‘More important than a lesson plan is a classroom management plan.’

In essence, you cannot hope to teach anything if your environment isn't well managed.  This could be your classroom routines or establishing your authority, but what I found to be pivotal in my teaching success was a good relationship with the kids, showing I cared for them.

To love is to understand

If you take the time to understand another person you show you care. Care = Love. Once people feel that care, they are open to learn from you and take constructive criticism from you- there is engagement.

This translated itself on many levels:

  • How I responded when they were hurt
  • How I defused an argument
  • How I rewarded and sanctioned

However, another key feature in caring for my pupils was identifying where they were coming from, what's in their world. I taught in an Orthodox school but more than 80% of the clientele were not religious. They were completely immersed in the modern culture and disengaged with their Judaism. I knew that being able to speak their language was seminal to attain teaching success.

This thought started many years earlier, when I decided what type of school I'd like to teach in.
About 9 years ago, whilst still a student, I began a project called V.I.P (Very Interactive Parsha). I created short videos of modern day scenarios that transferred the same message that the Parsha (Torah Portion) was trying to convey. It was very successful and earned me two job offers.

Jewish Studies

It was simply a medium the students were familiar with.

During my teaching years, I purchased an iPad and began finding ways that this new technology could communicate the Torah’s ancient but relevant wisdom.
As soon as I walked into the classroom with the iPad, before even opening it, I could sense the engagement in the room.

Over the coming months and years, I amassed many resources and apps and maintained that level of engagement. Using apps to select pupils names or to quiz them, to present videos or animation kept the mystery of ‘What's Mr.M got up his sleeve today?’

Then Ji Tap came along and the pupil engagement moved up a gear. Using this incredible platform I could now insert the Jewish content and GAMIFY it in minutes. Puzzles, soundboards, videos and quizzes were now all in one place.

The beauty of Ji Tap came to even more fruition when the children themselves could create their own games!
It became an assessment tool too, I'd ask ‘ Can you create a game about this Torah verse or about the laws of this festival.’ They felt empowered by the technology to become producers and not just consumers.

Ji Tap had succeeded in bringing Jewish Studies to new heights. The same information but with an outstanding conduit to teach it. So if you are a teacher looking for more engaged pupils or you know a teacher that could do with a new resource, download Ji Tap today.

Download Now!

Sammy Morhaim

Written by Sammy Morhaim

Sammy Morhaim is the UK and European manager of Jewish Interactive. Sammy was recently Head of Jewish Studies at the King David School Manchester, an outstanding school, where he also led training on using iPads in education. An innovative and energetic Jewish educator, his passion is in keeping Judaism relevant and he often lectures on the subject. He is an expert in combining educational pedagogy with technology and has developed many digital games for Jewish learning. He has had practical experience implementing technology in his classroom and in many other school settings. Sammy has two BA degrees, in Humanities and Education respectively and he is a Qualified Teacher. Sammy studied in Yeshivot Ohr Sameach, Kerem B'Yavneh and Aish HaTorah.

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