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[Workshop] University Teaching of Hebrew Language

The Common Framework and the Hebrew Language Teaching:
Academic Teaching of Hebrew - Theoretical Approach and Practical Applications

Jerusalem, 12–16 July 2020 / 20–24 Tammuz 5780

Workshop Director: Dr. Tania Notarius (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Polis - the Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Philology)

The International Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for this year’s session of the Continuing Workshop on University Teaching of Hebrew Language. The workshop will take place in Jerusalem on 12–16 July 2020 / 20–24 Tammuz 5780 and will focus on the Common Framework as applied to Hebrew Language Teaching.

The International Center's workshops on University Teaching of Hebrew are designed to meet the interests of instructors of Hebrew as a second language in colleges and universities and to provide theoretical knowledge and practical tools relevant for their teaching. The workshop includes meetings with scholars, lectures, practicums, and discussions.

The field of foreign language teaching is changing worldwide. On one hand, communicative and goal-oriented methods are gaining wider acknowledgement. On the other hand, there is a need for objective tools for level hierarchy, placement, assessment, as well as mutual recognition. These changes affect the work of the Division of Hebrew Language Instruction at the HU. The expert team in the Division has been working at formulating the description of a common reference framework that will assess six broad levels of ability in terms of the goal-oriented method, in the spirit of the approach suggested by the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). The framework is action-oriented and promotes reception, production, interaction, and mediation abilities for spoken and written communication. Likewise, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has launched the Language Centre, which applies CEFR in the teaching of several foreign languages in the Faculty of Humanities, working in close cooperation with instructors of the Division of Hebrew Language Instruction.

The ambition of applying the Common Reference Framework to Hebrew teaching is not without challengers. The Ulpan method, which has always employed communicative methods and has proved itself over decades, faces new demands of up-to-date Hebrew teaching that will address diverse audiences in the changing multicultural world with its ever-developing communicative needs. While the common reference framework is language-neutral, learning goals and methods in class are language-specific, and the long-established heritage of Hebrew teaching shall not be discarded. Traditionally, many students of Hebrew have had background in Classical Hebrew and have gone on to Hebrew philology in academic settings. At the same time, new textbooks are necessary that will address distinct groups of learners and provide them with strategies for communication, proficient operation at different levels, and language tools for specific situations. The methods of Hebrew teacher training are also a subject of on-going change. The adoption of CEFR by the Division of Hebrew Language at the Hebrew University may well have a global impact on the field of teaching Hebrew as a foreign language. Is this choice justified? Will it be adoptable at the universities abroad? Might not alternative methods, such as the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) framework, be more effective?

We invite you to take part in the process of strategic thinking and planning the direction of the development of our field in the near future. The workshop program will include presentations by prominent specialists involved in the “CEFR for Hebrew” development in Israel, as well as round tables and open discussion of second language acquisition research, the common reference level scale, goal-oriented and action-oriented programs, the problems of mutual recognition of certificates, student placement, teaching objectives, and learning strategies and outcomes. Candidates who have concrete experience with the methods and practices of CEFR, as well as with alternative global frameworks (like ACTFL), are particularly encouraged to apply and, optionally, to present the fruits of their labor.

In order to maximize the advantage of the workshop and to prepare a program suitable to the professional interests of participants, we kindly request that you fill out the following questionnaire:

The workshop is conducted in cooperation with the Division of Hebrew Language Instruction at the Rothberg International School for Overseas Students. Workshop participants will have an opportunity to observe classes conducted by Division teachers and to hold joint discussions on concrete issues related to Hebrew teaching. The workshop program will include a visit to the Academy of the Hebrew Language, also a co-organizer of the workshop, where there will be lectures and presentations by Academy staff.

General information:

  • Participation is limited to a small number of university teachers of Hebrew, selected from applicants from all over the world.
  • The costs of accommodation, board, and travel to and from Israel are the responsibility of participants or their sponsoring institutions.
  • The fee for participation in the workshop is US$350 (in case of financial need, assistance is available upon application).
  • The workshop will be conducted in Hebrew.
  • Interested applicants should submit a CV by e-mail to: