7th Grade Beit Midrash

The 7th grade beit midrash, a partnership in education and research with a local synagogue school, was a multi-modal house of study that reinforced 21st-century learning skills through traditional havruta, or paired study.

We used two main research-based frameworks to help students grow in multiple dimensions:

  1. The "havruta triangle" opens discussion and builds imagery for an ideal three-way havruta partnership between two people and the text.
  2. The six practices of havruta: listening and articulating, wondering and focusing, and challenging and supporting.

These frameworks helped students cultivate both the dispositions and skills that contribute to deepening their intellectual, social, ethical and spiritual capacities while exercising the core practices of critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.

The video below provides a brief overview of the pedagogy of partnership and students’ experiences studying Torah through havruta. The longer version gives a fuller account of the seventh graders' experiences learning Torah through partnership and will let you get further inside their challenges, discussions, and reflections.

As you watch, consider:

  • What educational values and goals are reflected in the work that students are doing in these videos?
  • What are students learning—intellectually, socially, ethically, and spiritually?
  • How can the pedagogy of partnership support 21st century learning goals such as cooperation, communication, creativity and critical thinking?