Jewish Values and Havruta: A Webcase for Educators

Jewish Values


Teachers use havruta (pairs of students studying texts together) for a variety of reasons. In the classroom represented in this case, the teacher is interested in fostering a classroom community that reflects particular Jewish values.  The teacher believes that both the practice of studying with peers, as well as studying texts that reflect Jewish values are valuable to helping her students gain insight into what it means to function as a classroom community and create space for everyone's ideas. Whatever your reasons for using (or considering) havruta, there is much to be learned from examining this case.

This webcase grows out of a long term collaboration between Orit Kent, a researcher and teacher-educator at the Mandel Center, and Jocelyn Segal, an elementary school general studies teacher. The webcase is not meant to provide a detailed curriculum: it presents a window onto the teaching and learning that occurred in this classroom for teachers and teacher educators to examine and discuss.

What's in this case?

The case is divided into four parts:

  • Introduction
  • Creating the learning environment
  • Teaching havruta skills and practices
  • Making the classroom beit midrash come alive

These sections provide background and contain a range of documents such as lesson plans, examples of student work, and explanatory documents that help elucidate how and why lessons were designed in particular ways. There are also video excerpts of the teacher conducting lessons and discussions, as well as of a student pair studying in havruta. Accompanying transcripts help the viewer follow along.

Explore: Jewish Values Webcase

How can I use the webcase?

Feel free to examine this case on your own to help you consider aspects of your own teaching. You might also look at this case with teacher colleagues and together study some of its videos and artifacts. When looking at the videos, you may have a particular questions in mind, such as " What does it look like and sound like when 3rd grade students work together in havruta?" or "What rituals and frameworks does this teacher introduce and teach her students to be able to work together successfully?"

The webcase was designed to be flexible. However you make your way through these materials, you are sure to find them a rich resource for learning about a real-world classroom implementation of havruta.