Modern Hebrew for Intermediate Students—which is now revised and updated—and Modern Hebrew for Beginners are the core of a multimedia program for the college-level Hebrew classroom developed at the University of Texas at Austin in the early 2000s. Within an intensive framework of instruction that assumes six weekly hours in the classroom, the program provides for two semesters of instruction, at the end of which most successful students will reach the intermediate-mid or intermediate-high levels of proficiency in speaking and reading, and some will reach advanced-low proficiency, as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).
In addition to a variety of written exercises, the workbook includes vocabulary lists, reading selections, discussions of cultural topics, illustrations of grammar points, notes on registers, suggestions for class and individual activities, and glossaries. The workbook is complemented by a website (http://www.laits.utexas.edu/hebrew) that provides short video segments originally scripted and filmed in Israel and the United States, vocabulary flashcards with sound, interactive exercises on topics included in the workbook, sound files parallel to the reading selections in the workbook, and additional materials that enhance the learning experience. The stability of the workbook, combined with the dynamic nature of the website and the internet searches the students are directed to conduct, allows language instructors to reshape the curriculum and adapt it to the needs of their students and the goals of their programs.
A native of Israel, Esther Raizen is associate dean for research in the College of Liberal Arts and former chair of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She specializes in Hebrew language pedagogy and has been an early adopter of computer technology for the Hebrew-language classroom and a pioneer in the production of open educational resources for Hebrew-language instruction.
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