What is Learning Biblical Hebrew Interactively?
Dr. Paul Overland
- Raised in a bilingual environment (Japan)
- Received PhD in Hebrew Bible from Brandeis University
- Teaching graduate-level Biblical Hebrew since 1999
- Served as Project Director, “Communicative Hebrew Learning and Teaching” (funded by the Wabash Center, 2005-2008, also called the “Cohelet Project”)
- Currently Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio, USA
Factors that led to Learning Biblical Hebrew Interactively:
- I grew concerned as I observed students struggling to learn Hebrew with outmoded pedagogy (Grammar Translation Method, standard for all classical languages).
- Then I noticed that students thrived when they were able to employ the target language as a vehicle for their own communication (a foundational principle in Communicative Language Teaching).
- Early forays into Communicative Language Teaching gained substantial refinement through training in Second Language Acquisition (received in the Cohelet Project).
- Also during the Cohelet Project, the first half of the textbook was collaboratively written and field-tested. (For a full project report, see “Can Communicative Principles Enhance Classical Language Acquisition?” in Foreign Language Annals 44:3 [Fall 2011]: 583-93, co-authored with Lee Fields and Jennifer Noonan.)
- Learning Biblical Hebrew Interactively came to completion in the years following the Cohelet Project, together with instructional videos and teaching aids.