Engaging Female Students in Judaic Studies through Student-Centered Learning
The goal of Jewish education is to support the development of a religious identity that becomes an integrated component of personal identity; this necessitates teachers encouraging critical thinking and allowing students to challenge ideas. While Modern-Orthodoxy prides itself in being progressive, in many ways it still holds traditional beliefs regarding gender that run counter to messages students receive in the secular world. The purpose of this quasi-experimental mixed-methods study was to understand how Student-Centered Learning (SCL) practices could lead to increased engagement in Judaic studies and an improved sense of identity and self-esteem for female students. The study was conducted at a co-ed high school for Modern Orthodox students in New York City. The study involved three teachers who taught Judaic studies to Senior female students. The control group was a traditional Talmud class; the experimental group was made up of two groups in an Inquiry Program where students studied Talmud and Tanakh. Methodology included a pre- and post-survey and a focus group for students. Teachers were observed teaching lessons and participated in one-to-one interviews. Researcher observations and student self-report showed an increase in engagement in the experimental SLC classrooms; however, this was not supported in the survey data. Students self-reported a strong an increase in self-esteem in the experimental SLC classrooms; however, this was not supported in the survey data. Data on changes to identity were ambiguous across all data points.
Mayer, Sari, "Engaging Female Students in Judaic Studies through Student-Centered Learning" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI29169997.