TALMID 2018: A Professional Development
Workshop for Instructors of Classical Hebrew

Teaching with Advanced Language Methods Including Dialogue







A Typical

What is the difference between TALMID א and TALMID ב?  How do I know which workshop is right for me?

Past experience has shown that Hebrew instructors wishing to develop competence with a communicative approach require a workshop of at least two-weeks’ duration.  With its 10 instructional days, TALMID ב is configured to meet that need. TALMID ב commences with the material of TALMID א, then extends beyond the initial three days to provide a more robust learning experience.

TALMID א, on the other hand, opens an opportunity for those who, while they may not have two weeks to invest, still wish to take initial steps in cultivating their communicative teaching capabilities.

Are economical lodgings and meals available in walking distance?

Yes.  The Ashland University College Avenue Apartments are very reasonable, and meals in the Ashland University cafeteria are both economical and appealing.  Please refer to the “Lodging and Meals” page for more information.

May I enroll in the Workshop without knowing how to converse in Classical (Biblical) Hebrew?

Yes:  it is neither expected nor necessary to be able to converse in Classical Hebrew.  (You do need a solid reading knowledge of Classical Hebrew, however.)

What about Modern Hebrew?  May I enroll in the Workshop without knowing how to converse in Modern Hebrew?

Again the answer is “Yes.”  Some even suggest that not knowing Modern Hebrew is an asset, since you will not tend to substitute modern grammar when learning to converse in Classical Hebrew.

Do I need to be able to read Classical Hebrew before enrolling in the Workshop?

Yes, you do.  All participants need to have a good reading ability in Classical Hebrew (minimum of one year of training).

I have not taught Hebrew before, but hope to do so in the future.  Am I welcome in the Workshop?

You are most definitely welcome.  We have discovered that that those with the greatest interest in a workshop of this sort tend to be scholars who are at the early end of their teaching career.

Will scholarship aid be available for graduate students who wish to attend?

Yes.  A limited number of partial scholarships will be available to assist graduate students. Please refer to “Scholarships” page for more information.

Suppose that I learn the communicative teaching techniques, but then return to my old-style lesson plans and textbooks.  Will the Workshop show me how to adapt?

Yes.  A portion of each day will be devoted to exploring ways you can adapt existing curriculum to take maximum advantage of communicative advantages.

Are communicative techniques limited to use in beginning Hebrew courses?  Will we learn to use them with exegetical discussions of biblical texts, for example?

“No” and “Yes.” 

        “No,” although communicative techniques are highly effective for introductory Hebrew courses, their usefulness does not end at that level.

        “Yes,” participants will spend part of each day in small groups sharpening their ability to discuss—in Classical Hebrew—literary insights latent within a given biblical text.

How relaxed or intense will the TALMID Workshop atmosphere be?

Although we will work hard to master our skill objectives, the pedagogy arising from Second Language Acquisition encourages a relaxed atmosphere marked by affirmation, and learning that often is mixed with play (e.g., immersion games that focus on specific elements of grammar or vocabulary).  And you may choose from among a variety of opportunities for relaxation during the “off hours.”

What benefits accrue from converting my reading-ability in Hebrew to a conversation-ability?

Hebrew readers who have learned to also communicate in Hebrew discover that they now are (a) better able to grasp larger sweeps of a given portion of Hebrew literature, and (b) better able to detect poetics operating therein.  It is happening exactly as our colleagues in Second Language Acquisition pedagogy said would happen.  These conversation-conversion-benefits are benefitting both new Hebrew learners, and seasoned instructors as well.

Why do those benefits flow from a communicative language approach?

A communicative approach fosters increased automaticity (the ability to comprehend without stopping to decode).  As a result, the brain develops an increased capacity for higher-order mental processing and consequent awareness of literary subtleties that previously went unnoticed. 

Will overnight homework be assigned?

From time to time workshop leaders will ask participants to work on overnight assignments of modest length.  Principally these will involve preparing to lead micro-teaching episodes.

Will the workshop format emphasize learning that is passive or interactive?

Since a Second Language Acquisition approach stresses interactive engagement, the TALMID Workshop will be rich with learning that is interactive and hands-on.

What if I make mistakes as I'm experimenting with conversational Classical Hebrew?

Mistakes form necessary part of landscape in a communicative approach to language learning.  The TALMID Workshop offers a safe setting for making mistakes, for learning from them, and for moving forward.

Wouldn’t such mistakes reinforce wrong habits? 

Yes, if left unchecked.  And that's one of the reasons the TALMID Workshop has such a high participant-to-staff ratio—in order to offer personal attention when mistakes occur.  In reality, mistakes themselves are essential for isolating the learning gaps between what we have mastered and what requires more reinforcement.  If we let them, mistakes can serve as coaches to advance our learning. This principle holds true in our own classrooms as well.  Students' errors in target-language communication signal how we as instructors need reinforce with follow-up instruction.

Will the TALMID Workshop require participants to commit to an immersion environment?

The TALMID Workshop will foster a Graduated Immersion Format.  This means that all participants will be urged to experiment with the target language whenever possible.  As the workshop progresses, you will hear and speak more and more of the target language, with a commensurate decrease in use of non-Hebrew languages.

Is there any connection between what I will learn at the TALMID Workshop and ACTFL’s "5 C" goals for language learning?

Yes.  The Workshop provides focused training that corresponds to two of the "5 C's” goals established by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and endorsed by the American Classics League.  Those two “C’s” are "Communication" and "Cultures."

        An informative video introducing ACTFL’s “5 C’s” may be viewed here.

        A two-page summary of the “5 C” Goals may be downloaded from ACTFL here.

For a description showing how the American Classics League has adapted the "5 C's" to shape their teaching of Greek and Latin, click here. 

Meet the Instructors

The Story Behind TALMID

Schedule & Syllabus

Dates &

Lodging & Meals

& Fees


For Relaxation

What to Bring



Register Now





“Take your Hebrew teaching

to the next level.”

  Contact:  poverlan@ashland.edu                                                                                                                      ©TALMID Workshop