Harlem Hebrew’s founders saw Modern Hebrew as an understudied language in the United States, and also as one with a rich and interesting history. Our school is part of a growing movement of linguistically diverse public charter schools, teaching languages as varied as Modern Hebrew, Greek, Mandarin, French, and Arabic. This movement is based in part on a wide body of research showing some of the benefits of learning a foreign language:
- Improved school performance
- Problem-solving skills
- Cross-cultural communication
- Understanding of different perspectives
At Harlem Hebrew, Modern Hebrew is taught through the proficiency-based approach, which is considered the gold standard in foreign language instruction in the United States and around the world. Students receive one hour of Hebrew language instruction each day. They engage in meaningful interactions in the language, developing their speaking and comprehension skills at a rapid pace. As students advance through the grade levels, speaking and listening skills continue to be developed and reading and writing are introduced, developed and strengthened.
Modern Hebrew is taught by native speakers, who only speak to their students in Hebrew. In just a short time, students are able to understand Hebrew and speak in simple sentences. As their skills grow, they are introduced to more complex topics and are able to communicate in Hebrew in more sophisticated ways. As students learn Modern Hebrew, they also have the opportunity to learn about the culture and history of Israel, which provides a link to other subjects such as social studies and the arts.