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ERIC Number: EJ938399
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-1524-4113
Reimagining Literacy Practices: Creating Living "Midrash" from Ancient Texts through Tableau
Epstein, Shira D.
Journal of Jewish Education, v70 n1-2 p60-73 2004
This author contends that Jewish educators need to provide alternatives to a narrow view of Jewish literacy by revisiting social practices that are characteristic of Jewish study, drawing from rich traditions of engagement in critical questioning of narratives and reanimating them so that students are able to push the boundaries of texts. By enabling students to partake in an active form of communal text study, granting them the opportunity to create their own "stories-beyond-the-story," or "midrashim," students might place themselves within what Aron (2000) refers to as a "grand conversation" of textual interpretation. While the construct of "chevruta" is not necessarily driven by an ideology of creating "midrash," it serves as a model for the essential practice of asking questions of texts, which is often absent from supplementary school learning. This practitioner research was designed to explore how participatory drama enabled students to actively question the Bible and to grapple with texts' complexities within one supplementary school classroom. As a teacher-researcher, the author drew upon the technique of "tableau-building," in which students create still (no movement) visual images with their bodies. By attending to the overarching research question--How and what do students negotiate as they build tableaus based upon biblical texts?--the author considered how students constructed "midrash" as they drew upon the multiple-symbol systems of verbal dialogue and nonverbal gesture, as well as the resource of printed text. Drawing upon Gee's framework of discourse analysis, this article explores the social practices of collaborative dramatic explication as students worked "at the edge of text." The author describes the student-generated questions that arose from learning through drama, as well as the ways in which students repositioned themselves as interpreters of biblical texts. (Contains 1 figure, 2 footnotes, and 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A