Religious Instruction



Résumé, summary

The Laws and Customs IT courseware package on sabbath observance provides teachers in religious schools with the opportunity to enrich their pupils' knowledge and improve their observance through the medium of sophisticated technology. The "enquiry approach" method in which the pupil uses simulation and databases in order to study issues dealing with sabbath observance motivates them to implement in their daily lives what they learn in the school classroom. Thus the coursware affords the school the opportunity to carry out its educational policy of providing knowledge to its pupils as well as influencing their religious observance.

Discipline, subject :

pédagogie pedagogy

Public :

primaire Primarschule primary school primario cycle d'orientation Sek I, BWK lower high school ciclo d'orientamento

Contacts :

Katz, Yaacov J

School of Education, Bar-Ilan University

Tel : 972 3 5318444
Mail :
Fax : 972 3 5353319

Pédagogie, pedagogy :

Religious Instruction is one of the major subjects studied in the religious sector of the Israeli state elementary school system (encompasses 30% of all schools). One of the central topics in RE is that of Laws and Customs. Laws and Customs are studied in order to familiarise pupils with practical aspects of Jewish religious law and the ways and means of implementing this knowledge in daily life.

Apprentissage, learning :

The Laws and Customs dealing with sabbath observance are of paramount importance in the Jewish religion. However, traditional study of content matter pertaining to the sabbath usually meets with resistance because of technicalities, perceived as boring by the pupils, that are part and parcel of information relevant to sabbath observance. Thus IT courseware was compiled in order to teach sabbath Laws and Customs in an attractive way, utilising IT which is known to serve as a motivating instructional and learning methodology.

Enseignement, teaching :

The central issues dealt with in the courseware are those pertaining to knowledge and practical sabbath observance. Thus teachers utilise the courseware to motivate their pupils by "enquiry approach" methodology to investigate the different aspects of sabbath Laws and Customs and their practical implementation in daily life. Pupils are taken on a "tour" of the sabbath and presented with problems pertaining to the observance of different laws and customs and solutions to these problems are provided through the use of simulation and databases which are intrinsically incorporated into the courseware.

Technique :

The ability to utilise the courseware which, as mentioned above includes simulation and databases, makes demands of the teacher who must master the courseware prior to using it as an instructional and learning aid. Teachers at the elementary school level are not usually proficient in advanced IT use, thus it is imperative that any teacher utilising the Laws and Customs sabbath observance program will have to undergo intensive INSET training that will prepare him or her to use the particular IT courseware package described in this "success story" proficiently.

Société, society :

The most important social issue emanating from the study of Laws and Customs through the medium of IT is the practical level of sabbath observance of the pupils participating in the learning program. Schools belonging to the religious sector of the state elementary educational system are acutely aware that their educational success is dependent on the implementation of religious practices learnt at school in the pupils' daily lives. Thus social recognition of the school's success will depend of the way pupils transfer the knowledge gained through the medium of IT into their life styles.

Culture :

Pupils of different ethnic and learning backgrounds are able to adapt to the more attractive IT sabbath obsevance Laws and Customs program because of its intrinsic motivating properties. Pupils coming from families with different levels of religious observance are able to progress through the courseware at their own pace and level of understanding and reach the same achievement levels as pupils with other levels of religious knowledge and observance.

Institution :

As the school principal is autonomous in deciding how may hours are allocated to any particular topic it is up to the individual school to decide whether to use the IT courseware for Laws and Customs and how many weekly hours will be allocated to the topic. The individual school will also decide which classes will use the IT Laws and Customs courseware.

Logistique :

A qualified technician must be available to assist the teachers using the IT Laws and Customs courseware as its operation is technologically complicated (for the time being). The inclusion of simulation and databases require expert troubleshooting, which can only be carried out by a qualified technician, from time to time.

Remarques, remarks :

Religious schools are in serious need of any instructional and learning methodologies and materials that can contribute to the improvement of religious knowledge and observance of their pupils. The IT courseware on Laws and Customs (sabbath observance) provides the schools with an effecient and interesting educational aid that has the potential to fulfill the needs of the schools and to improve their contribution to the sector of society which they serve.