About 1 and a half years ago, an exciting new website was launched for learning Gemara, which has been growing in popularity with students and teachers ever since.
Gemara Academy is a website that has both curricula for teachers to use in the classroom and videos for students to watch. It is both a method and tool for learning and teaching.
The Gemara Academy website videos have had over 8,000 plays since its launch. It is also being used in 7 schools, including Darchai Menachem, Hamesivta, Chabad Cheder of Monsey, Cheder at the Ohel, Cheder of Lakewood, Hillel High Milwaukee and Cheder Menachem Mendel of Seattle.
For actual use in classrooms, Gemara Academy has completed the curricula work on the following Gemaras:
1) פרק אלו מציאות
2) פרק המפקיד
3) פרק הכונס
4) פרק החובל
5) פרק כיצד העדים
They are currently working on פרק השוכר את האומנים , which will also be available in videos on the website.
What is the Gemara Academy Method?
The Gemara Academy Method combines a focus on the understanding of the bigger picture and flow of the Gemara as well as a focus on understanding and being able to learn the Gemara text.
One of the most common difficulties is the vast expansiveness of the Gemara that makes it so hard to stay focused and see the structure of the Gemara. Another challenge is the feeling of not knowing what approach and method the Gemara will use in the current Sugya.
To deal with this, Rabbi Hoffinger created a system of teaching using PowerPoint presentations that use flowcharts that show exactly which tools the Gemara uses in each Sugya and the larger map of the Gemara.
Because Gemara is a study of the Mishna, it therefore uses the same tools over and over again; since in the process of analyzing a teaching the same tools are always used. As a result after a very short time the student begins to become more familiar with these tools that the Gemara uses as he sees them used over and over again within the visual context of the flowchart.
One of the important goals of Gemara Academy is that the student come to appreciate the text, and not that the text be replaced with a visual based class. As a result each flowchart is exactly parallel and mirrors the Gemara that it’s teaching. In addition each PowerPoint presentation of the Gemara also has the Gemara text with the Tzuras Hadaf so that the student can become familiar and comfortable with the text.
Gemara Academy seeks to accomplish a number of things:
1) Show the map of the Gemara so that the student can see the bigger picture and not become lost in the details
2) To become familiar with the style and tools that the Gemara uses
3) To see through the flowchart how the ideas in the Gemara are developed
4) To exactly mirror the text so the student comes to appreciate and become comfortable with the text
All of this will help students become more independent in their learning. As they master the style and tools the Gemara uses, they will feel more empowered and able to approach a new piece of Gemara and learn it on their own.
What is the Gemara Academy Tool?
Gemara Academy is designed to be a tool for teaching Gemara in a classroom setting.
The Gemara Academy Curriculum is a PowerPoint based tool that can be used in classrooms for teaching Gemara. This will bring the Gemara to life and color for the students.
It is also designed to be a tool for learning Gemara. The video classes are a personal study partner for a student to learn at their own pace. The video classes can be paused, rewound, or played over again. It can be used to prepare for the next day’s class or for review of the previous day’s class.
The Gemara Academy has just launched a beautiful and new website at http://gemaraacademy.com/.