liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
So my two former bar mitzvah students want to carry on with Hebrew now they've both completed their ceremonies. They've said they'd like to do a bit more conversational modern Hebrew as well as just practising prayerbook reading. Does anyone have any recommendations for textbooks?

The boys are 13 and 15, both reasonably academically able and reasonably committed. They can read fairly fluently, but have very little vocab or grammar at the moment. They're also extremely busy and probably won't have huge amounts of time for practice in between their fortnightly lessons. My options at the moment are:
The textbook recommended by the GCSE exam board. I'd generally like the boys to be thinking about GCSE sort of level, not that they hugely have to pass exams but as a streching, but attainable, target. The problem is that the book looks incredibly dated and dull and I don't feel inspired to teach from it!

Or Routledge Introductory Course in Modern Hebrew. I think this is basically aimed at beginners, but beginners who are university students or otherwise quite advanced in general language skills. It's really quite heavy on grammar, and might be overkill for a couple of years of informal lessons for teenagers.

I can't find anything I like better than these two options. I don't want a course that is primarily audio for self-learning, because I'm going to be there teaching and keeping up reading fluency is a big priority. And I don't want just a vocab list or beginners' dictionary. The younger boy suggested using a tourist phrasebook, which might work but ideally I'd like something more like a textbook and less like lists of phrases to rote learn.

Secondly, I still have not succeeded in giving the younger lad his bar mitzvah present, because everything I could think of is out of print and not for sale for reasonable money. I would like to give him a good work of popular non-fiction, something enjoyable to read but also informative. He's quite interested in politics and world affairs, which is a subject I know little about. And he's pretty bright but not especially precocious, I think he'd get more out of something accessible or even aimed at teenagers, than something hardcore academic.

I'm thinking something about the level of Jared Diamond's Guns, germs and steel, except not that because I'm now aware that Diamond not only plays fast and loose with scholarly accuracy, he conducted some rather unethical ethnographic research and published identifying stories about his subjects without their permission. And I have in mind that there used to be a journalist who did short programmes on Radio 4 about US politics and culture, and that he died a few years ago (?) and that prior to that he had written a book of anecdotes that this young man might enjoy, but that's not enough information to shake his name out of Google, does anyone have any clue whom I'm talking about?

So. Anyone who's taught conversational Hebrew, any recs? And in a less specialist query, what's the most interesting popular non-fiction book you've read lately?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-16 03:59 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Various books by Charles Mann reminds me of Guns, Germs, and Steel, but are better researched and better written.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-03-16 02:26 pm (UTC)
rysmiel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rysmiel
I was going to put in a mention for Mann, particularly 1491, which is a very interesting survey of new and newish but not yet widely disseminated information about the people and history of the Americas before Columbus. 1493, which is more about global trade patterns, is also good but much more of that information struck me as already floating around in other forms.
Edited Date: 2017-03-16 02:27 pm (UTC)

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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