Multi-Level Instruction: The Matach Program
Our method of dealing with multiple ability levels in the classroom is the creation of homogeneous groupings within the class. In order to accomplish this effectively, the teacher must provide different materials appropriate to each class based on pre-established expectations.
Matach (Center for Educational Technology, Ministry of Education and Culture, Israel) has developed a series of workbooks for teaching Chumash that provide exercises on three different ability levels:
- Perach – The perach level is geared toward the lower level of the class. The goal of perach is to help weak students understand and review the simple meaning of the text.
- Bayit – The bayit level is geared toward the middle level of the class. The goal of bayit is to help students understand and analyze the text, and to begin to develop skills for the study of commentaries.
- Pa’amon – The pa’amon level is geared toward the upper level of the class. The goal of pa’amon is to develop the independent skills of the students in analyzing both the text and the commentaries.
The Matach workbooks have been developed for the books of Breishit and Shemot. The Breishit workbook was designed for second grade classes in Israel, and the Shemot workbook was designed for third grade. The curriculum in the Israeli religious public school system calls for the teaching of the entire books of Breishit and Shemot in those grades. The workbooks, however, do not cover all sections of the books. Furthermore, the Hebrew level of the Breishit workbooks is usually above the level of students who are studying Breishit in Diaspora Jewish day schools. Some schools may find the Hebrew level of the Shemot workbooks appropriate for their fifth grade. Though the possibilities for direct utilization of the workbooks in Diaspora schools is limited, the workbooks can be adapted by the teacher and can also serve as a model for teachers who wish to create their own materials using this methodology.
The following are sample workbook pages from all three levels on Shemot 3:11-12.