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Formulating a Curriculum Framework for Torah Study

by: Rabbi Dr Eli Kohn and Mr Gabriel Goldstein

Published in Ten Da’at XIX (January 2007). Appears here with permission.
Introduction
During the last ten years we have had the privilege to develop Jewish Studies curriculum for day schools throughout the Jewish world. This work has been done under the auspices of the Lookstein Center, School of Education, Bar Ilan University.  Despite the obvious cultural differences between North America and England we are struck by the fact that Torah educators, whether they be based in New York or London, lack a shared language with which to describe expectations of what pupils will learn in Torah at various stages. This paper, developed with some financial support from the United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) in London, attempts to develop such a language. It defines a framework within which learning outcomes for different aspects of work in Torah can be accommodated and described in terms of different levels of attainment (standards) in the subject. This framework makes no assumptions about what parts of Torah or the perushim should be taught in depth, or about which texts and associated ideas should be studied in Hebrew or English. It simply helps to ascertain how far aspects that are addressed and taught in a Torah curriculum, have actually been learnt. It is hoped that this paper will be a serious contribution towards the discussion about curriculum benchmarks and standards in Jewish Studies currently being held by educators from both sides of the ocean.
Background
A significant number of schools in England serve Jewish communities that broadly subscribe to an Orthodox ethos as interpreted by the United Synagogue: “Centrist Orthodoxy” for want of a better name. Pupils at these schools come from homes with varied levels of commitment to, and interest in Jewish study and practice.  The writers were invited to visit a large number of schools serving such “Centrist Orthodox” Jewish communities in London and Manchester, England. The visits were undertaken in 2003 by members of the UJIA’s Educational Leadership Team and of the Lookstein Centre at Bar Ilan University. During each visit, lessons and work related to Torah were observed. In response to this series of visits, the UJIA, the Agency for Jewish Education in the UK decided to respond to schools’ needs by supporting a programme of curriculum development and staff training in some pilot elementary schools. Part of this work involved defining framework for analyzing aspects of Torah learning in a way that focuses on learning outcomes. This framework helps curriculum developers to design teaching approaches and materials. It is also intended to help teachers of primary (elementary) and secondary (high) schools to assess pupils’ response to, and progress in Torah study.
This framework was constructed so as to be usable by educators with widely differing views about which texts should be taught and to what depth. It does not specify too precisely curriculum content, methodology or materials as these matters are less likely to command consensus between teachers in schools that cater for learners with widely differing interests and needs. It is hoped that this paper will provoke discussion of the principle of sharing common terms to describe learning outcomes and standards of attainment; indeed, that readers will be inspired to make suggestions for improvement to this framework.
Observations of Teaching Torah in England’s “Centrist Orthodox” Schools
In all the primary schools visited, teachers made reference to the challenge they were experiencing in teaching Torah in a way that stimulates and interests pupils of all backgrounds and abilities. In many schools the teaching of Torah texts – other than the Parashat Hashavua –  is not sustained throughout the year. Nominally, two 40-minute periods a week may be available. In practice, however, these periods are available only when they are not required for topics or events related to, for instance, the Jewish calendar; Israel; or special school occasions.  Moreover, in most schools, teachers feel that the differences in terms of Jewish practice between their pupils and those of other schools prevents the sharing of common approaches to teaching and assessment. Many teachers feel obliged to devise their own approaches to teaching Torah and to produce their own syllabuses, assessment tests and learning materials. It is a genuine hardship for teachers to find the time to undertake such long and medium-term planning, and all this with little professional support or training. Teachers spend much time in working up private approaches and materials for curricula and lessons. At best, they are able to adapt some approaches and materials produced elsewhere to the needs of their own learners.
Despite these heroic efforts to make the study of Torah interesting and relevant, pupils’ learning gains are not always commensurate. Many teachers are disappointed with what they achieve with pupils in the subject and many realize that they are professionally isolated in their work. They may succeed in imparting some love of Torah and some knowledge of Chumash texts in the time available. Generally, however, they have too little time left in lessons, and too few lessons, to empower their pupils, most of whom have little command of Hebrew, to become confident learners, who enjoy Torah text, and can engage with it with little support.
The current professional isolation of many teachers of Torah results in some wasted effort because of a lack of common learning objectives; of well-tested teaching approaches; and of effective, shared resources for teaching and learning. To be sure, there is much evidence that, when teachers are asked about their goals and aspirations for Torah as a subject and what they want their pupils to learn, there is, indeed, much common ground. Almost all teachers interviewed claimed that their goals were:

  1. to instill in all pupils a strong love for the study of Torah;
  2. to equip all pupils with the skills to undertake textual study, using Hebrew texts as far as possible and English as the main tongue for sharing meaning and articulating understanding;
  3. to guide pupils to reflect upon the meaning of Torah, and the implications it has  for their everyday life and conduct;

Some teachers added:

  1. to enable some pupils to be  independent and perceptive in interpreting a range of Torah texts and commentaries.

In spite of this remarkable professional consensus about general goals, there is far less agreement about what specific learning outcomes may be appropriate for each stage of learning. Quite aside from differences over what specific Torah content should be taught at various stages, teachers differ widely in the approaches they adopt in teaching specific content to a specific age group. Different teachers might concentrate on combinations of some or all of the following:

  • teaching a love of the Torah narrative and related traditions and midrashim;
  • teaching the content of verses in Hebrew or English, and with some of Rashi’s commentary on them;
  • drilling and chanting Hebrew Torah texts, often together with their English translation,
  • understanding selected commentaries by Rashi, and why he offers them;
  • teaching Hebrew grammatical forms so as to ensure that pupils comprehend simple Torah texts with minimum support.

Many teachers combine several of these approaches, but without stating clearly what detailed learning outcomes they expect from the majority of pupils, and from pupils who have special needs or who come from a non-religious background. It is not uncommon for pupils in Centrist Orthodox schools to experience uneven progression in Torah studies over the course of a given Key Stage and across Key Stages. (In England, the National Curriculum defines various Key Stages of learning in each general studies discipline. Key Stage 1- is from ages 5-7; Key Stage 2 from ages 7-11; Key Stage 3 from ages 11-14; Key Stage 4 from ages 14-16 and Key Stage 5 is from age 16 onwards.)  This situation contrasts with the way in which progression is treated in most National Curriculum subjects in Jewish state schools (i.e. in subjects outside the realm of Limmudei Kodesh).
Defining Attainment in a National Curriculum Subject of Study
The development and planning of the English National Curriculum for a well-established subject, such as science, was helped by the existence of a shared understanding of standards and of professional practice in teaching the subject. This background of professional experience amongst educators in science provided the context and a common language for practitioners to debate what should constitute the essential content of that subject for all pupils.
In the English National Curriculum, the content to be taught in each subject is, therefore, couched in terms and conventions familiar to educators in that subject; the headings for the various aspects of a subject, for instance, describe its unique characteristics in terms that are well understood. For instance, the headings for the English language curriculum specify three aspects (“Attainment Targets”): Speaking & Listening; Reading; and Writing. In Science, there are four major attainment targets: Scientific Enquiry; Life Processes and Living Things; Materials and their Properties; and Physical Processes. For each attainment target in a subject, the National Curriculum defines various “Level Descriptions”. These set out a progression of standards that describe what pupils achieve at various stages of study. The National Curriculum does not prescribe the methods by which the specified content must be taught or by which such standards of attainment are to be achieved. During an English lesson, for instance, a teacher may well address several targets, such as Reading and Speaking & Listening, and pitch the work at various levels of difficulty as needed by pupils of various abilities and backgrounds.
What Broad Attainment Targets should Pupils Possess in Torah?
In the absence of a National Curriculum for Torah, the writers posed the question to some educators:
“What broad attainments should pupils possess in Torah by the time they are 12 years of age?”
This drew interesting and mostly consistent views from these educators. However, unlike the short titles for attainment targets in English, such as “Reading” or “Writing”, it was necessary for clarity to describe “attainment targets in Torah” using longer titles, ones that state more precisely what the various aspects of Torah study entailed. For instance, discussion identified one attainment target as: “Know events, people and places in the Torah”. Another was to be able to: “Apply skills of Hebrew grammar to comprehension”. After identifying some fourteen titles for attainment targets in Torah study the writers addressed the same question to a second cohort of experienced Jewish studies teachers of Years 3 to 9 (Grades 3 to 9) before revealing the set of fourteen.
These teachers’ answers turned out to be similar in many respects to the fourteen titles identified earlier, though individual teachers used slightly different words to express each title. Several teachers suggested attainment targets that the writers had not included, and these were duly added to the collection. When all the attainment targets identified by any teacher were listed together, they formed a full collection of titles, each of which was fairly distinct, although several competences were clearly dependent on others, or reinforced others. Remarkably, almost every teacher who was asked to identify attainment targets for Torah  immediately identified at least 60% of this full collection. Moreover, when told of a competence in the full collection that he or she had not named, a teacher typically did not hesitate to agree that this too was a valid competence, whether or not it was one that was taught in the teacher’s particular school. This confirms again that teachers do in fact share a significant consensus on what constitutes the broad aspects of Torah study.
The full collection of “attainment targets in Torah study” identified in this way is shown in Table A below.  For convenience, and for consistency with some of the language used in the English National Curriculum, these titles are grouped in three columns as follows:

  • Knowledge titles: These define the Torah content that pupils may be familiar with in terms of events, people, places and historical and geographical contexts, and the amount of Hebrew elements that  pupils command;
  • Skills titles: These describe the grammatical and reading skills in Hebrew, and the plain, literal comprehension skills (in English and Hebrew) that pupils possess and are able to call on when studying Torah;
  • Understanding titles: These describe how pupils use their knowledge and skills to interpret the significance of Torah texts in Hebrew and English and to elicit meaning that lies“between the lines”; and how pupils derive from the close reading of texts implications for their own lives and behaviour.

Within each of these three columns in Table A, the titles are listed in arbitrary order. There is no suggestion that attainment targets with lower reference numbers are easier than those that follow them, or that an earlier title should be taught before those that follow it. Nor is there any suggestion that all pupils must follow all the titles in a column in order to be considered “knowledgeable”, “skilled” or “understanding”. Indeed, it was clear that no individual teacher would address all the possible attainment targets for Torah shown in Table A. This collection of attainment targets is as inclusive as possible in order to reflect the language and broad aspirations for pupils of as many teachers of Torah as possible.
Table A  – Main aspects of attainment in Torah study identified for pupils (aged 7 to 14)  –  15th July 2006

Knowledge

Skills

Understanding

Knowledge of Torah content and vocabulary

Literal comprehension of Torah and some related commentaries in Hebrew & English 

Interpreting texts in Hebrew and English to elicit deeper meaning & implications for us

Pupils…
1.1 Know the source and structure of the Torah
1.2 Know events, people and places in the Torah
1.3 Know geographical features in 
1.4 Know words and key phrases in 
1.5 Know the historical period in which events in the Torah took place
1.6 Know some halachic sections of theTorah
1.7 Know selections of classical perushim and midrashim on Torah
Pupils …
2.1   Have reference skills for locating
Hebrew text and meaning
2.2  Read Torah in Hebrew
2.3  Locate and read perushim in Hebrew
2.4Apply skills of Hebrew grammar to comprehension
2.5 Comprehend translated text 2.6  Comprehend the literal meaning of Torah texts in Hebrew
2.7 Comprehend the literal meaning of the text of a mefaresh in Hebrew
Pupils…
3.1 Understand Torah content in terms of its implications for us
3.2 Understand the impact of particular phrasing, Hebrew grammar and nuance on meaning in Torah
3.3 Analyse and interpret Torah text using textual comparison
3.4 Analyse and interpret the text of a perush or a midrash
Definitions: Torah  = The Pentateuch
Chumash  =  Sefer  =   One of the five

Except where the Aspect title or the context indicates otherwise, the “text” or “passage” referred to may be in English or Hebrew.

Some of the titles shown as columns in Table A above are clearly inter-dependent. To attain the attainment targets in the first (Knowledge) column, one may need to apply some operational targets (eg 2.4 and 2.6) found in the second column (Skills). Conversely, “Knowledge of words and key phrases in Torah”(1.4) and “Knowledge of events, persons and places in Torah” (1.2), are needed to increase a skill, such as 2.6 – “Comprehend the literal meaning of Torah texts in Hebrew”. In turn, the Knowledge and the Skills competences (eg 1.2 and 2.6) can support the development of the attainment targets listed in the Understanding column, eg the ability to “Analyse and interpret Torah text” (3.3) and to “Understand Torah content in terms of its implications for us” (3.1).
What Detailed Attainments Characterise each Attainment Target?
While teachers readily agree on the broad aspects of attainment in Torah that educators strive to teach, they are less used to articulating perceptions about standards of attainment reached by pupils and about progress in the subject. Compared with teachers of many others subjects, teachers of Torah in England have acquired their knowledge of Torah from various sources. They are generally able to describe what they will teach and why, but, unlike teachers of English or science, teachers of Torah in England have no precise language with which to describe their expectations of what pupils will have learnt at various stages. There have so far been few in-service training programmes for teachers of Torah that focus on identifying and assessing pupils’ attainments in Torah.
As worded, each title listed in Table A just describes a wide range of mastery from novice to expert in a particular attainment target.  For instance, the attainment target “2.2   Read Torah in Hebrew” may be realised at several levels. To show whether a learner has this semester reached a higher level of “Reading Torah in Hebrew” than last semester requires a set of “level descriptions” of attainment that will be understood by all teachers, parents and pupils, just as for the National Curriculum subjects described above.
It is by no means easy to devise agreed level descriptions of attainment for Torah.
Teachers had very different, and strongly held views on what constitutes attainment and progress within any one of the attainment targets shown in Table A. Their views diverged particularly when they considered pupils of differing abilities or backgrounds. For many attainment targets, it took much discussion before a sequence of even three or four descriptions could be recognized as representing very easy, harder and yet harder levels of pupil attainment. Some sequences of level descriptions that were initially suggested for describing successive levels of difficulty had to be amended because they appeared to depend too closely on teachers’ understanding of specific content or on the methods by which pupils in particular classes were taught specific content. Such sequences of level descriptions did not command the support of all other teachers consulted. They had to be changed to avoid misunderstandings and to ensure that the language used in two adjacent level descriptions implied to all teachers the same comparative levels of demand on pupils.
For instance, in Competence 1.2 – “Know events, people and places in the Torah”- the first three levels were initially as follows:
1.2.1  Retell events in the parashot studied and the names of people and places involved.
1.2.2  Recall details of a range of stories studied and correctly associate events, people and places in them. 
1.2.3 Identify stories or situations in detail from the parashot studied that possess a particular feature, eg: a well, a dispute, a journey.
It had been thought that this wording would indicate clearly that, at the basic level, pupils would be familiar with, and show knowledge of what happens in the parashot studied in depth, to whom and where. The second level would be to broaden this competence by showing awareness of greater detail within stories, and to familiarity with events and people in more than just the parashot studied in depth. The third level of attainment would indicate an ability to start with a stated feature, and to identify relevant stories that relate to such a feature. It was thought “obvious” that these three statements were “progressive” in level of difficulty!
They may have been progressive for some teachers but not for all. Some teachers were not clear about the level of precision that was expected in the retelling required in 1.2.1. Others were not happy about how sharp the distinction was between 1.2.1 and 1.2.2 as both refer to several events or stories. The distinction between “events” and “stories” was none too clear either. Both 1.2.1 and 1.2.2 were recognized by all to be easier than 1.2.3.  Some more clarification was needed and this was achieved through discussion of what teachers meant by basic knowledge of passages or stories. In Torah, the most basic level of knowing a passage is to know the sequence of events in ONE story, and the characters and places within it. Only then can another level be to recall  details, some of them incidental, in a range of passages. The range of passages from Torah that may be required to demonstrate this second level of attainment also had to be limited for this second level. The two first statements that precede 1.2.3 now read:
1.2.1  Retell events in correct sequence within a passage studied, & recall the people and places involved.
1.2.2  Recall the details in a range of passages associated with particular people or places.
The level descriptions within a particular title in Table A thus had to be neutral to the methodology, or specific content, used in teaching the title. Furthermore, the descriptions had to be simply and unambiguously phrased. Where they were in any way ambiguous teachers invariably differed when they attempted to place descriptions in ascending order of difficulty for learners. Table B shows two stages of development of a set of level descriptions for competences 2.1 and 3.1.
Table B    The Refinement of level descriptions

Current version-July 2006


Version of August 2004

 

2.1 Have reference skills for locating  Hebrew text and meaning
A:  Locating text
2.1.1 Recognise the beginnings and ends of pesukim, perakim and parashot 
2.1.2 Locate text when given its perek and pasukreference  in the Chumash  being studied.
2.1.3 Cite the pasuk, perek and Chumash unaided when referring to text anywhere in Torah.
B:  Using Reference tools
2.1.4 Look up words in notes or wordlists
2.1.5 Look up words in a dictionary, identify-ing their roots and forms correctly.
2.1.6 Look up words and phrases in a concordance by identifying roots correctly and then locating appropriate entries and references.
2.1 Reference Skills.
2.1.1 Recognise beginnings and ends of Chumash verses in the unit being studied.
2.1.2 Correctly refer to a perek and pasuk reference in the Sefer  being studied with a little help from a teacher.
2.1.3 Locate a perek and pasuk reference anywhere in the Chumash independently.
2.1.4 Locate a commentary of a mefaresh such as Rashi and Onkelos. – This description was moved to another competence: “2.3 Locate and read perushim in Hebrew”. At this simplest level, locating Rashi & Onkelos on a page, this is a preparatory Chumash skill.
 
3.1 Understand Torah content in terms of its implications for us.
3.1.1 Express, with support, reflections on the events in a simple story in the parashot studied, and on the likely feelings of any characters involved.
3.1.2 Express unaided the likely perceptions of, and reactions to, events and situations by characters in a story.
3.1.3 Relate a passage or story in Torah to everyday life and discuss, with support, the values it teaches us.
3.1.4 Compare and contrast, with support, the behaviour of characters in Torah, eg.Avram and Noach, and discuss the implications for us.
3.1.5 Discuss unaided the implications for us of accounts  in Torah of behaviour (eg –Yoseph ascribing to G-d the solution to Pharaoh’s dreams); of statements (eg kedoshim tihyu ki kadosh ani) and of mitzvoth (eg vehigadta levincha ).
3.1.6 Independently suggest similarities or differences between the behaviour of various characters in Torah, and draw conclusions about any implications for us (eg. Yaacov’s and Moshe’s concern for doing what is right when they encounter shepherds at the wells).
Understanding the Chumash text and its Implications for us.
3.1.1 Understand a simple Chumash story in the unit being studied and express, with teacher guidance, their own  reflections on the events and the likely feelings of those involved.
3.1.2 Understand a simple text in the unit with little teacher’s guidance, relating it to everyday life and discuss the values that the story is teaching us.
3.1.3 Articulate, with teacher’s guidance, different perceptions of, and reactions to, events and situations that various people involved in a Chumash story might have.
3.1.4 Compare and contrast, with little teacher guidance, the behaviours of two or more characters in the Chumash e.g. Avram and Noach and discuss their implications for us.
3.1.5 Make independent connections between the behaviour of various characters in the Torah e.g. Moshe’s reaction to Hashem regarding the Shi’bud as compared to Avraham’s, and discuss their implications for us.

The descriptions on the right column of Table B were too wordy. They contained too many opportunities for reaching slightly conflicting interpretations of meaning. This reduced the likelihood of all teachers identifying the same progression of difficulty. Difficulties arose where a set of level descriptions for an attainment target contained statements that could not be compared easily with others from the set. Thus, in descriptions 2.1.3 and 2.1.4 on the right in Table B, one is talking about referring to a place in a text determined by an EXTERNAL key (pasuk, perek, sefer), while the other refers to finding relevant text based on an INTERNAL criterion, eg the letters in a word or a dibbur hamatchil in a perush.  It became clear, therefore, that this competence of “Reference skills” was  more complex than anticipated and had to be subdivided to ensure that the progression of difficulty was transparent (see the 2.1 descriptions in the left hand column in Table B).
The greatest enemy of clarity was the composite description (see 3.1.1- 3.1.5 on the right). To achieve unanimity in leveling, it was necessary to reduce each description to a single, simple concept and avoid double-edged expressions (eg: “with little teacher support”) by using pithier forms, (eg, “unaided”, see the left hand column in Table B). An extra level description could sometimes provide help in differentiating further between levels but it was more common for proposed sets of descriptions to be reduced in number to ensure that the levels described were sufficiently distinct from one another.
It was clear that teachers needed to be given examples in order to clarify some descriptions or the meaning of specific phrases within them. These have been included where necessary. Nevertheless there is a danger that including examples may limit the reader because the examples do not span entire range of meanings which a description is intended to encompass.
Table C below shows the level descriptions for all the competences shown in Table A. Together the attainment targets and corresponding level descriptions form a framework of curriculum expectations. This framework does not prescribe what sections of Torah text or ideas must be taught. Nor does it imply that all attainment targets must be taught. The framework merely suggests what knowledge, skills and understanding could be gained though the study of any texts or text-related topics that a teacher chooses to teach, and what some stages of attainment might be for pupils following such Torah study, using the teacher’s chosen texts or topics.
The grouping of the 18 titles shown in Table A does not imply that the best way to learn each of them is to concentrate on one competence at a time to the exclusion of the others. However, a teacher choosing to address a particular target in Table A might consult the corresponding set of level-descriptions before constructing a scheme of work or curriculum as this could help in framing detailed and progressive learning objectives. This language of learning objectives might also be used in assessment in due course and in communications with other teachers, with pupils and their parents.
A discussion of  methodologies of teaching the knowledge, skills and understanding identified  in the curriculum framework shown in Table C is clearly beyond the scope of this paper. But, as in any other subject of the curriculum, skills, knowledge and understanding in Torah are usually best nurtured and developed in parallel, and on an ongoing basis.
Conclusion
We feel that the construction of this curriculum framework has been instructive for all concerned. For the writers it has been a learning experience in interpreting teachers’ perceptions of the language of Torah teaching. For teachers consulted it has been an eye-opener of how much they have in common with other practitioners and yet how limited communication has so far been between professionals in this sphere.
The level descriptions in the Framework have been used to shape and focus the learning outcomes in unit and lesson plans for Torah that are currently being piloted in some UK schools. We are hoping to design assessment tasks that are enjoyable and provide evidence of pupils’ attainment at various levels in their Torah learning. Above all, by further improving the wording and sensitivity of the level descriptions in this Framework, we hope to enhance the quality of unit planning and assessment in any Torah classroom, whether or not the teacher adopts the teaching methods or content used in the English pilot schools.
All this material is work in progress, and the writers would very much welcome readers’ comments concerning the desirability of such a framework for Torah study, and suggested modifications of its content or presentation.
Thanks
The writers wish to thank most sincerely Rabbanit Sorrel Fisher, the head of the Jewish Studies Curriculum Partnership (JSCP) that is based at the Agency for Jewish Education in London. Her participation in revising early drafts of this curriculum framework was highly valued, as is her continued support in applying many of the level descriptions in the current Chumash Curriculum Project for English Primary schools. Thanks are also due to the many educators who have agreed to be interviewed and to review the lists of attainment targets (Table A) as well as to validate and modify selected sets of level descriptions (Table C). Without their patience and assistance in refining the language used to identify levels of worthwhile work in aspects of Torah study, the material would not have been worth sharing with educators worldwide.
Rabbi Dr Eli Kohn & Mr Gabriel Goldstein
November 2006
Table C:  A Curriculum Framework for Torah study for 7 to 14 year olds:  – JSCP 15th July 2006
Sets of Level descriptions for the competences shown in Table A
 

Knowledge

Skills  

Understanding

Knowledge of Torah Content & vocabulary

Literal comprehension of Torah and some related commentaries in Hebrew & English

Interpreting Texts in Hebrew and English to elicit deeper meaning & implications for us   

Pupils…
1.1 Know the source and structure of the Torah.
1.1.0 Know that Torah was given by G-d
1.1.1 Recall the names of the five Chumashim of the Torah in order.
1.1.2 Recall the names of the parashot  in a Chumash in their correct order.
1.2 Know events, people and places in the Torah.
1.2.1 Retell events in correct sequence within a passage studied, & recall the people and places involved.
1.2.2 Recall the details in a range of passages associated with particular people or places.
1.2.3 Identify any stories or situations in the parashot studied that possess a particular feature, e.g. a well; a dispute; a journey; asking for a favour or for a change of mind.
1.2.4 Place in chronological order events occurring  in one Chumash.
1.2.5 Place in chronological order events occurring in several Chumashim.
1.2.6 Know associations between events, places and people, mentioned in Toraheg the Avot & the cave of Machpela;  the esser mackot in Mitzrayim; meraglim & the land of Canaan & 40 years in the midbar.
1.2.7 Independently locate accounts of events and places mentioned in Torah, eg in order to prepare for further study.
1.3 Know geographical features in the Torah.
1.3.1 Locate on a map, places associated with events in the parashot studied, eg Avram’s journeys.
1.3.2 Locate on a map, cities & countries that are mentioned in a Chumash.
1.3.3 Locate on a map, cities, countries and borders (eg rivers) that are mentioned in Torah.
1.4  Know words and key phrases in the Torah 
1.4.1 Command a sight vocabulary of 80 common Hebrew words and key phrases from the parashot studied, including common forms of nouns, adjectives and verbs.
1.4.2 Fluently recall 10 key phrases from the parashot studied.
1.4.3 Command a sight vocabulary of 160 common Hebrew words, including roots, from the sefer or Chumashim studied.
1.4.4 Fluently recall 30 key phrasesfrom the Torah.
1.4.5 Command a working vocabulary of 350 common Hebrew words and roots in the Torah.
1.5  Know the historical period in which events of the Torah took place.
1.5.1 Identify, on a time-line, events encountered in a parasha .
1.5.2 Identify, on a time-line, the order of events encountered in a sefer .
1.5.3 Identify, on a time-line, the order of events encountered in Torah.
1.5.4 Consistently identify associations between events in Torah and parallel historical events, or their historical background, eg the Egyptians and their Nile god; idol worship and privileges of its priesthoods; Hyksos conquest of Egypt and vayakom melech chadash; Hammurabi’s code and the rights of Hebrew slaves.
1.6 Know some halachic sections of the Chumash.
1.6.1 Identify the parasha in which a particular halachic theme, eg Pessach Mitzrayim, is specified.
1.6.2 Know the details specified for mizvothin a particular passage studied
1.6.3 Recall a range of halachic detail from different passages studied in the Torah, and explain its plain meaning, eg aspects of a festival mentioned in different passages.
1.6.4 Independently locate halachic detail and its context in passages of Torah (Eg Shabbath;  lo tevashel gedi bachalev imo.)
1.7 Know selections of a range of classical perushim and midrashim on Chumash.
1.7.1 Know that a perush or midrash is not part of the Torah text.
1.7.2 Recall the commentary of a particular mefaresh on a pasuk in the parashastudied.
1.7.3 Recall the commentaries of a range of mefarshim on passages in the parashotstudied; know the approximate chronological order of these mefarshim.
1.7.4 Know examples of Midreshei Aggadahand Midreshei Halacha and differences between the two.

Pupils…

2.1  Have reference skills for locating Hebrew text and meaning 
A:  Locating text
2.1.1 Recognise the beginnings and ends of pesukim, perakim and parashot.
2.1.2 Locate text when given its perek and pasuk reference  in the Chumash  being studied.
2.1.3 Cite the pasuk, perek and Chumashunaided when referring to text anywhere in Torah.
B:  Using Reference tools
2.1.4 Look up words in notes or wordlists.
2.1.5 Look up words in a dictionary, identify-ing their roots and forms correctly.
2.1.6 Look up words and phrases in a concordance by identifying roots correctly and then locating appropriate entries and references.
2.2 Read Chumash in Hebrew
2.2.1 Read words accurately, accentuating syllables correctly.
2.2.2 Read phrases accurately and fluently, ie without effort or hesitation..
2.2.3 Read a pasuk accurately and fluently as a sequence of phrases. Recognise etnachta & sof pasuk.
2.2.4 Read pesukim fluently and without effort, using etnachta & sof pasuk.
2.2.5 Use the main separator ta’amim in a pasuk (ie: zakef katan; zakef gadol; tipcha  as well as the etnachta) as punctuation marks when reading pesukim, unaided.
2.2.6 Read independently a range of Torah texts in an accurate, fluent and appropriately punctuated manner.
2.3 Locate & read Perushim in Hebrew.
2.3.1 Accurately read letters in Rashi script.
2.3.2 Locate on a page, and read, a short, simple, vowelled Rashi  with support.
2.3.3 Read a short simple vowelled Rashi unaided with fluency.
2.3.4 Recognise key essential phrases  in Rashi such as:דבר אחר, דבור המתחיל. and main  rashei tevoth, e.g. ר”י ד”א.
2.3.5 Locate a perush in a perek, and read it aloud with intonation and expression.
2.4 Apply skills of Hebrew grammar to comprehension  
2.4.1 Identify four common prefixes, eg  ,ל, ה,ו,מ and two common suffixes, eg ו and ך, in the parashot studied.
2.4.2 Identify all the common prefixes, and suffixes such as   ת,ה,י,ם, in the parashotstudied.
2.4.3 Apply knowledge of vocabulary and roots to lend meaning to unfamiliar words or structures, eg mikra’ey kodesh.
2.4.4 Know when a Vav is a Vav Hahipuch and when it is a  Vav Hachibur.
2.5 Comprehend translated text
2.5.1 Read a translation of a text to gain information.
2.5.2 Explain the plain meaning of a translated text in terms of the story, topics or characters involved.
2.5.3 Compare and contrast words or phrases in different selected texts, eg to determine correspondence or incongruity between one version of a story, statement or mitzva and another.
2.5.4 Summarise the main messages of a passage of text, eg a perek or story.
2.5.5 Summarise the main messages of aparasha or Chumash.
2.6 Compehend the literal meaning of Torah Texts in Hebrew
2.6.1 Read an uncomplicated pasuk in the parashot studied and comprehend its plain meaning with support.
2.6.2 Read a pasuk in the Torah and comprehend its plain meaning unaided, apart from use of reference tools.
2.6.3 Explain in own words the plain meaning of a passage in Torah, unaided apart from use of reference tools, eg notes. Read the text with intonation and expression that show comprehension.
2.6.4 Identify words or roots in a text that provide keys or clues to its overall themes or messages (mila mancha).
2.6.5 Comprehend unfamiliar, uncomplicated text in Torah, unaided apart from reference tools and perushim.
2.6.6 Show awareness of the difference between Peshat and Derash when studying a text to comprehend it.
2.7 Comprehend the literal meaning of the text of a Mefaresh in Hebrew.
2.7.1 Read an uncomplicated perush on text being studied and comprehend its plain meaning with support.
2.7.2 Explain in own words the plain meaning of a perush on an unfamiliar verse, unaided apart from use of reference tools. Demonstrate comprehension, eg, through fluent reading with expression.
2.7.3 Explain in own words the plain meaning of perushim and midrashim on a range of Torah passages, unaided apart from reference tools.
2.7.4 In studying a perush on a passage, independently apply reference skills to look up words and phrases elsewhere related to that text, in order to ascertain how this mefaresh explains them. (E.g. Onkelos on “מקדם“)

Pupils…
3.1   Understand Torah content in terms of its implications for us.
3.1.1 Express, with support, reflections on the events in a simple story in the parashot studied, and on the likely feelings of any characters involved.
3.1.2 Express unaided the likely perceptions of, and reactions to, events and situations by characters in a story.
3.1.3 Relate a passage or story in Chumash to everyday life and discuss, with support, the values it teaches us.
3.1.4 Compare and contrast, with support, the behaviour of characters in Torah, eg.Avram and Noach, and discuss the implications for us.
3.1.5 Discuss unaided the implications for us of accounts  in Chumash of behaviour (eg –Yoseph ascribing to G-d the solution to Pharaoh’s dreams); of statements (eg kedoshim tihyu ki kadosh ani) and of mitzvoth (eg vehigadta levincha).
3.1.6 Independently suggest similarities or differences between the behaviour of various characters in Torah, and draw conclusions about any implications for us (eg. Yaacov’s and Moshe’s concern for doing what is right when they encounter shepherds at the wells).
3.2 Understand the impact of particular phrasing, Hebrew grammar and nuance on meaning in Torah 
3.2.1 Show, with support, eg by acting out, how certain words and phrases in a sentence describing a situation or event provide clues about the likely feelings or intentions of those involved. With  support, suggest how fewer, or alternative, words or phrases might have offered fewer, or different, clues. (Eg: hesitation in Vayelech, vayikach, vayaveh le’imo… OR:  Lashon Yateira in: Et bincha, et yechidcha, asher ahavta, et Yitchak)
3.2.2 In a particular passage, show unaided how (repetition of) certain words, phrases or Hebrew roots can provide clues about likely feelings, intentions or leading ideas.  (Eg:Vatere Sarah et ben Hagar …… metzahek  …then  ….“Lo yirash ben ha’ama hasot im beni im Yitzhak”…  then .Vayera hadavar me’od … al odot beno …)
3.2.3 Understand that, in general, the Hebrew language of Torah may allow a phrase, pasuk or passage to be interpreted in different ways. Identify, with support, examples of such “ambiguities”(Ribbui mashma’uyot) in the parashot studied, and how interpreting an ambiguity one way or another has implications for understanding such material. (Eg: the implications of different interpretations of : tzaddik tamim bedoratav; OR of  vaya’as  lahem batim (who made these?).
3.2.4 Have a breadth of understanding of Hebrew phrasing and grammar to notice and point out (i) unexpected grammatical forms and phrasing in Hebrew Torah texts and (ii)  differences and similarities of language used in related phrases or passages. (Eg:…Vayachanu… …vayichan sham Yisrael neged hahar OR the occurrence of Lashon Haser, as in  …vayishtachavu…… ve’achar ba’ooMoshe veaharon,  …el Par’oh…..)
3.2.5 Independently derive meaning and values from Torah by carefully interpreting nuances of language in (different) texts, including the interpretations of mefarshim. (Eg: the meaning and values from the juxtaposition of “Hayesh H bekirbeinu im ayin?” and  Vayavo Amalek  vayilachem. OR from the apparent omission of information or word in a phrase, such as who the subject is of: vayimshechu vaya’alu and yosef min habor.) 
3.3  Analyse and interpret Chumash text using textual comparison
3.3.1 Identify and derive meaning and values, with support, from differences and similarities of language used in two separate passages in the  parashot studied. (Eg: kabed et avicha ve’et imecha  vs ish imo ve’aviv titau;  or ….vayelech ito Lot, inCh 12,  vs  ..velot imo hanegbah,  in Ch 13 of Bereshit)
3.3.2 Compare and contrast unaided, parallel or related texts in Torah in terms of meaning and values.
3.3.3 Independently, derive meaning and values from interpreting parallel or related texts in Torah, using perushim, or own previous knowledge of texts.
3.4 Analyse and interpret the text of a perush or midrash.
3.4.1 Explain why a perush or midrashcomments on a phrase in the text being studied.
3.4.2 Compare and contrast two or more perushim of a text being studied and possible reasons for each of them.(Eg:   Explain why Rashi uses a Midrash Aggada to clarify text alongside a Peshat).
3.4.3 Explain the respective strengths of different views expressed by perushim about a text in Torah, and support a favoured view, or one’s own independent explanation, with good evidence.
3.4.4 Resolve apparent problems in Torah by examining a range of relevant texts, comparing the views of commentators and drawing conclusions.