Applying the Principles of Project Based Learning to Teaching Bible: A Case Study of Teaching Select Commandments in the Book of Deuteronomy
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This qualitative case study was designed to explore with a group of eight 11th and 12th grade students how a promising instructional technique, Project Based Learning, can be applied to the Bible classroom. The rationale for this study emanates from my desire to discover whether this teaching method will advance Bible study. The question that I sought to answer was whether a teacher can successfully implement PBL in the Bible classroom. The sample was composed of eight eleventh and twelfth grade students at the Margolin Hebrew Academy in Memphis. a Modern Orthodox yeshiva high school. Data included in-depth interviews, classroom videos and transcripts, reflective notes, and the final project. The data were coded and organized according to the following research questions: 1. Were the principles of PBL capable of being incorporated into the Tanakh unit? 2. Were the Tanakh standards advanced by this unit? and 3. What was the experience of the students in the Tanakh PBL unit? Analysis and interpretation of findings were organized by way of three analytic categories that were based on the study's conceptual framework: a) the implementation of a PBL unit in a Bible classroom, b) the accomplishment of Bible standards through a PBL unit, and c) the experiences of students in a PBL unit. This research revealed that the principles of PBL can be incorporated with success in a Bible class. The PBL process directly led to learning and achieving many of the Bible teachers' goals providing the students with the lifelong and authentic skill of analyzing a biblical commandment. The students enjoyed the learning, valued the contributions of their peers, and most importantly transformed their views of biblical commandments recognizing their meaning and relevance to a 21st century person. Recommendations are offered for teachers who are engaged in preparing PBL lessons in Bible and for further research possibilities.;Keywords: PBL, Project Based Learning, Tanakh , Bible, Education.