Educational Resources Jewish Pedagogies Resources The Pedagogy of Asking: A Methodology for Crafting Artful Questions
January 2022

The Pedagogy of Asking: A Methodology for Crafting Artful Questions

Leah Kahn
Senior Director, Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Experience
Hillel International
Leah Kahn is the Director of Educational Development at Hillel International. She holds a BA in Dance Performance and Arts Entrepreneurship from Columbia College Chicago, a Masters in Jewish Studies and Experiential Education from the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies and a certificate in Jewish Studies from The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. She is a 2016 Pomegranate Prize recipient (Covenant Foundation), a 2018 recipient of the Fromer Award in Arts and Education for her work as a choreographer (East Bay Federation), and received the Katz Innovation Award from the Office of Innovation in 2018. She is also a certified yoga teacher, a lover of Torah, a lifelong modern dancer, a Shabbat enthusiast and a mean vegan cook. She lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband Darrell, and their kids, Hadar and Nadav.
When asking questions, a clear and intentional approach can make a world of difference in our students minds and hearts.

Whether it’s through content design, class preparation or teaching itself, Teachers of Torah spend a great deal of time immersed in content. Jewish learning can inspire multifaceted relationships to sources that we hope reach into the innermost chambers of the hearts of our students. But once we are clear about the content and concepts we wish to explore, how do we ensure that Torah can jump off the page and into their lives, encouraging them to derive personal meaning from text? The artful crafting of questions by educators can increase the likelihood that a variety of learners, from emergent Torah enthusiasts to day school graduates and beyond, have an increased ability to learn, make sense of and derive personal meaning from text. This can result in students seeing themselves as spiritual entrepreneurs of their own lives and can lead them to making meaningful choices about how to accentuate their values, decisions and movement in the world through inspired learning. For teachers, this pedagogy can empower them to become clear on how to curate a “learning journey” for their students during preparation time, and enable them to strategically “dance” with their students when teaching. For students, this methodology will help them feel held in a learning space, give them deeper access to text faster and ensure that a variety of learners can be successful learning in the same space together from the text, teacher and one another. So, how do we create meaningful questions to both scaffold and bring our students into relationship with text?