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The Relevance of Text Structure Strategy Instruction for Talmud Study: The Effects of Reading a Talmudic Passage with a Road-Map of its Text Structure

Jaffe, Yael

This study investigates the effect of access to a visual outline of the text structure of a Talmudic passage on comprehension of that passage. A system for defining the text structure of Talmudic passages was designed by merging and simplifying earlier text structure systems described for Talmudic passages, following principles taken from research on text structure. Comprehension of two passages were compared for students who did traditional reading of a Talmudic passage (the passages had punctuation added, and a list of difficult words and their meanings was appended) (the control condition), and students who read the passage with these same materials as well as with an outline of the text structure of that passage (the experimental condition). Seventy-two 10th and 11th graders participated. After a brief training on text structure, students were randomly assigned to the control or experimental condition for Passage 1. All students took a comprehension exam on Passage 1. In the next session, all students who read Passage 1 in the control condition read Passage 2 in the experimental condition, and all students who read Passage 2 in the experimental condition read Passage 2 in the control condition. Students then took a comprehension exam for Passage 2.
The text structure outline improved students’ ability to comprehend Passage 2, but no benefits were seen on Passage 1. The results provide evidence that awareness of the text structure of a Talmudic passage helps readers when the passage is concrete and somewhat well organized.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Cognitive Studies in Education
Thesis Advisors
Williams, Joanna P.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
December 18, 2015