Immigrant student to bestselling author
Aharon Rosen was born in 1905 in Klausenberg, then part of Hungary (now in Romania), and educated at the local Talmud Torah and in the community's Jewish school. In 1924 he came to Israel with his parents, and studied the Classics and Judaism in Jerusalem.Aharon spent his younger years with his family in Kfar Gideon, a settlement in Northern Israel founded by Transylvanian immigrants like him. There, he volunteered to organize Hebrew classes for newer arrivals.
Pride in the nation, passion for its language
Imbued with the vibrant Israeli spirit of the time, his classes became immensely popular. As German immigration also increased, Rosen taught more and more often. He became aware that teaching Hebrew was his vocation.
His love of the language made him a gifted teacher, whose classes were always in high demand. Deeply compassionate, he understood the difficulties faced by his students who had to learn a new and complex language as adults, far from home. He sought to make immigrants' first years in Israel pleasurable and rewarding - rather than frustrating - by helping them to reach language proficiency as quickly as possible.
The art of tuition, the love of teaching
Rosen worked tirelessly to hone teaching methods geared for adult learners. A highly successful multi-stage curriculum model was the fruit of his labor. It is still used by many modern institutions. In 1950, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem invited him to teach foreign students.
He became head of the Hebrew Department, a position he retained until his final day. The Ministry for Education and Culture commissioned his texts to answer the needs of rising numbers of immigrants arriving during the 1950s. In the 1980s, his Thousand Hebrew Words series of textbooks became bestsellers, and are still recognized as the definitive Hebrew tuition text for immigrants and foreign students.
His many writings include theoretical works translated into seven languages - and See, Hear and Read - for tuition of dyslexic students. He wrote numerous articles addressing specific problems in adult language instruction, and was the first teacher invited by Edwin Samuel (2nd Viscount Samuel) to broadcast radio classes during the British Mandate
Rosen in others' eyes
In Rosen Memorial Volume - Essays on the Teaching of Hebrew as an Additional Language (1975), Rosen is described by Ben-Zion Fischler and Uzzi Ornan:
"Aharon Rosen loved his country and his people, and saw his role in teaching new Israelis to speak Hebrew as his service to the nation. He proudly fought for Jerusalem in the War of Independence as a member of the Haganah.
"Rosen's passion inspired his students, his colleagues, and all those who came into contact with him on his many trips through Diaspora states. (...)
"... At the World Hebrew Foundation congress in Jerusalem, a representative who had traversed the Iron Curtain spoke, telling the participants how he personally had learnt Hebrew from Rosen’s radio broadcasts. He asked that Rosen stand, and thanked him on behalf of all Russian Jews for the invaluable gift he had given them. An emotional Rosen responded: "Your gratitude has made my life worthwhile."
Ben-Zion Fischler and Uzzi Ornan (1975)
The Teaching Methods of Aharon Rosen
Humans are endowed with the remarkable ability to share their thoughts and desires, not by sound and gesture alone, but via complex, clearly enunciated sounds that any listener can understand. Education governs the level, expressive richness and variety of each individual's use of language, however we all possess an equal capacity for speech.
Without a doubt, the capability to learn language is innate and may be activated more than once, for more than one language. However, it diminishes in adults once they cease to apply it.
Thus, when teaching an adult a new language, the aim is to awaken this natural talent from its dormancy and reinforce it with tasks.
Words, phrases, rules and exercises must be imparted in such a way that the student organically absorbs and assimilates the language as a whole.
It is helpful to encourage students to enunciate and formulate sentences without worrying about every intonation, word and nuance. Students must be taught to concentrate their efforts on expressing what they wish, not on the way they express it.
The initial stage is vital to stimulating language-learning ability and creating the basis for a new language. The foundations for future study are laid at this stage. Teachers must ensure that they are solid.
If lessons are given at suitable intervals, students should absorb lesson content easily, gradually putting what they have learned into practice. Desired outcomes of the first stage of tuition are:
|Positive results encourage students to continue to study and excel.|
|A solid foundation is laid, allowing for further Hebrew study in progressively advancing levels.|