Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy (28 September 2017, 8 Tishrei, 5778)
What are the elements of Jewish pedagogy which make it so successful?
Regarding the teaching of children:
I have had only a brief direct experience on this matter and through my family a peripheral contact.
This is not very much but it has been enough to make general impressions:
The Rabbinical teachers are taught to care for their pupils.
Despite some exceptions this works. They really do care and are genuinely dedicated.
They do not under-estimate their charges.
They are always looking for the special talent, the individual aptitude.
A child who shows even a little promise will receive immense positive feedback.
A child who has problems will be helped.
Problems will usually be dealt with quickly, professionally, and with compassion.
The overseers of the Rabbinical pedagogical staff will usually be up to date with academic appreciation of educational method.
They will usually ignore such findings in practice but if there is anything there it will be taken cognizance of.
They will not dumb down the material to be learnt but rather find ways to effectually teach it.
Learning will often be enjoyable and exhilarating.
Learning will be prioritized. Everything else will be evaluated to the degree that it helps the learning.
Learning means practice. A pupil who does not put into practice what he has learnt does not know the material.
The height of human endeavors should be to do the will of God.
The God of Israel wants you to learn.
Deuteronomy (NKJV) 4:
9 Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, 10 especially concerning the day you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb, when the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’...
39 Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.