Monday, November 29

The Mesorah Classroom

Here's a question:
We often talk about the symposium created in the Torah classroom: "Teachers don't teach, and students don't study; everybody learns" is the nicest way I've heard it put. Reminds you of the best moments you may remember from having been in a Beit Midrash, no?
[The Rav expanded the idea to include not just teacher and student, but all of the hokhmei ha-mesorah: click here.]
In reality what do we do in the day-to-day high school or elementary school classroom to make this happen? Daily schedules, bells, homework, and routine all work against creating this--and, pedagogically speaking, it doesn't happen by accident. The AP reports today on an interesting experiment a college president has undertaken--read about it.
What might such a radical experiment teach us about generating the mesorah experience and "symposium of the generations"? How would it undermine our efforts? What have you done successfully to make it happen?
See that little link for comments to the bottom right? Click on it and share your thoughts (can do so anonymously).


At 10:20 AM, Blogger Perry said...

What we have here is a tension between the need for structure (imposed by the state, teacher requirements, curricular requirements, and so on) and the desire for a more open framework that encourages interaction at all levels.
Interestingly, the best analogy is not the beit midrash itself, but the individual shiur level. That's where the best interaction takes place.
Another analogy that might work here is described by Tom Peters in his work on industry and business - the idea of interaction at the water cooler: the informal contact between different departments leads to cross-fertilization and dissemination of ideas. Perhaps the dining room is a more fertile area for "seminars" than the beit midrash?


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