In a classroom, the rebbe or the teacher is like the doctor of the class. The same way a doctor must be able identify different signs a patient is showing in order to treat the illness, so too an educator must be able to identify the various “symptoms” a student may exhibit, when struggling, in order to best manage the child within the classroom.
Recently, Dr. Judah Weller, director of PTACH, spoke to an Aish Dos/ Torah Umesorah fellowship cohort of 25 select principals from across the country. In the classroom, students may be struggling with a variety of issues that hinder them from processing the material that is being presented. Dr. Weller posed a question to the principals and asked if they had students in their classes who struggle with attention, memory, language, or cognition issues. The principals freely admitted that they have many such students with these difficulties. Dr. Weller then went on to explain that in order to deal with these issues, teachers first must be able to identify and then have a basic understanding of how these learning pathways work. For example, if a student struggles with attention issues and teachers can pinpoint the component of attention as the root of the issue, they are better able to manage the problem and deal with it appropriately. Dr. Weller went on to teach the principals many different methods and techniques in order to recognize these core impediments that would surely stunt a child’s growth.
In closing, Dr. Weller told the group that in today’s world of diverse learners, educators need to come to the classroom with a basic understanding of how children learn.
Dr. Weller is PTACH’s national director. For further information or to come visit one of PTACH’s center based model programs located at Bais Yaakov D’Rav Meir Elementry, Yeshiva University Girl’s High School, Yeshiva University Boys High School, Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin Elementary and High School, please call 718-854-8600, ext. 102. v