Old-fashioned tactics, frontal teaching methods and rote memorization are de rigueur in more Jewish day schools than we would dare believe. Technology and modern methodology have revolutionized the way we do virtually everything, but many of our day school teachers—especially those in lower-income areas—are still using the archaic techniques of the shtetl cheder. Many Jewish schools face constant financial pressures, struggling student bodies, and disenchanted staff and educators. Often, the schools and children who need the most assistance are the ones who have the fewest resources for improvement and reform. Research demonstrates that the majority of children attending Jewish schools are enrolled in schools where most of the teachers have minimal pedagogical training. More children are at-risk than ever, and despite their good intentions, educators often have little or no tools to help them.
Yet, at the same time, we are blessed with an unprecedented advancement in research and study in the field of education. It is imperative that we bring the modern techniques available through teachers into the classroom.