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From: rhendel@king.mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Sun, 11 Aug 1996 17:31:31 -0400 Subject: Rebeeim teaching secular subjects...A great Solution There have been many recent postings on the high costs of tuition. Some have suggested that we use Rebeeim to teach secular subjects. In particular, my old friend Andy Goldfinger [Vol 24 # 67] described how >>it was a very moving experience to see these bochurim call their calculus >>teacher (who was very much a "black hat" type with long payos) "Rebbe". The >>boys were highly motivated and could not have had a better role model. I strongly support this idea BOTH (a) from an economic point of view (think how much Yeshivoth and parents would save) and also (b) from an educational point of view. Let me elaborate...on the *educational* benefits... by making two points. 1) As a mathematics professor I have seen first hand the so called Calculus "reform" movement that has been sweeping the country the past 10 years. One of the main points of emphasis in calculus reform is providing fresh, new exciting examples of calculus that are relevant. For example, the old calculus texts only had physics examples since the main creator of calculus, Newton, was interested in Physics. Current books, however, have examples from medicine, sociology, learning theory, chemistry, psychology etc. The idea immediately suggests itself that Rebeeim could contribute to calculus teaching by bringing in(& creating!) examples relevant to Judaism. For those skeptical whether calculus can be used in halachah I refer to a recent beautiful short article in BOR HATORAH in which calculus is used to justify some rather difficult concepts in the Talmudic explanation of "majority" (Rov). 2) Most people are unaware that the old educational theories are based on conditioning or stimulus-response theory---that is, you teach a student the correct "response" to each stimulus, similar to the way we teach animals to do tricks(in fact the Hebrew word LMD--learn--comes from MLMD BAKAR..the cow prong..by which the cow is trained to go on the right path). However the newer educational theories emphasize not "training" but imitation. Students learn, the theories say, because they have good role models to imitate . But then, to use Andy's own language about Rebee teachers >>The boys were highly motivated & could not have had a better role model. Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d., ASA, rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu