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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@saber.towson.edu> Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2000 20:24:13 -0500 (EST) Subject: RE: Problem Kids 'Problem kids' seems to have been discussed at length for the past dozen or so issues. Since I strongly believe that Talmud Torah is a (psychological) solution to everything I have 3 follow up questions/ suggestions which don't seem to have been discussed yet. 1) ARE THESE PROBLEM KIDS REALLY LEARNING? Here is my point: Frequently I meet a bachur in a yeshiva and ask him 'What are you learning? Can you summarize this sugya which you just learned?'. Many yeshiva students go thru the motions of learning 50-100 hours a week but do NOT RETAIN anything. So in conclusion I would like to see studies of RETENTION in Yeshiva students as well as correlations between retention and behavior 2) ARE THESE PROBLEM KIDS GIVEN **ANY** SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY OR ACCOMPLISHMENT: Rav Simcha Wasserman personally told me a story of a 1st grader problem kid. Rav Simchah asked the teachers what part he had in a Purim play. They answered that he was one of the trees in Achashveyros' garden. Rav Simchah suggested making him Haman. The problems of this kid then disappeared. There are many vehicles for giving students a sense of accomplishment eg i) learning mishnayoth by heart, ii) giving divray torah at sheva bracoth, iii) laining, iv) being a baal tefilah. In fact there is a synagogue in Long Beach, NY, Bachuray Chemed which was founded for the sole purpose of allowing teenagers to 'participate' in services. Teenagers run the whole service (under bar mitzvah say psookay dzimrah, the teenagers are chazzanim and lain). 3) COMMENTS AT A RECENT NEFESH CONFERENCE: It is my understanding that at a recent nefesh conference on Mental Health it was pointed out that secular studies of problem kids show that special programs for them can have the reverse effect since it allows them to congregate with each other and learn from each other. Does anyone know EXACTLY what was said? Are there any plans to study effects of special Yeshivas for these students? Russell Hendel; Math; Towson University Moderator Rashi is Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/