Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “Teach students how to learn.”

The first role of the teacher and school is to teach students how to learn–which is very different from transmitting information.  

A coach who teaches someone to run will not run for him; he will teach him how to do the running.  

This holds true for every subject.  

To really teach means to get into the mind of the student, to see why he can’t grasp a certain subject, and how the problem can be overcome.  

The second role of the teacher and school is to help form the student’s character.

This goes far beyond intellectual pursuit.  

Yet the Talmud is a highly intellectual pursuit, and, furthermore, most Torah study is not about morality or sanctity: it is about litigation, laws of purity, sins and crimes of various kinds, etc. 

How come?  

It is because character education is not achieved through direct exhortation such as ‘be nice,’ ‘be honest,’ etc.  

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz