Monday, July 25, 2011
Looking into Their Shinny Eyes
An interesting TED came my way this week (thanks Sharon) and of course it made me think of how I teach. Benjamin Zander's Feburary 2008 speech on Music and Passion (http://www.ted.com/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html) in which the composer aimed to convince the entire conference to love classical music.
Near the end of the lecture, he made a claim, "The music profession thinks that only 3% of the music population likes classical music; 'if only we could move it to 4% our problems would be over.' How would you walk, talk, be if only we could move it to 4%. How would you walk if you wanted everybody to love classical music but they just haven't found out about it? These are totally different worlds."
What made me connect (and share) Zander's lesson to davening was thinking about the statistical number of schoolmates who enjoy prayer and fearing that it was in the range of 15%. How can educators expand the passion for this holy practice? Is the purpose of the teacher to bump up the percentage a bit to 30% or to inspire the entire school to lifelong love of davening?
When the main goal of a Tefilla is just to "yotzei yedei hovato", to fulfill the communal obligation, there will be a natural disconnect for the inexperienced or disinterested. If a school aims to teach davening, to expand the pool of participants to include everyone, serious questions must be asked regarding the approach to this unique activity in the school schedule.
Zander knows that there can be an impact and that one can see the response in the audiences eyes. When parents and teachers look at their students davening, what do they see?