Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Educator Guest Post: Tzvi D. Daum

I am ever looking for educators that are experimenting with successful approaches to davening. If you, or someone you know, dabbles in the craft of teaching tefilla, please suggest they contact the blog.  

The following post is from Tzvi D. Daum, an experienced educator who actively incorporates technology into his classroom.  He is also the creator of

In my school, I daven together with a group of 6-8 graders with the type of background I described in my Lookjed post.. many of them come from homes where parents hardly go to shul and if they do.... I find that even in very religious schools teffillah is very hard for this particular age group and I believe it is a struggle all around. As such, our main focus has been to train students about how to "act" during davening. The number one rule being not disturb others who wish to daven (talking etc) and to respect the sanctity of a shul, keep siddur open to the place etc. Hopefully once they get older they will know how to act in a shul and feel comfortable there. My understanding is that for better or for worse we are not the only ones with this attitude...

Having said that we do speak twice a week during Shacharit about the importance of prayer and different aspects of it. Also, we recently introduced a "Minyonaires Club" where students are graded in four general areas 1) coming on time 2) Not talking 3) Saying certain parts of davening out loud (and the fourth category escapes me at the moment...maybe it is having the place) any event, the daily results are put on a chart in the hallway and students enjoy checking it. Basically one successful day entitles students to an ice cream at lunch, a successful week is some other prize and after a month there is a catered lunch and the students have their pictures hanging on the wall in shul as members of the club (there is some leeway for the occasional messup). I apologize for not being up on all the details as I don't actually administer the program, however I can certainly speak to the ones who do and get you some feedback as to its effectiveness to date. I would say we introduced it about six weeks ago. I find at this age you will have students who will naturally daven, others who simply won't and most are probably a couple of shades in between.

Tzvi D. Daum

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