Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tiered Tefilla Options

The following was posted on Lookjed on July 15th asking an important question of educators to reapproach how davening happens in schools.  Please share your experiences and ideas:
As an administrator in a middle school, I am sure I share a passion and concern with many others to consider new options that might help engender a more interested and involved connection for our students to have during Tefillah. While individual programs, speakers and Yemei Iyun have certainly brought about short term interest, I am eager to touch base with anyone who has seen or used an approach that has brought about a more sustained and inherent growth, relative to what they had previously observed.  
In our school, we are currently considering offering three tiers of Tefillah options. One would be designed for those students who feel most ready and capable of being self-motivated throughout Tefillah. Perhaps there would be 1 teacher on each side of the Mechitza to facilitate, but the students would really run the Minyan. A 2nd option would be for the group of ms students who benefit from reminders to open their siddur, not to have side conversations etc. This group would benefit from the largest presence of teachers. A 3rd option would be for those students that have real difficulty or disinterest in the concept of Tefillah and would possibly benefit from a shortened Tefillah enhanced with more discussions, readings, etc.
If anyone has tried a similar approach and could help guide our attempt by sharing your successes or challenges met, I would greatly appreciate it.  
Tavi Koslowe

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