For the week ending 20 December 2008 / 23 Kislev 5769

Who Answers First?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: As a teacher I regularly challenge my class to answer a question which I raise. Sometimes it is a lone hand that is raised, but there are occasions when a flurry of hands go up in the air. This challenges me with making a decision as to which of my responding students to call upon. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Although there is really no more of a right for one over the others, there is a consideration that you should keep in mind. As a sensitive teacher you are certainly interested in developing the self-confidence of each and every student. If you notice among the raised hands one that belongs to a student who rarely rises to the challenge, you should certainly show him preference.

But what if the answer he gives is incorrect?

Your response must be that his effort was a good try but didn't provide the full answer, and that perhaps one of the others will be able to complete the answer.

Remember that the way you treat your students can have an impact on them for a lifetime.

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