A workshop presented by the internationally renowned author and award-winning motivational speaker Rick Lavoie will be given Sunday, March 27, between 2 and 4 PM.
Entitled ‘The Motivation Breakthrough – Six Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child’, it is geared specifically for teachers and mechanchim. Rabbi Shea Hecht will be introducing him.
The workshop is organized by Nechama’s Closet, a 13 year-old organization that helps young brides and married women with clothing and more, and is part of their annual Chinese Auction.
It will take place at Campus Chomesh, 470 Lefferts Avenue in Brooklyn. Cost for the 2 hour workshop is $25 (Receive a free $10 ticket for use at the auction).
In response to a pashkevil handed out in Crown Heights shuls before Shabbos, Yehuda Adelist, a resident who holds a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Special Education, sent to COLlive.com the following op-ed to the community:
I write the following Op-Ed in response to the heated discussion that took place in many shuls this past shabbos. This was in reaction to a letter that was put out regarding the upcoming event with a renowned non-Jewish speaker on issues related to special education.
The letter was strongly opposed to an outsider (no matter how professional) coming in to our community and lecturing to us on issues related to chinuch when we have our own Torah based experts that can lecture to us from Torah sources.
As a person who has worked in remediation with boys in Crown Heights in most of the boys’ schools for 7 years and has earned a master’s degree in special education, I would like to give some insight on the issue.
I do not take a side whether it is good to go to this event or whether it is not. The content of the above mentioned letter does have some valid points, however, I challenge the people that published this letter to go and organize a similar forum to help the children in our community that sit in the classrooms of our schools that are failing due to issues of special education. They can do it with frum chassidisher speakers. It is easy to put down a peulah that is being done claiming that we have our own experts. If this is the case then go and do it!
Many of our youth grow up and are not what we would call successful products of our system. For some, their yiddishkeit is just a little bit watered down, others go off the derech completely. While there may be a variety of reasons why someone goes off the derech, it usually doesn’t begin at age 17. It may become noticeable by age 17 but it actually begins from much younger. Experiencing failure in school is a big factor.
WE HAVE A FIRE BURNING RIGHT HERE IN OUR COMMUNITY. There are many children sitting in the classrooms of our community that have certain weaknesses that make succeeding in school a big challenge. School related disabilities don’t just exist in public schools, they exist in our schools too! I am not blaming the schools. These children bring these challenges to school, the schools do not create them.
There are unfortunately many of our students that have reading disabilities. Reading is a prerequisite for most learning that we teach in school from Pre 1A until Zal. Imagine what it’s like for a child that just can’t crack the code who has to sit following along a text from 9 until 4 day in day out for years on end. What would we do if we had to stare at a page of Chinese for the next 12 years!
Children with high functioning autism (aka Aspergers) also attend our schools. They are the children that maybe just can’t get along with anyone, maybe they aren’t developing any friendships (they might not even be interested in making friends), or are maybe acting aggressive 24/7. They might look happy and then a short while later hit their friend because they didn’t like what the school cook served for lunch.
Children with processing difficulties are also a common occurrence. This is the child that sits in class apparently staring into outer space. He needs the Rebbi to repeat each question 3 times to process the question before he can remind himself of the answer.
Then there are the children that have been through trauma. It may be abuse, it may be divorced parents, or loss of a loved one G-d forbid (or something else). These children act out so often they just aren’t participating in class adequately.
We could elaborate in the many other school related disabilities. The point is we can be in denial and claim that this is all a myth invented by the goyim or we can try and help these children and acknowledge the reality that this is very prevalent. We are not just talking about a handful of children who are anyways in a separate program. We are talking about an estimated 1 in 5 and perhaps more.
I ask these educators who distributed this letter this past shabbos, how would you like to be in their shoes? How would you like your own children or grandchildren to be in their shoes? Would you want our mechanchim becoming educated to be better equipped to handle these children or would you want someone to bar these issues from being spoken about? Maybe we should or maybe we shouldn’t need to get a non Jew to come and speak. However, if we’re not going to listen to an outsider, then at least organize something similar with our own.
Last year, I asked a certain individual who was organizing workshops for educators if any of those workshops would be for issues related to special education. I stressed the importance to him that many of our top educators come across these children in their classrooms and feel helpless how to deal with them. They would be very grateful to become educated on such topics. His response was, “We have other priorities, we are dealing mainly with issues such as standards.”
Every teacher and principal knows that the amount of children that have hardships that make them struggle can sometimes be half the class or more. These children are not part of our priority!? Unfortunately, the attitude in our community has to change. When I saw the advertisements for this speaker, and I heard that all the schools were sending their mechanchim, I thought, “Wow! The schools are really opening themselves to learn more about the subject.”
Then someone had to try and knock it down.
Having watched a few of his videos as part of my course, I agree that not everything he says will be from Har Sinai. To say we should never ever punish children is not really in line with our chinuch. Chesed has to be greater than gevurah, but a child has to see some sort of a consequence after committing something wrong. Nevertheless he has many valid points and knows how to bring them out very well.
Contrary to the assertations mentioned in the paper circulated on Shabbos he is not a missionary and does not preach his bible. If he quoted the bible in one of his videos it was to a Christian crowd. When he spoke to the Jewish community in New Jersey two years ago, he did not preach his bible.
Those that do attend should know that not everything he says will be in line with our Torah as he is a non Jew and we should pay careful attention to filter what he says. Those that are not attending for the reasons mentioned above, should try to find a replacement from a good Torah source to become educated on the school related challenges that many of our children have on a daily basis in our schools.