This past November, Dr. Judah Weller, Director of PTACH, was one of the featured presenters at a professional development training for Torah Umesorah’s Chevras Yesud Ma’aloh, the National Fellowship for Principals of Boys Schools, in Stamford CT. The Fellowship is composed of experienced administrators who study together for two years and each represent a different Yeshiva from all over North America. The Fellows receive 32 days of advanced group training and 24 hours of individualized mentoring. Dr. Weller’s topic was “Understanding and Addressing Learning Differences.”
Dr. Weller opened the presentation by highlighting the importance of having a basic understanding of the eight pathways of learning and being able to understand each child through a “neurodevelopmental lens.” Having this basic knowledge of the learning process is the key for educators in recognizing their students’ strengths and weaknesses, which leads to more efficient management of students’ needs. He then posed a question to the principals, asking them if any of their students struggle with attention, memory, language or cognition issues. The principals acknowledged that they indeed have many students with these difficulties, underscoring the need for educators to have this basic knowledge of the learning process. For example, if a student is struggling with attentional issues and the teacher can pinpoint the specific component of attention as the root of the issue, they are better able to deal with the problem appropriately. Dr. Weller described many different methods and techniques for recognizing the core impediments that would hinder a child’s development.
Dr. Weller emphasized that regardless of how effective a teacher may be when it comes to giving over academic skills, having a child who is emotionally prepared to learn is crucial. Children with higher emotional intelligence are better prepared to manage their emotional lives so that they can focus, learn and do their best in school. This past spring PTACH hosted a well-attended training on the topic of E.IQ. (emotional intelligence) with presenters from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. This principals group was introduced to the R.U.L.E.R. method, which is an acronym for Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing and Regulating emotions, a scientifically created method to help develop E.IQ. The principals received handouts such as the “Mood Meter,” which is one of the key components of developing E.IQ.
In closing, Dr. Weller told the group that in today’s world of diverse learners, educators need to come to the classroom with a basic understanding of how children learn based on the latest research in education.
Dr. Weller is PTACH’s National Director. For further information or to come visit one of PTACH’s center-based model programs located at Bais Yaakov D’Rav Meir Elementary, Yeshiva University High Schools, and Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin Elementary and High School, please call (718)854-8600 x102.