PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
Learning From Your Talmid
by R' Zvi Zobin
"Said Rebbi: `I learned much from my Rebbeim, more from my
colleagues, but most of all, I learned from my
A recent study by a research team from the University of
Florida has shown that students struggling with reading can
improve their skills by tutoring younger students. The study
found that over the seven month period of the research, the
senior students improved their comprehension ability by an
amount which would normally have taken them two years.
Additionally, it would normally have taken them 16 months to
improve their reading skills to the same extent as they did
in those seven months. The researchers also reported that the
students' vocabulary skills improved, as well as their
overall attitude to reading.
Of course, we do not need a report like this to tell us what
we have known for thousands of years. However, it is
interesting to see that even when compared to the most modern
systems of dealing with reading and learning problems, the
old system of giving a talmid a weaker student to
teach as a learning-partner, is still a valid option.
Often, a talmid will ask for a tutor of a senior
talmid to help him with his learning. However,
sometimes the best thing for such a student is for him to be
given a weaker student so that he has to teach him.
When he has to teach, he is faced with the challenge of
imparting the knowledge he has in such a way as to enable the
weaker student to understand it. This puts the senior student
`on his mettle' and enables him to access abilities which,
perhaps, he did not even know he possessed.
Often, helping the weaker student involves reviewing material
many more times than he would otherwise have the patience to
do. The continual re-explanation often helps the senior
talmid attain new levels of clarity. And the necessity
to impart his knowledge clearly improves the tutor's own
communication and thought-processing skills.