"Chovat Hatalmidim" (The Students' Responsibility) - "Message to Teachers and Parents"
The book "Chovat Hatalmidim" was written by Rabbi Klonymus Kalmish Shapira - the Piaseczno (Poland) Rebbe - who was murdered during the Holocaust. Rabbi Shapira connects with the pupil's sense of self-esteem and encourages him to learn diligently.
The book opens with a message to teachers and parents, where Rabbi Shapira outlines the objectives of "education". He stresses the value of positive feedback rather than force in educating the child. "Education is not a series of edicts which the teacher or parent issues... The word 'hinuch' connotes cultivation of the child's potential - which may be somewhat hidden - to the point of fruition..."
Rabbi Shapira likewise notes that each child should be addressed in accord with his/her individual needs. "The educational process is different for each child. The educator must take into account factors such as the child's personality, cognitive skills, behavior, etc. He needs to tune himself into each pupil's strengths and abilities, and personalize his message to each pupil in accord with the relevant differences between them."
Rabbi Shapira's only son, his daughter-in-law and his sister-in-law were killed during the Nazi aerial bombing of Warsaw in September, 1939. After the invasion of Poland, Rabbi Shapira was interned with a few of his hasidim in the Warsaw Ghetto, where he ran a secret synagogue. After the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was crushed in 1943, Rabbi Shapira was taken to the Trawniki work camp near Lublin. Although offered the opportunity to escape from the concentration camp, he refused, choosing to remain with his hasidim until the end.
We are posting a loose translation of the introductory chapter of "Chovat Hatalmidim" - "Message to Teachers and Parents" - on the Jewish Agency Israel Department website. The Israel Department operates the Youth Futures program, which assists at-risk youth in Israel.
Wikipedia Article on Rabbi Shapira