Assessing Tefillah?

By Susan Wall

Tefillah education, including the actual davening, the range of skills, behaviors and dispositions required to do it well and with intention, and the lessons and instructions that often accompany it, is rarely assessed. This is particularly true for the affective areas. No one is dismissing the difficulty involved; it is far easier to assess the information a student has acquired in a course than it is to assess skills and even harder to measure how our students feel about or make meaning from tefillah. How can we understand a student’s relationship with tefillah, either as a personal spiritual practice or as a means to connect or strengthen one’s commitment to Jewish values and rituals? Just because something is difficult, however, is no reason not to do it.

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