Do students need teachers in order to learn?

This video encourages the discussion of Jewish values as they relate to contemporary culture. Jewlarious does not endorse any particular film.

Comments (22)

(22) Driekie and Dirk (my son), July 12, 2008 1:48 AM

amen, amen, amen

who are we to judge how children should be taught. Every one person is an individual. It is not Torah for government to dicide on education, it is Torah for parents to educate, they know their children better, and the children know who they are, unlike somee adults. We enjoyed the clip, thanx, keep it up!

(21) Naomi, June 22, 2008 12:04 AM

yes, we need teachers, but....

Accepted...what a great movie! I'm a teacher, and I
recommend it! The clip drives home the point...students can ALSO be "teachers". While we need those who are learned and
those with expertise to guide us and provide some sort of framework, real learning does take place when it is interactive, and when students are involved, and interested in what they're learning. And teachers can learn so much from their students! I certainly have.

(20) Moshe Miller, June 21, 2008 10:42 PM

Dennis Pragers response

When Young People Get Excited
Dennis Prager
Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We regularly hear about Barack Obama's appeal to youth, about how he has been able to excite and mobilize a generation of young people to become politically involved, his rare ability to excite young people, and about how many new voters will register (and vote Democrat) as a result.

All this seems to be true. The question, however, is whether it is a good thing for the country and not just for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

The answer is that it probably is not. With a few exceptions -- and those exceptions are usually those rare cases when young people confront dictatorships -- when youth get involved in politics in large numbers, it is not a good thing.

Of course, there are those who believe that the mass movement of America's young people in the late 1960s and early 1970s was a great thing for America -- a bright shining example of young people mobilized against an unjust war and on behalf of a world filled with love.

If that is how one views the legacy of the baby boomer generation, the mobilization of youth for Obama is probably a great -- not to mention nostalgia-inducing and personally validating -- development.

For those of us who view the late '60s and '70s as the beginning of a downward spiral for American society, however, the mobilization of many young people on behalf of Barack Obama is not encouraging. It is only the latest example of young people getting excited as a result of their unique combination of naivete, lack of wisdom, romantic idealism and narcissism.

Most adults throughout history have recognized that young people are likely to be unwise given their minuscule amount of life experience. After all, most adults, even among baby boomers, believe that they themselves are wiser today than 10 years ago, let alone than when they were 20 years old. It is remarkable, then, how often adults romanticize youth involvement in politics -- "Isn't it heartwarming to see young people getting involved?"

Actually, for a wise adult, it is not heartwarming.

Most thoughtful observers now regard the massive youth demonstrations in France in 1968 as the narcissistic explosions that they were. As French columnist Jean-Claude Guillebaud (Le Nouvel Observateur) wrote recently in the New York Times on the 40th anniversary of those demonstrations:

"I lived through May '68. I was a 24-year-old graduate student and a journalist who covered the revolt, during which students armed with cobblestones battled the police, and 10 million workers went on strike. … To borrow an expression of Lenin's, we were useful idiots."

As regards the positive views of those events held by French elites -- just as American elites hold the '60s and '70s mobilization of American youth in awe -- Guillebaud continued:

"This generation of baby boomers largely controls the news media and cultural life. The majority of broadcast chiefs and newspaper, magazine and book publishers and senior editors 'did' May '68. They are simply indulging their own nostalgia. The boomers … are first and foremost celebrating their own youth."

The same holds true about the idealization of a politically involved young generation here in America. The politically activist baby boomers were "useful idiots" here, too.

They were a major, perhaps the major, factor in America withdrawing from the Vietnam War. And if one believes that the American attempt to prevent South Vietnam from falling under Communist totalitarian rule was an immoral, imperialist venture, then America's young people were terrific. Likewise, if one believes that the movement toward having college students help shape college curricula was a good thing, then the youth movement of that time was a boon to education. But if one believes that America's defeat in Vietnam was unnecessary, and that it led to unspeakable atrocities in Southeast Asia, to a greatly weakened America and to a revived Left, and if one believes that college education in the liberal arts has deteriorated since then, enabling students to obtain college degrees with little knowledge of history and of Western civilization, let alone increased wisdom, then the youth movement of the '60s and '70s was a moral, social and political disaster.

Yes, young people were also involved in the civil rights movement. And that was a wonderful thing. But unlike the anti-war movement, which was largely spearheaded by, and relied for its effectiveness on, young people, the civil rights movement did not need massive numbers of young people in order to prevail.

Having been a young person at that time and having watched as my university (Columbia) had its classrooms taken over and teaching interrupted by fellow students, having watched the sexualization of society that followed the "Make Love Not War" generation, having watched America become obsessed with youth rather than wisdom as a result of the "Never Trust Anyone Over 30" mantra of the '60s young people, having seen the myriad speech codes that arose, ironically, out of the "Free Speech" movement at Berkeley and elsewhere, having watched pacifist-like doctrines decimate America's moral compass, having witnessed a selfish preoccupation with an ever increasing number of inherent "rights," with a commensurate devaluing of inherent moral obligations, I, among many others, am not enamored of the '60s and '70s youth movement.

So, forgive me, but I for one am not encouraged by the ecstatic reaction of young people to Barack Obama. The track record of politically excited youth movements in modern Western history is not a good one. And I see no reason why this will prove to be the first major exception.

(19) Malka Bando, June 21, 2008 3:21 AM

Maintain Balance

Teachers should be a cross between a Mentor and an Instructor but most importanat "be an example". It depends on the student, a teacher must see to the needs of each of his students and cannot treat everyone the same.

(18) Larry Cohan, June 20, 2008 6:29 PM

motivated students learn, unmotivated don't

Very motivated students might learn what they need on their own. The 99% who are not, however, need teachers to guide them and be there when they fall to pick them up. Teachers try to bring students to the point where they can learn themselves.

(17) sara, June 19, 2008 6:30 PM

an engineer held to standards -carefully taught

wouldn't want to get on a plane unless the engineers who designed and built it were carefully checked over by professionals - don't mock the professiionals- there IS a lot to learn from them

(16) Eleanor Gibson, June 19, 2008 12:34 AM

Evergreen State College, Olympia Washington

This sounds like our Evergreen State College where the instructors and professors mentor not dictate.

(15) Yishai Menachem, June 18, 2008 6:48 PM

Sages say...

Ethics of Our Fathers, "Who is wise? One who learns from everyone."

(14) Joan Mooring, June 17, 2008 10:14 PM

Virtue is not teachable, nor learnable but it does come to man in some other way.

(13) Patti Jenkins, June 17, 2008 9:02 PM

i think we should all learn from one another

no matter our age,sat.scores or any I.Q. tests we pass and how high or low our scores and did we pass the test at the D.m.v. etc// But can you imagine my surprise when an internet co. that will remain nameless//made the statement that my E-mail to kol Yakov was not acceptible and I should watch what I said about sec.state c rice comments on her disappointments with Iseral and the way the building of new homes is making her cranky! I know that this would not happen //but what if we all showed up at her door one sabbos andjust hung out! And my computer said This E-mail is terminated and you cannot use this site to poke fun at the circumstnces that if I did not laugh at would make me cry// so I think I went basurk and called him a E-Mail Natzi and told him what I say to Kol is between him and me and big goofball should stay out of Private conversations between hosts of their systems because we can cut them off//

(12) Emeq, June 17, 2008 10:14 AM

The value of learning how to learn

I was home schooled. My parents, especially dad, taught us that the ability to learn was given to us by G_D. It was not what we were given that counted, though any gift from The Almighty is precious, but rather what we did with that gift that was to matter the most, now and in the future. All seven of my children were schooled in like fashion. My father, at the beginning of each school year would stack a pile of books in the living room and say: "well son, this is what you will have to get through to complete this school year." It certainly seemed a daunting task, until I reasoned out that to process all that information would really not take me that great an amount of time. I sailed through my studies and found that dad had already a time line in play and allowed that if i excelled to a certain level, my time then was my own.. I finished my years of High School 2 1/2 years ahead of my peers. Needless to say i had a lot of time on my hands.. Of my seven children, the oldest is finishing his PhD soon, the next has chosen a field in Law Enforcement Supervision, however prior to that managed two restaurants, the next is in upper level management in the insurance industry, forth works in upper level IT trouble shooting for a major corporation, next is a professional model and actor, the last two one manages a restaurant at almost 19 years of age and the other works out of doors in a career he loves. All home schooled, all very high achievers, all observant Jews. We believe this ability to learn is the best tool we can have together with the Instruction Manual: TORAH
a simple man

(11) Adam Zion, June 17, 2008 9:58 AM

Teachers: both necessary not necessary

Full disclosure: I come from a family rotten w/public school teachers. And, as such, I agree that having a good teacher can help a child learn, and that having a bad teacher can all but prevent learning. But, at the same time, my Mom is fond of saying that a sufficiently-motivated kid can learn in a closet w/a stack of books.

(10) ellie, June 17, 2008 8:12 AM

I do not here want to debate the value or the falsehood of this video's premise --for truth lies somewhere inbetween. I do want to comment that this video helps support the movement away from schooling and education for the masses instead of repairing and updating public education. And it does so in a most one side sneaky way, focusing on those too young to understand the complexity of truth, and the roads that lie ahead of them, and to the detriment of the future of our earth and the survival of our specie.
If I remember correctly, it was ln Rome, where the people walked away....from their organized civilation and the modernization (like acquaducts) and a generation came that could not repair their civilization in a practical way...and wallah... the dark ages....with kings, and inquistions, waste running down the streets.
Learning from each other, themselves and life is good...but it is not a sound philosophy that throws the baby out with the bath water.

(9) linda, June 17, 2008 7:59 AM


I don't feel this clip was posted to sy there is never a place for teachers,obviously my heart surgeon needs to come from through an established program. Rather, it speaks to the heart of learning and owning your personal responsibility to learn. If our children are sitting in an auditorium with 200 students while a professor lectures and our child does not go back and read the text and research the assignment on their own, what good did the 90 minutes in class do? A teacher that mentors a student to self directed education is a teacher.

(8) W. Roy, June 17, 2008 7:16 AM

Learning on your own because you have a desire to learn. Sounds like the best way to learn. This is what we traditionally call "homeschooling" these days (although learning is not limited to home). The world is open to anyone who wants to learn. However there still needs to be someone who is acknowledgeable to teach. So teachers are always needed. Just not all the old rules that don't always work. This is a new generation, again!

(7) Guilermo Seoane, June 16, 2008 6:29 PM

Teachers transfer knowledge and ideas to students and a good teacher will impact a student's life for ever, but it's the student who needs to be have a mind set to receive the knowledge and ideas. Without the student's desire to learn, the teacher has no chance, yes you can learn on your own, but you will not have someone else insight or comparison to one's own evolution.

(6) Joe, June 16, 2008 11:46 AM

We do need teachers for many things.

Suppose you needed brain surgery or a heart transplant? Would you want someone cutting on you without a diploma from some institution? I think not. I hope my pilot had a good teacher.

(5) Anonymous, June 16, 2008 11:20 AM

Their must be authority for law and order

We are living in a world where nobody know their boudries. A child talks to parents as their equal. Their is absolutly no respect in our days. If their is no respect for a parent or a teacher, what happens when their is a dispute? Who do we listen to? What happens when students want to do something stupid, who will stop them? Even if technically you dont need a teacher. You still need that for the whole picture. Lets not destroy what we may still have???????

(4) bob, June 16, 2008 4:58 AM


But, my wife is a teacher, and we need the money for pool chemicals and such........

(3) s, June 16, 2008 12:33 AM

I think we need both. On the one hand we need teachers to help guide us. For ex, it's really hard to learn calculus on our own :)
But there are some things that are better to explore and learn on our own

(2) chana, June 15, 2008 11:02 PM

oh yeah! who needs teachers anyway?

(1) Ronni, June 15, 2008 9:00 PM


I confess that I have not seen this movie but that is some serious stupidity. How can we learn if we only learn from the young and inexperienced? It says in Pirkei Avos "asei lecha rav" which means basically "Get a Rabbi for yourself" and one of the reasons is because we need to consult with those that know more than ourselves.


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