The following is a brief description of the discipline system I have set up in Yeshivat Yavneh, L.A.. The system itself is based on one developed over many years by my mentor at T.E.I. (Torah Educators Institute), Rabbi Hillel Mandel, SHLITA and with the direction of a master Rebbe; Rabbi Yonah Landau, SHLITA, of Yeshivas Toras Emes, L.A.. The basic concept is summed up in the words of a famous football coach, "The best defense is a good offense". If a Rebbe has succeeded in winning over his class then he will not have to discipline very much. The key to winning over a class is making each Talmid feel he is very special to you. A Rebbe can achieve this goal only when he is in control of the class. This system I have adopted can, when used correctly, put the Rebbe in control of his class. Then the Rebbe will be free to assess individual needs and supply them when appropriate.|
First we must agree that Talmidim, generally, have a problem pushing off rewards. That is why any system that is going to motivate a Talmid must give him both an immediate reward and a long-range reward. The immediate reward is honor and recognition for a job well done or a good answer or best of all a good Kasha. The long-range reward is something he wants in the form of a prize (I have had great success with packs of Torah cards and Torah card albums).
Each student gets a sheet of paper folded into a booklet. The title is
"Darcon to Bais Shlishi". There is a line for the student's name and a line for the students "status". For the status line the student always begins as a "Talmid". Every time a student gets 500 points he gets to travel. There are 10 cities, states or countries that he must go through until he arrives in Yerushalayim (the tenth place). Once in Yerushalayim he then must rebuild the Bais HaMikdash by placing 10 Kelim inside it (each also costing 500 points).
Each "status" carries with it special privileges and honors. For example a Talmid - Chaver has the right to go to the restroom or get a drink once a day without permission (as long as no one else is out). A Chaver gets the same privileges as a Talmid - Chaver plus he can eat a snack (if he has one) when the Rebbe tells a story. A Tzurva MeRabbanan has the above privileges plus he can (if he wants to) say over a Davar Torah (no more than five minutes) to the class, once a week, for extra points; however, the Rebbe must select the topic. A Rav is the same as a Tzurva MeRabbanan plus he can choose the topic of his Vort. A Rebbe has the added privilege of being on the committee that decides which Tzedaka the class will adopt as a project. A Nasi has the additional privilege of making a Parsha test for the whole class (worth another 500 points). Rosh HaYeshiva has the added privilege of saying over a Davar Torah in front of the whole school at the Rosh Chodesh award assembly (5 minutes - any topic) for lots of points (1,000). A Shofet can also write a Davar Torah for the Pesach Hagada or the Shavuos program (worth 1,000 points). A Cohen Gadol gets to be on the committee which decides the activities for "reward days" (given for great class accomplish-ments - class goals set and achieved. Rewards may be simply taking off time from class and going to the park for a baseball game.) Plus Rebbe makes a Melava Malka just for Cohanim Gadolim at the end of the year.
Points are given when the Rebbe puts a stamp worth a certain number of points on the students booklet. I usually use a stamp worth 5 or 10 points (its easier for the student to count up that way). I make a question worth twice as much as an answer. I carry the stamp pad and stamp with me when I walk around the class. Points may also be given for good Middos. Don't be stingy with points. If you are in doubt give your Talmid the benefit of the doubt. Its always better to be wrong in their favor than against them.
I also offer free upgrades in status for certain accomplishments. For example, for a Daf of Gemara by heart or a Perek of Mishnayos. I have a formula for determining monthly winners. I take the number of upgrades in status earned for that month times the number of points the Talmid ended the month with. Each month we start over with a new booklet but the Talmid retains the status he earned.
The system I have outlined above is flexible and should be adapted to fit the needs of each Rebbe or Morah. I hope it will be helpful in some way with the ultimate goal of every Rebbe and Morah: Instead of teaching them Torah inspire them to love learning it (which goes farther and lasts longer).
With warmest regards and Torah blessings,