…classes should reflect concern with texts but also concern for people’s feelings. Education at any level is not concerned with progress in a limited area, but in the general intellectual development of a student. Students cannot develop properly if they bear hostility toward a subject area, a particular professor, or themselves. The cultivation of proper attitudes in the student, towards his/her own self, colleagues and teachers, and the discipline as a whole is what we mean by good education. A congenial atmosphere, a pleasant emotional climate in the classroom, and the mutual respect of achievements is necessary to promote high standards and excellence without resentment. It is amazing what students will do if they want to and what they will not do if they do not want to.

Herbert W. Basser, “Approaching the Text: The Study of Midrash,” in Methodology in the Academic Teaching of Judaism, ed. Zev Garber (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1986), 128-129.

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