Rav Avigdor Miller on Motivating the Weak Student

How can one motivate a child in a classroom who shows no interest in his studies?

A child who shows no interest in his studies, after the class is over the Rebbe calls him over and gives him a glett on the cheek . He pats him on the cheek and says, “Chaim’l, you’re a nice boy I see. You have a good neshama, Chaim’l, and I think you can make something great out of yourself. So here’s one line in the gemara, I’m going to learn with you now, just one line. And say it over to me.”

So Chaim says one line over. He knows one line in the gemara. Now you tell him, “Chaim’l,  when you go home tonight review that line – just that line – fifteen times.”

The boy comes back tomorrow, he said the line fifteen times and he knows it. And he feels good that he knows it. So now you give him another line. And in fifteen days he knows fifteen lines of gemara. You know what that means?! You’re putting him on his feet! You can save that boy – but you have to do it though. A line a day is not much work and the pat on the cheek is also not much work. Sometimes you’ll give him something too. Give him something. Give him half a dollar each time. דבר תורה מעות קונות. Money helps. And so you can change a boy if you use diplomacy. Diplomacy works.
TAPE # 214 (April 1978)