What educators are saying about
Fred Jones and Tools for Teaching.
Every teacher should own a copy of Tools
for Teaching! Ive been teaching for 20 years, and Ive
read hundreds of books for teachers. Very few come close to the
power of Tools for Teaching! I have been recommending it
to everyone I meet. I teach workshops for teachers, both in my district
and across the country, and I take my copy of Tools for Teaching
with me to share as a wonderful resource. Dr. Jones has a remarkable
way of applying the science of psychology to the art of teaching,
and his amazing insight provides the concrete tools that both beginning
and veteran teachers need to become more effective instructors.
Best of all, its written with a sense of humor that will have
chuckling throughout the book!
The new book is incredibly helpful. I have read it cover to
cover and the ideas are blended in a way that really makes sense.
Even my husband, who never reads a book about teaching instruction,
is reading this book. We have actually had a problem this summer
deciding who gets the book at any given sitting! He is almost to
responsibility training, and then I have offered him any assistance
he needs in setting up his program.
Without belaboring the point, I would not be teaching today
were it not for this program. In 1992, I was ready to quit the profession,
not because I wasnt reasonably successful, and not because
I wasnt enjoying myself, but because I was tired of working
in a profession that seemed devoid of actual skills. I read reams
of books on classroom management, motivational techniques, dealing
with the discipline problems and teaching well, but it all seemed
to boil down to a mountain of handy hints and good advice, rather
than systematic techniques or practical skills above and beyond
what the average untrained person would be capable of. Discipline
problems? Get tough! (Or, alternately, hold a class meeting so everyone
can clarify their behavioral values or put everyone
on his own behavior plan and point system). Motivational
problems? Make your lessons more interesting! Kids failing? Tutor
them after class in your office, explain things more clearly, hire
a teachers aid or lower your standards!
As you can imagine, I was less than satisfied with these answers.
I wanted to work in a profession, not just a job. I wanted to have
skills that, if properly implemented, would predictably result in
the academic, behavioral and motivational success of my students
especially the worst ones. I did not want fancy lesson formats,
elaborate B-Mod programs, values clarification or good advice; I
wanted basics, the skills that comprise the teaching profession.
Those skills are the subject of Fred Jones Tools for Teaching.
They are described with exceptional clarity (and not infrequently
with a bit if tongue-in-cheek humor as well), and the result is
not an amalgam of random, unrelated ideas, but rather a system of
highly interrelated and mutually-reinforcing skills which, when
carefully learned and practiced together, can turn even the most
oppositional, failure-prone classes into fully functional work groups
that any teacher would look forward to having at a price
that the teacher can easily afford.
Today, I am not only using Tools for Teaching as the basis
for my classes, I am training other teachers in it as well. Right
now I am training ten teachers from three departments at the school
where Im teaching in Maribor, Slovenia, and the response has
been so positive that the principal has decided to apply for a project
grant to enable us to bring this program to other public schools
on Slovenia next year.
I would advise any teacher, teachers aid, administrator or
staff development specialist to take a close and carefully-considered
look at Tools for Teaching before investing time, effort
and money into other programs which may be long on quick fixes and
handy suggestions, but rather short on such things as slow, step-by-step
practice of each skill during training, adequate background information
on why techniques work as they do (and, just as important, when
they might be susceptible to failure), and guidelines for implementing
a simple but effective long-term staff development program at a
school site, so that skills once learned are maintained over time,
and can be effectively disseminated throughout the school site.
David H Greenwald
You two are a class act! Thank you for one of the best conference
experiences I have had in my six years as a staff developer! PROFESSIONAL,
FRIENDLY, FUN, DIRECT, REAL thats what you two are
My colleagues and I send our appreciation and admiration to you
I have the two original books, which were very useful books
(Ive been using some of the ideas for years), and I am now
halfway through reading Tools. What a great book! Its
an excellent refresher course, and it makes the concepts easier
to apply. I picked up a few things that I missed in the original
Ive already changed the seating chart in my choral group
with great results and used instructional ideas in my math group
with astounding results. They were suddenly all on task attentive
and were able to do problems on their own by the end of the lesson.
I had one student BEG me to do his journal page right away because
he was so excited about getting the concepts! (At a recent conference
his parents told me that they have seen a complete change in his
attitude towards math.) I cant wait for more results when
I read the last half of the book!
Visual instruction plans are the best thing ever. I couldnt
believe how my math class improved after I began making these, even
though mine are not works of art. The kids got things
so quickly that they used to struggle with. I asked them if they
liked them, and they said they loved them and wanted some to take
home to use when doing their homework! I am planning to make them
for each of the math skills that they have to master this year.
Students will keep them in a reference book. It will make up for
the absolutely terrible math series that we have- at least students
will know something by the end of the year! I cant thank you
enough for this idea. I have several other teachers also enthusiastic
St. Paul, MN
Id like to congratulate you for writing a book that students
actually want to read. The reasonable price is another plus, as
most textbooks are a hundred dollars. My colleagues share my enthusiasm
for your humor and clarity. Before class began we would discuss
passages, and several admitted they read ahead of the required assignment.
I found the book also gave students a vocabulary to use when discussing
management issues. Two weeks ago in my social studies methods class
I sat next to another student who also read your book. The instructor
talked about students who take up too much of the teachers
time. We looked at each other and she whispered, helpless
handraisers! This knowledge of your book allowed us to make
a valuable connection between content areas. The cartoons in your
book are truly funny, and your son should be commended for his talent.
I find that when discussing your book I often show the cartoon of
the helpless handraisers to others.
Thank you for making it possible to enjoy
working with my students again! As a second year teacher, I didn't
have a set discipline policy yet. I was still trying to figure out
what worked, now I know! I have a plan and steps to carry it out.
Let me describe my student make-up for you before and after your
class so you can get an idea of the changes that have taken place.
I have 24 first grade students without an assistant.
I have ESL students. Three students have been identified as learning
disabled. One has a medical condition that affects this behavior.
I was begging for help with him. I had all kinds of people come
in and observe him so someone could tell me what to do with him.
None of the ideas worked for more than a week or two. I also had
the usual 5% causing 95% of the disruptions. I was spending my days
running from behavior problem to behavior problem with alot of squawking
and nagging. I cut out all the really fun activities because the
group was too unpredictable. When I gave the students work to do
independently, I had so many helpless hand raisers that I didn't
have time to work with the ESL kids that needed so much of my time
and help. I was going home exhausted with terrible aches from clenching
my jaw! By January, I was frustrated, and when the information for
the class came along, I thought it was worth a try! I am so thankful
that I took your training!
This week in my classroom, we will be constructing
a rain forest. I have so many fun activities scheduled that I never
would have attempted. I am confident that things will go well. There
has been a change in me. I am more confident, consistent, and in
control. I know what to do to keep the kids on task. I am happy
and energetic at the end of the day!
This class has been good for me, but even more
important it has been good for the kids. The kids know what to expect.
They know that I will enforce my procedures and that I mean business.
They are more comfortable and happy, even though they are doing
most of the work. They are learning more. My ESL kids are benefiting
from more time from me, since I don't have any helpless hand raisers
anymore. The disruptions are much more infrequent and require much
less effort from me to stop them. Even the student who was so disruptive
before is under control. We received information from a doctor that
meant I could get help on a regular basis or if that didn't work,
put him in a more restrictive environment. I declined both offers.
He's doing great in my classroom.
Thank You Sincerely,