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No Child Left Behind: A Plan for Success

Focus on the Classroom

No Child Left Behind clearly states that all children are to be taught by effective teachers utilizing effective, research-based classroom practice. Yet, implementation is up to you. How can you get real results?


Give Teachers Specifics

It is foolish to think that achievement can go up while teaching practices remain the same. Teachers will need new skills that produce dramatic change in time-on-task and student achievement. These skills must be specific, easy to use, and proven in real classrooms.


Fred Jones’ Tools for Teaching describes the skills of highly effective teachers clearly and concisely. Thirty years of research and collaboration with effective teachers has produced a picture of classroom management that is eye-opening. New teachers say, “Why didn’t they teach us this in college?” Experienced teachers say, “Where were you 20 years ago!”


Dr. Jones details the interface between discipline and instruction in the classroom and welds these insights into an effective training program. Administrators say, “Other people tell us what we should do. Dr. Jones shows us how to do it.”


Less Sitting, More Doing

Students become engaged in learning when they are active. They love to do. Sitting passively as the teacher explains complex material is a prescription for tuning out.


Effective teachers break lessons into small chunks, and each chunk gives the students something to do. It is active by nature. As students work, teachers “work the crowd” to monitor performance.


Adequate Structured Practice

Effective teachers appreciate the importance of Structured Practice. After walking students through correct performance, they do it again. Whether a concept, a calculation, or the correct use of a tool in shop class, students must perform new learning more than once if they are to gain comfort and fluidity. Only then can they enter Guided Practice with a reasonable level of mastery.


Weaning the Helpless Handraisers

After Structured Practice comes Guided Practice, and the hands immediately go up. Are they the same students every day? Ask any teacher.

During Guided Practice, teachers tutor needy students and, in so doing, reinforce learned helplessness with the most precious commodity in the classroom – their time and attention. As a result, every teacher produces a gaggle of chronic helpless handraisers.


Tutoring each of these needy students consumes 3-7 minutes. During this time the noise level rises as students disrupt. Time-on-task plummets, and work goes unmonitored.


Effective teachers make independent learners out of helpless handraisers. In order to do this, a teacher must become very efficient at giving corrective feedback. For starters, they must:


  • Simplify the verbal modality. Verbosity must be replaced with simple language that focuses on what to do next. Be clear, be brief, and be gone.

  • Teach to the visual modality. The task must be represented in a visual, step-by-step manner so that corrective feedback is prepackaged. Students can then use the lesson plan as a study guide.


Tools for Teaching is like nothing you have ever seen. It is not traditional behavior management, nor is it a collection of handy hints. It is a powerful, highly innovative management system built around the real needs of classroom teachers. It solves the dilemmas that teachers face every day at a price they can afford.


Assessment Where It Counts

Student assessment must be continuous throughout the lesson if it is to aid learning. It must be built into the structure of the lesson.


If every step of the lesson puts the students to work, teachers can monitor each step of performance. If teachers provide adequate Structured Practice, students can enter Guided Practice near mastery. When teachers are not busy tutoring helpless handraisers during Guided Practice, they can continue to monitor student performance and check work. Instead of teachers grading papers at night only to see them dropped into the waste basket the next day, they can use work check during the lesson as a tool for building excellence.


Building Classroom Structure

Teachers will need a specific plan for the first hour, the first day, and the first week of school. They will need to teach routines and procedures to mastery so that students perform them to the teacher’s standards. However; rules, routines, and procedures must be enforced on a minute by minute basis if they are to govern the ongoing life of the classroom. To do this, the teacher must “mean business.”


Meaning Business

How do you mean business? The “natural teachers” have it. It is the key to an orderly classroom. Are you born with it, or can it be taught?


Meaning business is a mindset of “no nonsense” that is conveyed to the students primarily through the teacher’s body language. The students read the teacher like a book, and they know exactly what they can get away with at any moment.


Dr. Jones is the first to describe meaning business as a series of skills that can be taught to a faculty. Learning to mean business begins with being calm in the face of provocation and ends with the management of nasty backtalk. It reduces teacher stress and eliminates most office referrals as teachers learn to respond effectively to misbehavior.


Responsibility Training

How do you train students to be responsible – especially when many of them are quite irresponsible outside of class? How do you manage the group without nagging when you are seated and cannot “work the crowd?” How do you deal with the angry, alienated student without the hassle of office referrals and suspensions?


The easiest way to manage any group is to teach the group to manage itself. Then, once the group learns to manage itself, you can use the group to help the alienated student. This is win-win management as opposed to the win-lose of negative sanctions.


One dividend of Responsibility Training is a sizeable increase in time-on-task as students learn to hustle rather than dawdle. You can save five minutes at the beginning of the class period by having students on task when the bell rings, and you can save four more minutes per lesson transition. Ten to fifteen minutes of additional learning time per class period is common.


A New Day in the Classroom

Tools for Teaching is like nothing you have ever seen. It is not traditional behavior management, nor is it a collection of handy hints. It is a powerful, highly innovative management system built around the real needs of classroom teachers. It solves the dilemmas that teachers face every day at a price they can afford.



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