"This is my 14th year teaching, and I wish I'd read your book a long time ago. I teach five classes of middle school Spanish a day, but two of them have always been challenging because I get all the children who have failed world languages the previous year. I was about to quit my teaching job, and I'd even written my letter of resignation. The day before I was going to resign a good friend advised me not to. She told me, 'Look for a good book that can help you control those kids.'
So I took my friends advice and I came across Tools for Teaching. I have applied the knowledge I have learned from the book to my classes and it's unbelievable how well it works. It has been the best first week of school of my career and I am loving it! Children that usually didn't want to do their work are working hard this year - it's incredible! Thank you SO much Dr. Jones. I have no words to express my gratitude."
"Every teacher should own a copy of Tools for Teaching! I’ve been teaching for 20 years, and I’ve 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, it’s 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 wasn’t reasonably successful, and not because I wasn’t 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 teacher’s 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 I’m 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, teacher’s 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
St. Paul, Mn
"I have the two original books, which were very useful books (I’ve been using some of the ideas for years), and I am now halfway through reading 'Tools'. What a great book! It’s an excellent refresher course, and it makes the concepts easier to apply. I picked up a few things that I missed in the original books.
I’ve 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 can’t wait for more results when I read the last half of the book!
Visual instruction plans are the best thing ever. I couldn’t 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 can’t thank you enough for this idea. I have several other teachers also enthusiastic about this!"
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.