This posting offers a comparison and contrast of Harry Wong's The First Days of School and Fred Jones' Tools for Teaching in It also answers the following questions:
1. What are the strengths of each?
2. What are the weaknesses of each?
3. From what you have read in the two books, have you seen anything in action during your teaching experience? If so, explain. What concepts do you see yourself using in the classroom
Both texts play an eminent role in classroom management. Here are some areas for you to emphasize when composing your paper:
Wong's strengths: Notice how he cleverly shows the link between classroom management and student achievement. It is also quite vital how he differentiates between classroom management and classroom discipline. Most novice educators often think view the terms as interchangeable.
Highlight how Wong's book is effective because he equips readers with practices and procedures that allow us to teach effectively and encourage the students to learn. Without both parts in place, learning will not occur. His emphasis on this "give and take" is so important. Target his overall theme of mutual dependency.
Emphasize Wong's proactive stance. Wong's text is instrumental because it takes a proactive approach. Instead of expecting disciplinary problems to occur, he shows teachers how to structure and organize their classrooms to actually prevent many of the problems. Wong shows that by establishing solid procedures and routines, kids are less likely to exhibit problems. He also shows that they must learn these routines from the first day. His emphasis on early beginnings is really important.
Again, talk about Wong's clarification of terms. For example, he uses "procedures" instead of "rules." Again, he makes the students take ownership for their discipline and learning. We know from childhood and teenage years that many kids strive to break rules. The use of procedures adds a more intellectual dimension to discipline. Wong shows that when we treat kids more like adults, their behavioral expectations are more adult-like. The use of these terms really exemplifies this internal belief.
Notice the practicality of Wong's book. I think the practical implications are definitely empowering. Instead of merely elucidating his philosophies, Wong presents daily tools for us to utilize within the classroom. Another obvious strength is Wong's emphasis on modeling and practice. Just as kids need to practice their new skills, teachers must also rehearse the new procedures. I think it's so important that he mentions this two-way street. Teachers often hypocritically expect kids to exhibit skills that we often neglect to practice. Classroom management does not just magically happen. It is also an area where we as teachers must constantly perfect and practice. I think Wong's emphasis on this area is really powerful.
Similar to modeling, Wong's book resonates the importance of showing and communicating consistency. If we allow gum chewing one day and then the next give a student a demerit, the behavioral procedures are lost. Wong advocates communicating clear procedures and practicing the enforcement of them from the very beginning.
Instead of just focusing on the early days of school, notice how Wong's book equips teachers to focus on self improvement and professionalism throughout both the entire school year and throughout their careers.
2. Wong's weaknesses:
Although he presents some great tools for all classroom levels, some of his ideas are a bit too juvenile for older students. For example, his Give Me Five technique is a bit too young and silly for older students, especially secondary and postsecondary students. I would like to read older student tactics and even adult learning ideas from Wong. For example, ...
This posting provides parallel ideas about two educational theorists.