Posted by: Michel Baker | March 22, 2011

Fred Jones’s Tools for Teaching

At my school, it is very important to keep the students quiet in the hallways in order to help with concentration.  With only 25 minutes of instructional time and no transitional time in between, we really use about 5 minutes for line up and class exchange.  I have tended to do this more noisily than I have wanted, and did not know how to make it better with so little time. 

Susan Gross highly recommended the Fred Jones book Tools for Teaching for those of us new TPRSers who tend to be softies when it comes to behavior mod.  Thankfully, my district colleagues and I have been studying this book all year, incidentally finding all of the parallels to TPRS buried throughout as big, gold nuggets. 

I found my salvation on pages 148-152, Fred’s got “A Sample Procedure” on “Meaning Business,” which I took to heart and have fully implemented…it has changed my teaching life forever.  Again, paralleling the TPRS method, you “Pre-teach” a bunch of gestures that each mean something to the students while you are transporting the line through the halls…I told them that even I am not going to speak in the hallways and showed them all of the gestures we would need:  straight line, stop, go on, go to the next place and stop, good job, zip lips and be quiet, talker come to the front of the line (Fred always has the class turn around and go back to start over if there is one peep out of anyone, but I just can’t give up my instructional time for this with only 25 minutes), stop/turn around/go back.  And Fred states that the teacher must keep “a straight face” and monitor their performance with expectation and an “upbeat” mood.  So far, it has worked wonders!  He reminds us that “Meaning Business” makes teaching a whole lot less stressful, and I truly agree.



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