Classroom Management Theorists and Theories/Fred Jones
History of Fred Jones' Work
Fred Jones worked in clinical psychology at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) where he received a Ph. D. specializing in work with schools and families. As the head of the Child Experimental Ward while working at the UCLA Medical Center Dr. Jones developed methods of helping children with severe emotional disorders. He then began to cross these methods over to special education and general classroom setting while working at the Medical Center.
Once his work took him to the University of Rochester Dr. Jones developed the non-adversarial management procedure which led to the writing of his first two books; Classroom Discipline and Positive Classroom Instruction. Since then Dr. Jones has been conducting extensive research and constantly working in classrooms to improve his techniques along with touring the country teaching these methods. Dr. Jones’ most recent book, Tools for Teaching, is an update of his previous work including new material that has been learned since his last publication.
Implementation in the Classroom
Jones has developed a non-adversarial method of creating a classroom that moves smoothly. In his three books Jones addressed many levels that the method can be successful on. One book focuses on the classroom as a positive discipline site, another book looks at how the entire campus can benefit from the positive discipline and the third book takes those concepts to the everyday/every minute problems faced by a teacher.
There are two important systems that have come from Jones’ research. The first is Preferred Activity Time (PAT). PAT is a system that can benefit both the students and the teacher. The students are able to spend time having fun while learning after earning the privilege. The teacher has an incentive for the students to work hard and then can enjoy the activity with their students. The second system is simply positive reinforcement. The teacher can set up simple techniques of their choosing to reinforce behavior from a student that will teach that student the acceptable way to behave/act. These techniques can vary from award presentation after set amounts of time, commendations sent home, point accumulation for buying power of rewards, or any reinforcer (anything that anyone will work for) that is applicable to the individual student/group.
As elementary teacher cross all of the content areas there are many different ways they could establish PAT in their classrooms. For many it may be advantageous to vary the activity to use multiple students’ interests. A teacher who values art as part of the curriculum and would do art projects anyway with the students could get two for the price of one. The teacher might start the day with the following announcement: "Students, I would like to direct your attention to the project table over by the window. As you can see, I have laid out art supplies for our preferred activity at the end of the day. As usual, I have set aside twenty minutes for Preferred Activity Time (PAT). "Of course, once you get started on an art project, you always love to have more time. And this time, you can! All the time we save during the day by hustling will be added to PAT. We could have forty minutes for art if we really get things done." This example gives the students the tangible reward right in front of their face all day long to push them to earn the extra time.
In the secondary setting there are many ways that PAT can be utilized. In an example used by Jones a science teacher used PAT as a fun way to review the day’s concepts with the students. Originally the teacher spent ten minutes each day orally summarizing the important facts that the students needed to have gotten out of the lesson. Instead of losing the students interest everyday he turned the same amount of time into a quiz show style game. At the beginning of the semester the teams were set up and stayed together until the class ended. After a while the students asked to have a few minutes at the beginning for a short group review – a peer tutoring session! From there the students could earn extra game time if transition time dropped, there was less fooling around and clean up at the end of experiments was efficient. This allowed for a daily review that improved the students learning and their retention of the content.
The PAT time does not have to be a daily activity. It could be an activity that the students earn the minutes toward over an entire quarter or semester. An English teacher Jones notes has her Advanced Literature class earn minutes throughout the quarter. At the end they have enough points accumulated to watch one of the books they have read on video. Generally it takes two class periods so the students must have earned 120 points (where 1 point = 1 minute) to watch a film as their reward.
There are ways to take the PAT system and apply it to any content area and to any time frame necessary. The previous implementation ideas are just a few ways to implement the concept into a classroom. There are many more activity suggestions along with helpful tips on implementing them on Jones’ website: www.fredjones.com.
Critique of Jones' Theory
Dr. Peggy J. George is a strong believer in Jones’ PAT program. She has noticed that those teachers who have chosen to use his techniques have found them to be highly effective and very complementary to their existing classroom discipline plans. "PAT is one of the techniques that many teachers choose to use because the kids love it and it works," said George. "In his books, Jones explains that PAT is all about teaching students time management and responsibility. He suggests that the teacher gains instructional time by having students be on task during teaching and then gains additional learning time by selecting PAT activities that are educational but fun, or preferred by students. Obviously if the PAT activities are not motivational, students will not be willing to work to earn them."
There might be articles or other theorists who come out and disagree with Dr. Jones’ positive behavior rewards outright but if so, they are difficult to find. What can be found are other theorists whose overall theories are opposite of Jones’. One in particular is Alfie Kohn. Alfie Kohn has a firm belief that motivation to succeed in school and life must be intrinsically based. A successful person must have self-motivation. Those that have extrinsic motivation (rewards, praise, commendations, etc.) are at a risk of losing their intrinsic motivation completely. Additionally teachers that use extrinsic motivation for behavior and work completion are killing the students’ ability to be self-motivated.
I feel that Dr. Jones has a concrete basis for me and others to begin the development of a strong philosophy and belief of teaching. Many of the concepts and ideas that Dr. Jones discusses in his books are basic and occur daily in the classroom. The topics covered in Tools for Teaching are especially useful. The book takes Dr. Jones’ positive reinforcement tools and applies them to the mundane chores of a classroom, everything from desk arrangement to teaching the routines. Even someone that did not agree with the way Dr. Jones thinks a class should be taught and directed in the content area could learn from Dr. Jones on a broad basis. I do agree with Dr. Jones’ basic ideas but I feel that there is a limit to the amount that can actually be taken from one theory. There are aspects of many different theorists that I will combine with the knowledge I have gained through Dr. Jones’ positive classroom discipline.
1. Discuss how using preferred activity time may influence students to behave differently.
2. Develop a preferred activity time (PAT) that would fit into your lessons for this week. How could you organize the time for your class to receive this reward (when, length, structure)?
Jones, F. (2000). Tools for Teaching. Hong Kong: Frederic H. Jones & Associates, Inc.
Fred Jones. Retrieved 11/02/2007 from www.education-world.com
Retrieved from www.fredjones.com