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Current Issue Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 3 Number 5

Harry & Rosemary Wong urge, "If you are a teacher applying for a job, it is essential that you ask the question at the interview: Does this district have a new teacher induction program? "...
The Miracle of Teachers
Teaching: An Awesome Responsibility
The Teacher is the Difference
All my Children
Improving Classroom Grading Procedures
Computer Use Policy: Informing the User's Consent
Families Get Organized For Success
Museums: Hands-on and More!
A Dozen Sure Fire Ways to Boost Memory in the Diverse Classroom
Another Way To Look At It...or...Thinking Like A Child
A Lesson in Economics by Alan Greenspan
The Benefits of eBooks: Learning With an Attitude!
The Reading Puzzle
Nobody Should Go Through It
Temperate Deciduous Forests
"OH DEER!" Game
What? No TV!
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 5)
High School Research Papers
Music Lesson: Teaching High/Low Tones
Field Day
Field Day Games & Activities
The Creation-Evolution Controversy: A Guide for Teachers
Index of Columns
Index of Regular Features
Index of Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Joy Jones...

Joy Jones is a third generation teacher, a playwright and the author of Between Black Women: Listening With the Third Ear, the acclaimed children's book, Tambourine Moon, and Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers. She teaches at Fillmore Arts Center in Washington, DC. You may view her website at:

Tambourine Moon
by Joy Jones, Terry Widener (Illustrator)

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Private Lessons - A Book of Meditations for Teachers
by Joy Jones

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Between Black Women - Listening With the Third Ear
by Joy Jones

$7.95 from
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Teacher Feature...

What? No TV!

by Joy Jones

How would it feel to go four days without the television or the computer? Would you feel desperate or would it make you free? My seventh and eighth graders could tell you how it felt, since that is the assignment I gave them.

They cried, they screamed, they called me mean and unreasonable. But I didn't do it to torture them. My intent wasn't diabolical, it was meant to be inspirational. I teach creative writing and before the term was over, my students had to write a play. As someone who has written plays, stories and other creative pieces, I know that turning off the television helps the creative juices to flow. Not only does it stop a lot of distractions, it opens a creative space that is good for the imagination to flourish. My hope was that if they abstained from the grip of electronic entertainment, they'd have the same experience. Not only did I ask them to go without television, but I asked that they abstain for at least four days in a row from TV, video rentals and the Internet. Reading e-mails, seeing a movie at a theater, or using the computer for homework was permitted. Parents were asked to sign a log verifying that each student actually abstained.

And for many of them it did generate positive activity. Some students told me that they spent more time working on their stories or getting homework done more quickly. Others played outside or practiced their guitar or piano more. It was what I wanted to happen, yet I have to admit I was surprised when they complied and recounted the increase of their own creativity.

The generation gap asserted itself with this assignment. Several students reported that they found forgoing television fairly easy, it was saying no to the computer that was hard. It surprised me that young people are more mesmerized by PC's than TV's even though I know this is the digital age.

I was really surprised by what happened at the end of the term. I typically ask students to give me a 'report card', to fill out a questionnaire rating the class. To the question, "What assignment was most interesting or helpful?", more students described the No TV assignment, even though by semester's end that assignment was months in the past and they had moaned bitterly about having to do it. Evidently, even rebellious, contrary adolescents could appreciate the power, peace and pleasure of a life with less television.

You should try it with your class and see what the results are. Better yet, you should try it yourself.