June 2024
Vol 21 No 6

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About Effective Teaching

The most important factor in improved student learning is with an effective teacher.  Written ten times a year, Harry and Rosemary Wong feature effective teachers and administrators and what they do to enhance student learning.  The columns provide specific strategies and activities that you can download and use.  An archive of past articles can be found at the end of every column.

These strategies and activities are all based on the teachings and works of Harry and Rosemary Wong and they are happy to share with the profession the work of effective teachers.  If you have an effective strategy or technique that works, please share this by sending it to The Wongs will consider it for sharing in future Effective Teaching columns.

About Harry and Rosemary Wong...

Harry and Rosemary Wong are teachers.  Harry is a native of San Francisco and taught middle school and high school science.  Rosemary is a native of New Orleans and taught K-8, including working as the school media coordinator and student activity director.

Harry Wong has been awarded the Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award, the Science Teacher Achievement Recognition Award, the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award, and the Valley Forge Teacher's Medal.  He was recently selected as one of the most admired people in the world of education by readers of Instructor magazine.  Rosemary was chosen as one of California's first mentor teachers and has been awarded the Silicon Valley Distinguished Woman of the Year Award.

Harry Wong is the most sought after speaker in education today.  He has been called "Mr. Practicality" for his common sense, user-friendly, no-cost approach to managing a classroom for high-level student success.

Nearly a million teachers worldwide have heard his message.  Because he is fully booked for two years, he has agreed to and has invited his wife to join him in doing a monthly column for so that more people can hear their message.

About Their Work...

Harry and Rosemary Wong are committed to bringing quality and dignity to the materials they produce. For this, they have formed their own publishing company, of which Rosemary is the CEO.  They have dedicated their lives to leaving a legacy in education and making a difference in the lives of teachers and students.

Their latest contribution to helping teachers succeed is an eLearning course, Classroom Management with Harry and Rosemary Wong.  The course can be taken in private at the learner's convenience.  The outcome of the course is a 2 inch binder with a personalized Classroom Management Action Plan.

This Action Plan is similar to the organized and structured plan used by all successful teachers.  Details for the classroom management course can be seen at

The Wongs have written The First Days of School, the best-selling book ever in education.  Over 3 million copies have been sold.

The third edition of The First Days of School includes an added bonus, an Enhanced CD featuring Harry Wong. The Enhanced CD, Never Cease to Learn, is dedicated to those teachers who know that the more they learn, the more effective they become.

The Wongs have also produced the DVD series, The Effective Teacher, winner of the Telly Award for the best educational video of the past twenty years and awarded the 1st place Gold Award in the International Film and Video Festival.

They have released a new set of CDs with Harry Wong LIVE, called How to Improve Student Achievement, recorded at one of his many presentations.  He is the most sought after speaker in education and his presentations are legendary.

When the book, video series, CD, and eLearning course are used together, they form the most effective staff training tool for developing effective teachers. Staff developers and administrators who would like to know how to implement the aforementioned book, video series, and CD are encouraged to consult the book, New Teacher Induction: How to Train, Support, and Retain New Teachers. Information about these products can be found by visiting the publisher's website at or

Best Sellers

The First Days of School with Enhanced CD, Never Cease to Learn
by Harry & Rosemary Wong
$23.96 from
More information


The Effective Teacher (Video Set)
Presented by Harry Wong

8 DVDs, with Facilitator's Handbook in PDF, book The First Days of School, and storage case, $695.00 from (volume discounts available)
More information


Classroom Management with Harry and Rosemary Wong
eLearning course for individual use, CEUs available Preview the course and order at $124.95 (Group discounts available.)


How to Improve Student Achievement
Hear Harry Wong Live! in this 2 CD set
More information


New Teacher Induction:  How to Train, Support, and Retain New Teachers
by Annette L. Breaux, Harry K. Wong

$24.05 from
More information


Pathways: A Guide for Energizing & Enriching Band, Orchestra, & Choral Programs
by Joseph Alsobrook

$12.57 from
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Results : The Key to Continuous School Improvement
by Mike Schmoker

$20.95 from
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Improving Schools from Within : Teachers, Parents, and Principals Can Make the Difference
by Roland Sawyer Barth

$13.30 from
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A First-Year Teacher's Guidebook, 2nd Ed.
by Bonnie Williamson, Marilyn Pribus (Editor), Kathy Hoff, Sandy Thornton (Illustrator)

$17.95 from
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Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About Education
by Peter M. Senge (Editor), Nelda H. Cambron McCabe, Timothy Lucas, Art Kleiner, Janis Dutton, Bryan Smith

$24.50 from
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The Courage to Teach : Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life
by Parker J. Palmer

$16.76 from
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If You Don't Feed the Teachers They Eat the Students : Guide to Success for Administrators and Teachers
by Neila A. Connors

$13.96 from
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Effective Teaching...
by Harry and Rosemary Wong

January 2001

The Miracle of Teachers

"If the heavens were all parchment, and the trees of the forest all pens, and every human being were a scribe, it would be impossible to record all that I have learned from my teachers."

                    Jock Zakkai

What teachers do is nothing short of a miracle that humbles and inspires us all.

For what you do, know that you are

    indispensable, and

We don't know the last time someone thanked you for choosing teaching as a profession. So just in case no has told you lately, "Thank you." We know that there are many shortcomings and challenges facing educators, but as you begin a new year let's look at some data as to why teachers are to be respected, valued, and thanked.

You Are to Be Respected

  • Standardized achievement test scores are at record highs. The results of three major tests of educational achievement - SAT, ACT, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) - have shown steady gains over the past two decades. More students are taking the SAT, 34% in 1987 growing to 42% in 1994, with record levels scoring above 650 or the 92nd percentile. Students taking Advanced Placement Tests have jumped from 78,000 in 1978 to 1,000,000 today.

  • Fourth graders have made impressive scores in math and science, outperforming their counterparts in most other countries.

  • More high school students are taking advanced courses in mathematics and science than at any other time and their mathematics and science performance have improved.

  • Black children are doing better than ever in public schools. The rate for black children completing high school is at an historic high - 87%. The white public school completion rate and Hispanic completion rate continue to climb with 92% and 75%, respectively.

  • A record-high 84.1% of people age 25 and older have at least a high school diploma, up from 83.4% in 1999, and 24.5% in 1940. You are educating the masses!

  • Similarly, 25.6 % of people age 25 and older have four years or more of college compared to 4.6% in 1940.

  • The dropout rate is at an all-time low of 11%, while the rates for graduation and college attendance are at an all-time high. Between 1984 and 1998, the percentage of students completing high school and enrolling in college rose from 55% to 67%. Enrollment of women in college has increased to 57% of the student population.

  • America's graduate schools are the envy of the world.

    You Are to Be Valued

  • Today's teachers average more than $400 in expenditures from their own pockets for school supplies and materials. While the business community bashes American education, 3 million teachers contribute $1.2 billion to our economy.

  • Public school teachers are better educated and have more classroom experience than their predecessors. Virtually all hold a bachelor's degree and almost half (45%) have a master's degree. Half have been educators for at least 15 years, and more than one-third (38%) have taught for two decades. You are the best-educated group of teachers ever in the history of American education.

  • Teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teacher Standards increased from 282 in 1995 to 4,720 in 2000 or 9524 certified since the beginning of the program.

  • Teachers work an average of 49.3 hours a week, some 13 hours more than the average school contract requires. And yet, you are paid the lowest wages for teachers in the industrial world.

  • There are 87,125 public schools operating in this country and while the quality varies, all but a handful are enormously successful.

  • Despite the media hype surrounding a handful of tragic shootings, the incidence of public school violence has decreased for nine consecutive years. The most common school crime is theft, not violence. The average child is safer at school than at home. You provide a dependable haven for children.

    You Are to Be Thanked

  • Sputnik. In 1958 we were told that Sputnik and the Russians were going to dominate the universe. Today our shuttle launches are routine. We have developed as the most advanced technological and scientific nation on earth.

  • A Nation not at Risk. In 1983 everyone was declaring "Our Nation at Risk" because of the success of the Japanese economy. Today, we have the healthiest economy in the world with record stock market prices, rising wages, lowest unemployment rate, 25 percent decrease in the welfare rolls, sustained peace, and record life expectancy numbers. By a wide margin the U.S. is still the No. 1 industrial superpower. The United States leads the world by all measures in the global economy, in technology, and in the productivity of its workers. An important factor in this phenomenal accomplishment is the high quality of American students and the schools from which they graduate.

  • Our Society. Today's school environment is the most complex and difficult in history.
      100,000 children are homeless on any given night
      1 million teenagers are pregnant each year
      135,000 children bring guns to school every day
      Homicide is the leading cause of death among minority youth aged 15 to 19
      Reported child abuse increased 48 percent from 1986 to 1991
      160,000 children will not go to school every day because they are afraid of bullies
      Every day 4.6 million babies spend part of their days in pre-school or licensed day care
      4 million children between the ages of 6 and 12 routinely care for themselves before and after school without adult supervision (

    Yet our teachers and administrators are doing an admirable job of educating our children with the highest test scores ever with today's diverse population.

    With grateful appreciation, much of the preceding information is gleaned from the work and report of

    If you have similar data that is more current or additional data that speaks to the value of educators, please send it to us at the address at the end of this column. We are in this together and it's only through sharing our accomplishments that we can have pride in our successes.

    We are well aware that we have many challenges ahead of us -- even the best football teams and spouses are not perfect -- yet this column will probably give pleasure to the naysayers and complainers and provide an excuse to write to us and remind us of our failures and shortcomings. These people are forever present, but for once, as the New Year begins, we thought you'd like to hear about some things you have done right and which are truly deserving of some appreciation and respect.

    A New Year and a New Start

    Recently, we watched the American Teacher Awards while preparing for our holiday celebrations. Having never seen the program before or knowing the criteria for selection, we were in awe of our colleagues who unabashedly gave their hearts to children. There wasn't a dry eye in the audience or in our kitchen!

    As the awardees so graciously accepted their statuettes, they made every educator proud to be in the same profession. Their effectiveness in the classroom didn't come by way of a fancy program or a gimmick. It came with effectively managing children to unleash their potential.

    Our columns, since June, have given you specific techniques on how to manage a classroom successfully so that you can unleash the potential in your students. These techniques have been furnished from actual teachers and administrators in the field. The efficacy of these techniques is so simple and dramatic that there is no reason why you cannot be an effective teacher, too.

    There is something inherently special about our profession
    that allows us to close out a previous academic year and
    plan for a new beginning --
    a sort of annual renewal, if you will.

    We used this quote by Lee Gray in our August column and it bears repeating as you, perhaps, prepare for a new semester, begin a new calendar year, and anticipate the new millennium. Use the information from our past columns to tweak, refine, or start all over again.

    As you begin 2001, let us remind you of your achievements and validate your importance to the children you teach. And say with great pride and gratitude, "Thank You!"

    Happy New Year.

    For a printable version of this article click here.

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