He is a powerful speaker with deep insights into the educational process.
Reginald James
Superintendent of Schools-Gadsden County, FL

Bill's Books

Support and learn about Bill's efforts to instill his humane and effective teaching methods, in the home and in the school, by purchasing one of his books.

Transform the school, transform society.

Blogs

Reading is everything

If there is one academic skill that rises above all others in importance, it is reading, especially in today’s modern world. If a child can read well, which includes comprehension, they can teach themselves all kinds of things without outside help. Without the ability to read, one is lost in a literate society and becomes very dependent on others for almost everything. Reading is simply the power and freedom to control one’s life, sorting through information to make sense of the outer world.

The value of recess

Looking at a modern school, an adult of a certain age might be forgiven if he asked, “What happened to recess?” A young child likely would respond, “What is recess?” The absence of recess in most schools speaks volumes to what is wrong with a lot of school systems, which seem to be run by people who have little understanding of children, how they learn, and what makes them tick. The atmosphere in many schools is becoming increasingly sterile, pressurized, regimented, punitive and boring – sort of like a factory for test takers – treating children as if they are merely small adults.

Teaching to the test

Well, its test time/stress time again for thousands of students and teachers in the state of Florida and a lot has been written about many of the negative effects surrounding a high-stakes testing system on which so much rides. If you are not a teacher it may be harder to discern what the fuss is all about, so I would like to shed light on a couple of the side issues that don’t get talked about enough.
The first is the widely heard complaint that teachers are being forced to “teach to the test.” What, exactly, does that mean, and why is it bad?

Field trip magic

During the next several weeks of non-stop testing, most of it in front of a computer, a child might be forgiven for having his mind wander towards what many schools offer as a release – an end of the year “field trip.” These field trips coming at the end of the year tend to be more entertainment than educational, however, which is fine because that is their purpose – but if that is the only field trip taken during the year it is a shame.

Education and jobs eradicate crime

I was recently asked by a local school superintendent to comment on the recent reports linking rising graduation rates with dropping crime rates, and will be happy to do so – with gusto. I also noticed the wonderful job fair held at Tallahassee Community College recently, where hundreds attend to explore careers and will examine that in context. I will add two and two together which, in this case, adds up to a whole lot more than four for the educated child that is gainfully employed.

Family purpose

Sometimes the greatest forces at play on children that affect how they perform in school are found nowhere near the school yard. Society and the family unit used to be set up for the nurturing of children, so that they could have a chance at growing up to be a successful adult. It also used to be that it was fairly normal, if economically possible, for one adult to stay home and raise the children while the other made money to keep the family unit going.

Pleasure reading

When you hear the phrase “pleasure reading,” the word “luxury” pops immediately to mind. Think about that for a second. Reading something just for the pure enjoyment of it is considered not the norm. There is apparently not enough time in the day to actually enjoy reading. There is way too much serious “work” reading to do to think about something so frivolous as “fun” reading. What a weird view of a person’s single most important academic skill. It is also a counterproductive view if you want to actually strengthen and grow that skill.

School, gardens and a real education

Usually in February my thoughts begin to wander towards the joys of the upcoming spring. School curriculums should be doing the same thing, but are not, becoming bogged down over increasing testing concerns. This sterility of the school atmosphere is a shame, because spring offers unprecedented opportunities for a real, diversified and hands-on education for all children. They should be planting and tending to gardens instead of being stuck in testing centers.

Destroying the teaching profession.

I was going to title my latest educational column “What in the world is going on and why has everybody lost their mind?” but decided that I needed to be a little more specific, so I am going to go with “Why is the entire teaching profession continuously ignored on anything that actually matters about teaching?” Seriously.

Teacher support is vital

There is a growing teacher shortage in different parts of the country, as evidenced by the many new ads popping up touting easier and faster ways to become a teacher. The national trend is that the average teacher doesn’t even last five years on the job anymore; more like three. This is deeply disturbing on many levels and has serious implications for our society. The underpinning of our democracy is an educated citizenry, which is why free public schools were created in the first place.

Pages

Here's a good one; five fights. Mr. Rowley, I assume you are getting paid for this?.....Well, we need to have a talk with your guidance couselor, because fighting for free is a lousy choice.
Professor Johnson Unhinged - Section for Students

7 Minute Lecture Series

 

01. Introduction
(7 minute Lectures)

02. How to Create a Dropout
(Positive Behavior Shaping)

03. The Phone Call
(Reward Effort)