Education Expert Motivates Teachers

A nationally known education advocate brought his motivational message to South Mississippi Monday.

Dr. Harry Wong spoke to more than seven thousand teachers at the coast coliseum.

He outlined some fundamental techniques for boosting student achievement and becoming a more effective teacher.

Dr. Wong promised the crowd of educators his four hour lecture would be time well spent.

"I guarantee that you will know how to run and manage a classroom on day number one," said the California science teacher turned motivational speaker.

Dr. Wong says teachers must be willing to beg, borrow and steal good techniques from others. His philosophy for effective teaching stresses several basics, like the importance of continuing education.

"In fact, the research says, out of Tennessee, that as you improve the competency of teachers, the very first student to profit from that increased competency of teachers is the lowest level of students," said Dr. Wong.

The advice is outlined in his book: "The First Days of School". It provides a straight forward lesson plan for effective teaching.

Lucky Langston is principal of the Harrison County alternative school.

"Your professional teachers, your professional educators, the ones that are sticking with it, the career people, they're willing to find out ways to make their jobs easier. And I think that's what it's all about. Become more effective," said Langston.

The heart of Dr. Wong's message is classroom management. He says teachers who use consistent management procedures will be rewarded. Classrooms run smoothly and student achievement increases.

Harriet Marsh teaches at the Harrison Central 9th grade center. She says Dr. Wong's management emphasis makes sense.

"If you don't have classroom management, if you don't have something for students to do, then you're going to have a mess. I mean you're going to have to holler and all these things he's saying," said Marsh.

Michelle Southern teaches at Escatawpa Elementary School.

She read Dr. Wong's book during her studies at the University of Southern Mississippi.

She follows several of his suggestions, including the advice to be prepared.

"Having something ready when the students walk in. You're prepared, they're prepared. They know what to expect and that's the best way to be," said Southern.

Dr. Wong says if teachers are effective, then their students will also achieve success.