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Running Head: LITERATURE REVIEW

Literature Review:
The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher

Kelli Murphy
National University
TED 690
Professor Clifton Johnson
June 12, 2016

Literature Review

Abstract
This literature review is about the book The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective
Teacher by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong. These authors have spent years teaching, and
now book speaking engagements years in advance. They cover concepts in their book starting
with how to be an effective teacher and what the three characteristics of an effective teacher
entail, how to set positive expectations for student success, how to have good classroom
management, how to design lessons to help students reach mastery, and how to continue to grow
as a professional educator.

Literature Review

Literature Review
Harry K. Wong and Rosemary Wong are the foremost authorities on the effective teacher.
They are so highly regarded that they are booked 2 to 4 years into the future for speaking events.
Harry is a former award-winning high school science teacher, including the Horace Mann
Outstanding Educator Award and the National Teachers Hall-of-Fame Lifetime Achievement
Award. Rosemary Wong is a former elementary school teacher and the recipient of the
distinguished Alumnus recognition from Southeastern Louisiana University. She also has her
own large achievements including being the recipient of the Silicon Valley Woman of
Achievement Award. Together they received the Upton Sinclair Award and were nominated for
the Brock International Prize in Education. In addition to all these amazing awards, they have
built and sustain a school in Cambodia.
This book is the leading book on classroom management and teaching for lesson mastery.
The book helps all teachers, whether new to teaching or with many years of experience, by
showing them how their actions as educators on the first two to three weeks of school can
determine how well students will achieve for the remainder for the year. The book claims to help
educators to become a successful teacher, to get the results you want with trouble students, and
how to be an effective developer of staff members or peers.
Harry and Rosemary Wong describe in the book what an effective teacher is. They say
that an effective teacher has positive expectations for student success, is an extremely good
classroom manager, and knows how to design lessons for student mastery. The emphasis on high
expectations was based off of research that was done that whatever the teacher expects from the
learner is what the learner will produce, so it is key to always keep our expectations high for
each level of student. In addition to this, they talk about how high expectations are related to

Literature Review

attitude or behavior, so having your own good attitude will help with your students attitude. This
can be achieved by addressing people by name, saying please and thank you, having a smile on,
and being lovable and capable.
Classroom management was the next category where I took note of a ton of ideas. This
area covered how to manage a classroom, how to prepare your classroom, how to maintain an
effective grade book, how to have an effective discipline plan and how to set up classroom
procedures. One idea I really enjoyed was that effective teachers manage their classrooms where
ineffective teachers discipline their classrooms. When thinking about what makes up a wellmanaged classroom, there were 4 characteristics discussed: 1. High level of student involvement
with work, meaning students are doing the work, not the teacher; 2. Clear student expectations,
meaning students know that assignments and tests are based on objectives; 3. Relatively little
wasted time, confusion, or disruptions, meaning teacher has a discipline plan, and they have
assignments posted on the board for students to start their work immediately; and 4. The
classroom is work-oriented, but a relaxed and pleasant climate meaning that the teacher has
invested time in practicing procedures with students until they have become routines, the teacher
knows how to bring class to attention, and the teacher knows how to give praise and encourage
students.
One last tip I got from the Wongs is the procedures they recommend you teach your
students for cooperative learning. They recommend that you teach the following: 1. you are
responsible for your own job and the results of the group. 2. If you have a question, ask your
support buddies. 3. You must be willing to help if a support buddy asks you for help. 4. If no one
can answer a question, agree on a consensus question and appoint one person to raise a hand for
help from the teacher. This was something I found very helpful since most of the observations in

Literature Review

the classroom I have witnessed cooperative learning, and it seems the teacher repeats herself
many times. This is something I can see being an asset to the class.

Literature Review

References
Wong, H. K., & Wong, R. T. (1998). The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher.
Mountain View, CA: Harry K. Wong Publications, Inc.