"Jane Califf captures what every teacher needs to learn: How to engage students in a way that builds on their strengths. Her easy to understand classroom suggestions urge teachers to listen to their students. It is through that listening that teachers can construct a classroom culture which respects each students and in most cases leads to a much more relevant and motivating classroom environment.
Califf is reflective without begin preachy. Her emphasis on gaining a deep understanding of her students reflects years of patient grappling with the complexities of teaching urban young people.
Her insights are not just for new and inexperienced teachers. They resonate with all teachers who are constantly refining what they need to do to reach all students."
Michael Charney, Retired Social Studies Teacher, Cleveland Public Schools.
In 1996 he was chosen as the American Federation of teachers as the k-12 teacher of the year. He is now working on a Rethinking Schools book about transforming teacher unions and organizing for the schools our students deserve.
"Jane Califf culls her extensive experience as a K-12 teacher and university teacher of teachers to provide pearls of wisdom accompanied with pragmatic applications. She demonstrates authentic student engagement in discovery learning that evokes democratic citizenship. This is a jewel for the novice teacher as well as the seasoned teacher who is seeking inspiration!"
Carolyne White, Professor, Department of Urban Education, Rutgers University Newark
"If you are thinking of taking a more student centered approach to teaching, this is a great book for you. Its practical and easy and interesting to read. Worth the time it saves you in the long run.
It’s chock full of practical examples. One that stood out for me was getting classmates involved when there is a behavior issue. My middle and high school students are way more receptive to help from their peers than from adults; and their peers really do want to help.
Many of the examples remind me that it is worth the time and effort to address issues of race and gender. Yes, it’s time out of a lesson, but the hurt and alienation to students, by not doing so, is a much more serious consequence."
Alice Freund, High School Biology Teacher
"I found this book to be very informative and helpful as it contains many nuggets of great information for all teachers, especially new ones. I've been teaching for 20 years and still need to be reminded of some of them. I felt validated that I'm doing right by my students and families after reading Chapter 9 Parents. I really feel that being open, forthcoming and building rapport with each family can really make the year go so smoothly.
I also enjoyed reading Chapter 10 Music as an Intrinsic Part of the Curriculum. It has opened my eyes to how to I can use music more in my 3rd grade classroom. This year my students favorite times of day are when they are listening to Classical or Meditation music; writing in their journals (first thing they do when coming to class) and while doing art. I had a student tell me, "It helps me concentrate more." I think that since teachers are such important roles in these young lives, we can help them learn to appreciate genres that are less familiar."
Melinda Creps, Elementary School Teacher, Fremont Unified School District, California
"Jane Califf has put together a book filled with practical advice from herself and other teachers. I marvel at this book because who better for us to learn from than other teachers. I have been teaching for 39 years and I still found motivation in this book and new ideas to try. I zeroed in on the cooperative learning chapter knowing that it is not a strength of mine. After reading the stories and suggestions, I am ready to start tomorrow with that all important list of rules for cooperative learning.
This is just what I needed to feel more comfortable updating my teaching style in this manner. The quotes from research about the subject got me started thinking I should do this and then the stories made me think I could do this. Reading about other teachers' successes will carry me through. This book will take me on the journey of something I have wanted to do, but felt ill equipped to do. I think teachers everywhere will find a chapter like that for themselves."
Lori Hartwick, Public Elementary School Teacher in South San Francisco
"This is just the kind of resource I have been looking for as a new teacher! Far from posing more educational theories for teachers to wade through, How to Teach Without Screaming provides real, concrete solutions to difficult classroom situations that will benefit teachers of all experience levels. Califf draws on decades of her own experiences in the classroom to discuss how teachers might meaningfully engage students of all ages in complex issues such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. Most importantly, Califf affirms our highest call in the classroom: to build a classroom community where all students feel respected and can thrive.
I have served as a children and youth choir director for several choirs in the past, and find this book to be a great resource for people working with children both in and outside of the classroom."
Allison Schommer, Music Teacher in Montclair, NJ
"I love this book! Jane Califf has obviously “walked the walk” in a variety of teaching situations, and has wonderful and practical suggestions for creating an inspiring classroom, with thoughtful strategies for dealing with problems as they arise.
Califf had me right from Chapter One, with great suggestions for helping kids realize that they are able to have agency in how society- in this case, their classroom- can be run in a respectful way that benefits all. Not only does Califf show how the children and teacher create the classroom rules together, but the teacher, too, comes up with a list of their own “teacher responsibilities” that the children then have a chance to weigh in on. Fascinating are the many and varied classroom examples woven throughout the book illustrating creative ways of developing a truly democratic classroom, where children take an active role in their own learning. (Don’t miss the section on the “quiet child”!)
I highly recommend this book to all teachers; indeed, to anyone who has, or works with children in any situation."
Laura Liben, Music and Movement Teacher, Madison Ave. Presbyterian Day School, N.Y.C.
"How to Teach Without Screaming is a very thoughtful book that provides ample resources, real-life examples and suggestions that are laid out in a non-judgmental and straightforward manner. I wish I had a book like this when I began teaching. I can see that it could become required reading for teachers."
Wynnie-Fred Victor Hinds, Former Elementary, High School and College Languages Teacher