At the end of last Spring I had the opportunity to visit Bryce Hedstrom teach for a day. Man, am I glad that I did that! I am headed into my second year of teaching and also my second year with tprs. It has been life-saving to learn from these guys who have done it for a while. It has been so valuable that I plan on observing as much as I can. I am hoping to head to Arizona in the Fall to visit Joe Neilson and it is looking good so far.
Anyway, one of the many things that Bryce told me about was his PAT system. As I listened to how he ran his class it was almost too good to be true and I was eager to see if would work for me, too. The thing that I really liked about PAT was that it was like a more positive págame. The truth is that the students need to be kept accountable with their English in class and if English is not eliminated, there will be serious acquisition problems in the class. When I used the págame, nobody spoke English. But the down fall was that:
1. It did not encourage positive participation
2. If nobody participated there was no consequence. [You can’t give the whole class a págame]
3. If everyone participated there was not a visible reward.
The nice thing about PAT is that it controls the negative participation and rewards the positive participation. It eliminates all behavior that you don’t want in your class and rewards the class for behavior that you do want. It really does not take that much time, especially if the students are in charge of it, and the best part is that it really brings the class together. It moves the class from being individuals to a team. They keep track of each other and monitor their behavior. It uses peer pressure to do the discipline which is more powerful than any teacher could ever hope to be.
I have noticed a total difference so far. Some classes have been unbelievable. The positive participation is enough to make any second year teacher cry and there is no English to be heard. The class is working and quiet when the bell rings, everyone has their materials, and everyone is participating with enthusiasm. Thank you Fred Jones! [and of course Bryce!]
If you have not tried it, check it out. It may save your teaching career.