Books by Frank Thoms
Behind the Red Veil
At the beginning of the Trump/Russia brouhaha in 2016, I resurrected my manuscript from thirty years ago. It was time to rewrite my memoir befriending Russians during Mikhail Gorbachev’s time when the people were speaking out for what they wanted from their government. Now the brouhaha has ended; the Trump presidency and his genuflecting to Putin is over.
The rearrest of Alexander Navalny in January 2021 has reawakened Russia, not only in massive demonstrations in Moscow but also all across Russia’s eleven time zones. In supporting Navalny, Russians are reclaiming their voices, which I had been privileged to listen to thirty years ago. At that time, they were railing against the harshness of Communist rule. Now Putin’s corruptive practices, vilified in Navalny’s scathing video seen by millions, has stirred the people to demonstrate. And the Biden administration has ramped up pressure on Putin.
My first venture to the Soviet Union occurred in October 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev’s first year as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In the following six trips, I taught English in four schools in Leningrad, Moscow, and Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan. In 1994, three years after the fall of Communism, I led a seminar in Yekaterinburg, Siberia, for teachers who would be coming to the US. I have been fortunate to have spent nearly a year of my life among Russians.
Readers will come away having heard Russian voices inside Communist controlled Soviet Union. They provide a perspective on the outcries of the Russian people today in support of Alexander Navalny, who Puitin has arrested and imprisoned. The pent-up voices that spoke out during Mikhail Gorbachev's reign have returned on mass, witness the huge demonstrations all across Russia.
Exciting Classrooms: Practical Information for Student Success
Thoms offers readers a robust model for instructional improvement, an inspiritional set of insights, and a pragmatic toolkit of strategies to sharpen pedadgogy and engage learners.
He sees the teaching process as a joint venture between teacher and student, where the teacher brings learning to the student and, at the same time, brings the student to the learning. This process demands at least as much listening as talking, a new habit that teachers and principals need to learn.
"I enjoyed reading Exciting Classrooms, learned from it, and I am a better teacher because of it."
"Exciting Classrooms is the best book on education I have read. I love how it combines some of the best ideas for really engaging the students. If any teacher embraced the attitudes, approaches, and methods in Frank’s book, she would be catapulted into “master teacher” status more quickly and effectively than she would from reading any other book on education, or just learning by experience."
Mona Seno, art teacher, Northfield-Mount Hermon School
Listening Is Learning: Conversations between 20th and 21st Century Teachers
Veteran teachers, recognizing the challenges of 21st Century children, offer engaging ideas for revitalizing the face-to-face classroom. A place to learn the value of body language and tone. A place where gestures, animation, eye contact, and voice make for deeper understanding of one another. Human society began with people sitting around campfires having conversations. In his appealing book, Thoms advicates to continue that tradition.
"In a warm and gentle voice, Thoms offers both emotional wisdom and practical support for new teachers and for veterans thinking about how best to support new teachers. He makes a good argument for collaborative relationships among teachers and between teachers and students."
Teaching from the Middle of the Room: Inviting Students to Learn
In twenty-seven stimulating chapters, readers learn of the myriad of methods that provide stimulating invitations for students to want to learn. It was written before the impact of digital devices in students' lives. Nevertheless it offers ways to bring students into face-to-face learning necessary to counteract the isolation of the digital culture.
"Frank Thoms is a passionate teacher, and his powerful book is all about "stance"––how a teacher places him or herself physically, emotionally, intellectually, and organizationally––with respect to students, knowledge, and learning. Every teacher, from a first-timer to an old hand, will learn much that is practical, and even more that is inspirational, from reading this book."
"Frank Thoms draws our attention back to the locus of learning––the synergy between teachers and students. He offers empathetic and passionate teachers the thought tools and practical steps they need to invigorate a collaborative classroom."
Teaching That Matters: Engaging Minds, Improving Schools
By meeting innovative practitioners who engage students, this intriguing book will help readers shift from traditional classroom practices into exciting alternatives.
"Teaching That Matters is a delightful concoction of philosophical and psychological reflections and provocations on the art of teaching. Creative teachers will find Frank Thoms's book highly engaging and his practical teaching recommendations enormously useful."
former secretary of education,
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
"I feel your energy and commitment and can also hear your voice, literally, as I read. Your book feels like a personal conversation rather than a broadcast. Perhaps that is why you were was such a good teacher!"
"The chapters are so intriguing. I just want to curl up with my favorite plush blanket and spend the day reading what Frank Thoms had written."