This article focuses on a high school teacher who teaches at a “Glasser Quality High School”, which uses the methods of William Glasser. Apparently, his methods focus on the theme that we can not influence the behaviors of others, especially students, by telling them what to do. By the high school level, as teachers, we are working with young adults and need to do our best to facilitate success. To believe we can force a child to succeed is unreasonable: the student’s choices will determine their success.
The author opens the article by reminding us that for all students, there are some goals which are the same: to learn and to graduate. These goals may not be at the top of a student’s priority list, but if the student woke up and found a way to school, there is at least some desire to be present and accomplish these goals.
The teacher uses “choice theory” to help her students succeed, and feels this method makes her students feel more responsible for their own education.
She goes through a basic model conversation she would have with a student who lacks focus or the desire to complete an assignment. She opens the conversation by giving the student the opportunity to state any problems they are having by asking how they are feeling. She then asks if they need help, if they understand the assignment, and if they know why she came over to them. This gives the child the option to receive help or clarification, and makes them aware that they were not focustng.
She then asks the child to formulate a plan to succeed from then on, applying critical thinking skills and problem solving. Finally, the teacher asks how the child would like her to proceed should she see the same behavior, again putting the way the student’s education runs In the hands of the student.
I had a hard time getting through this article. I enjoyed learning about a style of education lam not familiar with; however, I did not fully agree with the methods used by the teacher. I like that she puts more responsibility for her students’ education on the shoulders of the students, especially since they are of high school age. Still, the model which I summarized above seems to take a longer time than is realistic in most classes of twenty-plus students. In the time it would take a teacher to go through the mentioned steps, multiple other students would probably need help, lose focus, or be distracted by the interaction between the teacher and the other student. I also feel that the choice method takes away a degree of the teacher’s authority which is necessary in helping some less-than-ambitious students succeed.