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William Glasser : Choice Theory & Quality Teaching. Presented by: Lucy Batista Louise Bigourdin Janna Kostiuk.

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william glasser choice theory quality teaching

William Glasser:Choice Theory & Quality Teaching

Presented by:

Lucy Batista

Louise Bigourdin

Janna Kostiuk


“It has become clear that trying to force students to learn or behave responsibly is hopeless. Schools would do far better if they emphasized three things that have been shown to produce the results we want”

-William Glasser

the three things
The Three Things…
  • 1. Provide a curriculumthat is genuinelyattractive to students
  • 2. Use non-coercive discipline to help students make responsible choices that lead to personal success
  • 3. Strongly emphasize qualityin all aspects of teaching and learning

“We simply can not expect students to work and behave properly in school unless they believe that if they do some work, they will be able to satisfy their needs enough so that it makes sense to keep working.”

-William Glasser

some basic principles of choice theory
Some Basic Principles of Choice Theory
  • Student behaviour is determined by student choice not teacher control
  • All we do is behave
  • Almost all behavior is chosen
  • We are driven by our genes to satisfy our five basic needs
choice theory in the classroom
Choice Theory in the Classroom…
  • The use of team learning and collaboration creates excitement for learning
  • Provide opportunities for students to take an active role in their learning
  • Ask students to identify what they would like to explore in depth; they must also be able to explain why it is valuable
  • Use of inquiry projects
  • 1. What choices do you regularly provide students in your classroom?
  • 2. Would students say that you provide them with opportunities to make choices and decisions?
  • 3. Do you believe that a classroom climate is enhanced when students feel they have some choice?

Dr. Robert Brooks


“Students will not willingly engage in schoolwork unless if offers interesting activities to meet their basic needs for security, belonging, power, fun and freedom.”

- William Glasser

basic needs
Basic Needs…
  • Survival– school environment is safe and free from personal threat
  • Belonging– receive attention from the teacher and others and participate actively in class concerns
  • Power– when students are asked to participate in decision making about topics covered, procedures in class, class duties, work and talk with others, interesting activities
  • Freedom– allow students to make responsible choices of what and how to study, and then how they will demonstrate that
  • Fun– when activities are of genuine interest to students, they are more likely to engage in their learning
quality teaching
Quality Teaching
  • Provide a warm, supportive classroom climate
  • Use lead teaching rather than boss teaching
  • Ask students only to do work that is useful
  • Always ask the students to do the best they can
  • Ask students to evaluate work they have done and improve it
  • Help students recognize that doing qualityworkmakes them feel good
  • Help students see that quality work is never destructive to oneself, others, or the environment
four essentials of lead teachers
Four Essentials of Lead Teachers
  • 1. Constantly engage students in discussions of what quality is.
  • 2. Model activities so students know what is expected, and seek suggestions for changing or improving upon the activity.
  • 3. Negotiate with students criteria to assess quality work and ask students to self-assess according to these established criteria.
  • 4. Ensure students are provided with: the necessary conditions, a safe environment, the appropriate skills, and a non coercive atmosphere.



“We can not control anyone besides ourselves. We cannot “make” students do anything, but we can influence them to do things that lead to better behavior and increased success.”

- William Glasser

quality teaching related to discipline
Quality Teaching Related to Discipline
  • avoid adversarial position
  • work with students to establish standards of conduct in the classroom
  • natural discussions about class behavior
  • get students to decide what should happen when behavior agreements are broken.
  • ask students, “What can I do to help?”
  • when agreements and consequences are established then all should sign it
  • hold class meetings
how to intervene when rules are broken
How to Intervene When Rules are Broken…
  • Interventions should be non-punitive
  • Acknowledge there is a problem
  • Attach no emotion
  • Let them know that you will help when the child has calmed down
  • If the child does not calm down then they are asked to “time out” of the lesson (move to another table). He/she can move back to their spot when they are calm
  • Discuss the problem when time allows
  • Spend no time finding out whose fault it is
  • You are only looking for a solution “What were you doing?” How can we work things out so this won’t happen again?”

“Glasser believes most problems between teachers and students are caused by unsatisfactory relationships.”

Avoid the seven deadly habits in teaching:

Replace them with the seven connecting habits:

  • Criticizing
  • Blaming
  • Complaining
  • Nagging
  • Threatening
  • Punishing
  • Rewarding students to control them
  • Caring
  • Listening
  • Supporting
  • Contributing
  • Encouraging
  • Trusting
  • Befriending

“A major role of teachers is to help students make the behaviour choices that lead to proper behavior and high-quality learning.”

-William Glasser

current events
Current Events…
  • Watch the following video clip with a critical eye. According to Glasser’s Choice Theory, what would he argue? Do you agree or disagree?
  • http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2010/05/06/man-late-assignments-docked.html
critical debate
Critical Debate:
  • “Ask students to do their best work on the assignments. Do not grade their work, because grades suggest to students that the work is finished.”
  • “Nobody will fail or receive a low grade… The primary objective is to do competent work. Encourage students to work for higher quality to help them learn what it feels like to do A level work.”

William Glasser

  • “Allan certainly has heard a lot of reaction from Manitobans who want students to get used to the demands of the real world they will enter after graduation.”
  • “We live in a world in which students will have employers who expect them to be on time and meet deadlines.

Education Minister

Nancy Allan


Glasser’s Beliefs

Critical Points

  • No Fail Policy/Revision Process
  • Student Choice
  • Befriending Students
  • No real deadlines
  • Teachers afraid of giving up control
  • Standards testing/Meeting curricular outcomes
  • Teachers not viewed as authority figure

CASE: Kristina Will Not Work

Kristina, a student in Mr. Jake’s class, is quite docile. She socializes little with other students and never disrupts lessons. However, despite Mr. Jake’s best efforts, Kristina will not do her work. She rarely completes an assignment. She is simply there, putting forth no effort at all. What would Glasser suggest to help Kristin and Mr. Jake?

how to help kristina using choice theory
How to Help Kristina Using Choice Theory

Mr. Jake needs to…

  • Think carefully about the classroom program, determine whether the are obstacles impeding Kristina's basic needs
  • Discuss the situation with Kristina (no blaming, noting the no productivity and asking how he can help)
  • Show interest in her and be willing to be her friend. Talk to her in a friendly and courteous way about non school matters
  • Encourage and support her

Books written by Glasser:

Other Resources

  • 1965 – 1985 Reality Therapy: A new approach to Psychiatry
  • 1969 – Schools without Failure
  • 1986 – Control Theory in the Classroom
  • 1996 – changed the name to Choice Theory
  • 1998 – The Quality School: Managing Students without Coercion
  • Choice Theory in the Classroom
  • The Quality School Teacher
  • 2001 – Every Student can Succeed
  • Dr. Robert Brooks