Quality School by Willliam Glasser

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William Glasser has been working with schools since 1956. His goal of running a school without failure has been hard to accomplish. Dr. Glasser created the concept of a quality school--a school where there is no failure because all students are doing competent work and many are doing quality work. He now has a new book of Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom, which elaborates on his theory that quality will happen when the student has the intrinsic value of wanting the quality.

Glasser explains that only through lead-management can teachers create classrooms in which all students not only do competent work but begin to do quality work. This has to occur from the top down. Classrooms are the core of quality school but, so does the manner in which teachers are dealt with. The book explains that to persuade students to do quality school work, teachers must first establish warm, totally noncoercive relationships with their students; teach only useful material, which means stressing skills rather than asking students to memorize information, and move from teacher evaluation to student self-evaluation. I cant imagine that people who choose education as their profession wouldnt strive for this. I observe many of my colleagues hammer-away at doing the best they can using all of Glassers suggested bag-of-tricks by second nature. I just dont see much of it outside of classrooms. Also, I would have to challenge the guru himself (Glasser) to accomplish this with every student. I see students that are sociopath, amoral, schizophrenic, unfortunately will not be reached. It is unrealistic to believe that every student can be reached.

This book demonstrates how important it is to be involved with students quality worlds. He has a great understanding of what our educational system SHOULD be like. We need students to continually strive to do quality work. Teachers need to be seen as leaders; not boss managers. Glassers therapies of Control Therapy, Choice Therapy and Total Quality Management used in a quality school are based on the idea of taking responsibility for personal behavior and creating a progressive fulfilling life even without the benefit of supportive home environment. Schools are using this therapy to fight crime, behavior problems, improve grades and provide life skills.

At lunch I asked a fellow cohort member if he had finished Quality of Schools yet. It brought on a very enjoyable and interestesting discussion of new and tenured teacher. Most of them were familiar with the book. There was a real division of feelings about the practicality of the book. Most of which were divisible by age. Everyone agreed that the THEORY was wonderful. The new teachers appeared to be fired-up with reaching each student to do self-motivated quality life skills work. The more experienced teachers didnt disagree with Glasser but , just questioned that there are learners that prefer to do memorization and do not want self evaluation. The part of the discussion that amused me was a vocal teacher expressed an observation that, When you been in this long enough you see a circular pattern of education theories that keep popping up with different names and passed off as new. Everyone agreed that in order to be truly Glassers Quality School, it would have to be started from scratch and staffed with top to bottom believers. Taking an existing school and converting and changing administrative to teachers attitudes and methods would be difficult.

I do support Glassers sediment that the traditional coercive management in school is the root of todays educational problems. I would be elated if every teacher, board member and administrator shared and practiced this philosophy. Because I believe, like Glasser, that conventional coercive teaching methods are counterproductive. I advocate for a less adversarial method of education. I suppose that the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning has shown an effort (in rhetoric) in changing education to this in their effort with the Profiles of Learning. I have to question that in practice what are the chances of this happening? Even more so what are the chances of this happening in I.S.D. #361.

One can only hope that ALL individuals from top to bottom value and practice this philosophy. One step at a time, in an collaborative effort, individuals are practicing to do what is best for providing the best education with practical life skills to EACH students needs.

-- Anonymous, December 08, 1998

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