Quality Schools Response

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Thoughts on Quality Schools by Heidi Mlynarczyk

I think that we would like to believe and do believe Glassers theory that all students can achieve the same level of quality learning if they have positive picture of school in their minds. I also believe that some coercion tactics are not necessary and humiliate students which does not get them to work any harder for you. But, I also think there are so many outside influences that direct and shape a person and their decisions that I as a teacher cannot control. If these areas, that I have no influence over, are distracting or dysfunctional for the student I dont expect to get the same results from them as I would a student that does not have the same influences.

I do practice some of Glassers techniques in my classroom such as; cooperative grouping, having students edit/review their own work, and having students correct the mistakes they have made on their tests. However, I also think that other areas of Glassers argument are logistically impossible the way out classrooms and school systems are set up. I have many questions about what happens to the special needs student who may not be able to achieve a B level in a subject area? Is he assuming that there is no integration of special needs children in the classroom or is he thinking that modifications and adaptations are made. Also, how and where do the other students who do not get a B get the extra time, teaching and tutoring that they need? Are the classroom teachers suppose to be providing all of this too? I cannot see a classroom functioning on a sane level if you have half your class at different stages of learning and on different topics as well. Who keeps track of all of this? Finally, dies this mean that if a child does not pass all required courses in second grade that we will be retaining them until they do?

This all seems like a very daunting task for one classroom teacher.

-- Anonymous, December 15, 1998


Hello Heidi, I have many of the same questions you have. Glasser does address some of them. On page 33(my book-I have a different edition than most) he asks, How would a teacher handle faster and slower students in the same classroom?" His answer seems to be to separate the slower students rather than letting them fail or get by with lesser quality work. Glasser,"My solution is to find out early who is not able to keep up in the standard one-year course and offer a two year course concurrently into which these slower students could transfer." In this two-year course students will be given sufficient time and tutoring to allow them to achieve at the same level as the other students. This sounds like more staff to me. He explains that we could use the quicker students to help teach the slower ones. They would earn an A+ for this extra effort. I agree with you though, the record keeping for this sounds awful. With students electing to wait to complete tests or other assesments, how does a teacher keep track of who is at what level efficiently? How do you keep students at only two levels with this system? Somewhere else in the book he emphasizes the importance of having plenty of adults and student tutors available to the slower students. Someone would have to train these tutors and schedule them. Changing to this system would take a lot of initial effort and crativity.

-- Anonymous, December 30, 1998

Hi Heidi, I agree with many of the things you indicated as your concerns regarding the Glasser book. In theory, the ideas sound to good to be true, but I cannot actually imagine them in practice. I think every teacher can be reminded of all the good techniques in the book and we often apply these sound teaching principles in our classrooms. I am not convinced that all children will respond quite the way the book describes. Sometimes it is difficult to reach a child no matter how hard we try simply because of other issues in his/ her life. I also think you are right in saying that Glasser's ideas would have to be enthusiastically embraced by an entire district in order to even try out the theory. It would require a paradigm switch on the part of parents , teachers, students,administrators and legislators. IF that were to take place , who knows ????

-- Anonymous, January 18, 1999

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