Glasser's Quality School : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

The Quality School by William Glasser, M.D.

As I read Glassers book The Quality School, I instantly found similarities within his lead-management classroom to The Responsive Classroom. To explain briefly, The Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching that helps build a strong social curriculum and appropriate academic content. Responsive Classroom strategies weave through the fabric of daily school life, creating a learning community that is both academically challenging and socially responsible. These methods enhance academic performance, increase social skills, and reduce problem behaviors. Four classrooms at Falls Elementary School have started using The Responsive Classroom beginning September 1998. There are three topics in which I would like to show similarities between Glassers lead-management classroom and The Responsive Classroom:

1. Ask students for help and advice in any way possible within the classroom, school, and community. 2. Students need to see their teacher as the model and the teacher to show what is to be done and to create a positive environment in which to work. 3. The foundation for quality education is we care.

In a lead-managed classroom, students have the power. The students are responsible for what is produced within the classroom. When students are responsible for their production, then quality goes up. At this point, everyone will share in the success, there is an increase in cooperation, fewer power struggles, and it becomes easy to be friends with those teachers manage. In The Responsive Classroom, students are asked within the first two weeks of school to write down with their parents their hopes and dreams for the coming school year. These hopes and dreams can be anything from reading in front of the class to finishing their Math timings. These hopes and dreams were written on paper clouds and balloons and made into a bulletin board. From the Hopes and Dreams bulletin board, we came up with two basic rules for the students within our classroom to follow. It was a classroom meeting where the students came up with these rules. The rules were: RESPECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS--RESPECT YOUR ENVIRONMENT. As in the lead-managed classroom, when teachers shed their power, students feel empowered. Since the students made the rules, they will work harder to follow them. That means the quality of work becomes higher. To have students make rules in the classroom, is only the beginning of what they are capable of. From the classroom, students can assist within the school and then continue within the community.

The teacher in the lead-managed classroom will show or model the job in order that the students will perform the same job to the quality the manager expects. During this modeling, teachers continually ask the students for input as to what might be a better way to accomplish the production. In The Responsive Classroom, the teacher is asked to model everything the first four weeks of school. When I use the word everything, I mean everything as how to get out of your chair and push your chair in, how to line up, how to hold a scissors, how to put your dictionary away, how to put your cover back on your marker, etc. As teachers, we are to assume nothing. When I read this, I realized how much we actually do assume as teachers within our classrooms. I team teach in a 5/6 multi-age classroom. I no longer assume that my students know how to carry their chair across the room. First, I model how a chair will be carried across the room, then I ask a student to show how he/she will carry his/her chair, and finally all students will practice carrying their chairs across the room until it is done with quality. In this way, they are respecting themselves, others, and their environment. Even though the team teaching is not a part of The Responsive Classroom, I feel that we are continually modeling cooperation and respect for one another while creating a positive learning environment.

In the lead-managed classroom, it should be apparent that everyone has a we care attitude. If everyone has a we care attitude, then the quality of education will rise. A we care attitude goes back to the classroom rules in regards to respect. When I talk about a we care attitude in The Responsive Classroom, I will briefly explain a classroom morning meeting. We meet every morning in a circle for 15 to 20 minutes. The students will greet one another which may be a simple handshake or compliment one another with their greeting. Secondly, a student will read the greeting/message board. The teacher writes a new greeting/message daily. An example might be: Good Morning Mathematicians, Today is Monday, January 4, 1999. What did you do over winter break? Please use tally marks. Vacation_____ Read for fun_____ Hockey_____ Basketball_____ Skating_____ Other_____ Please remember Mr. Lindahl will be in today at 1:00 p.m. speaking on How To Write A Report. Keep Smiling, Mrs. Dowty. At this time, we review the board, count up the tally marks, and talk over some other choices I may have forgotten for the next time. Next, we will play a short game which the kids love. And, finally, three students who have signed up for sharing on the greeting/message board will share. The sharing student will make a simple statement such as, I went to Florida over break. That student is now ready for questions asked by other students who have their hands raised. The student sharing will call on the other students to ask their questions and he/she will answer. This sharing time is a respectful and controlled time by the students in the circle. Anyone who does not follow the rules of the circle, which have already been modeled, will be asked to leave the circle. That student may come back to the circle when he/she is ready, not when the teacher is ready, only when the student is ready. There are no excuses to not have a morning meeting--it is done daily. These morning meetings involve the same students around the circle throughout the school year. In that way, these students will continually feel safe sharing positive happenings in their lives as well as problems they might need assistance with. This circle is a safe circle!

I agree with Glasser on starting small. I think if enough progress is made within one or two classrooms, then other classrooms will follow. Whether we work for a Quality School or The Responsive School, we are improving the quality of life within our community and youth will learn responsibility and respect.

-- Anonymous, January 03, 1999

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