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Glasser Text Comments
-- Anonymous, January 04, 1999
Comments regarding "The Quality School", by William Glasser, M.D. By: Tina Meyers
The Quality School is a textbook that should be in every educator's library. Glasser has been working in the schools since 1956 and has many interesting strategies and philosophies regarding what can help make a quality school.
As I read this textbook I reflected on my own educational experiences and realized that some of my concerns were not just about teachers, but also about those that managed the teachers. Coercion was and still is a primary means of "motivating" students into during quality work. Before reading this book I didn't realize that educational institutions are primarily boss-managed. Even though "boss-managed" is just a term, it brings some meaning and clarity to what happened in the past and continues to happen today. Coercion simply does not work.
There were many methods used in education to promote learning, but the concept of cooperative learning is one that I truly support and use in my own classes. Glasser refers to cooperative learning as a means of helping students achieve some power. I find that when students work together on cooperative projects they do work harder and learn about much more than just the task at hand. Cooperative learning is about time management, diversity, problem solving, and also empowerment. For cooperative learning to take place teachers must have very structured assignments and also be willing to let the students be in charge of how well they do on a project; the sink or swim philosophy.
It is true that as educators we often fail to understand the difference between teaching vs. teaching effectively. Teaching is a difficult profession. Not only do we need to know and understand our field of study, but also some how get into what Glasser refers to as students' "quality world". I find that it is imperative that I am very creative in what assignments and projects my students work on. If they don't feel that it is a skill they will need, it becomes less appealing and harder for me to facilitate success and obtain quality work. I also feel that I spend a large majority of my time creating assignments that are pertinent and fulfilling so I can properly assess my students. Quality and success do come with a price.
Administration and educators cannot rely on a potential reform from boss-management to lead-management without support from home as well. Families need to be active in the participation of the development of their children. When I reflect on the students in the past that had high-risk or potential for failure, I remember that the behavior modification techniques at home were based on coercion methods or boss management. Boss-management is prevalent in many educational institutions and unfortunately, I do not see any change in direction from boss-management to lead-management within the educational institution. For changes to work they must work from the top down. I believe that the concept of quality will not take root in our classrooms and institutions of learning if the reform does not start at the administrative level. Glasser discusses many good and proven methods in his textbook. I especially agree with his philosophy regarding the role of the superintendent, principal, or dean in the classroom. I believe that at any level administrators need to be in the classroom. With the change in times and attitudes it is easy to forget the difference between administering and educating.
Student self-assessment or self-evaluation is a method that I find especially easy to incorporate into any lesson. Self-evaluation is really about personal development and how students can learn to address what quality is and how they can make judgements based on criteria you have set up or their own criteria. I was amazed at how receptive and honest my students really were in their own self-evaluation, not to mention peer evaluation.
In conclusion, I enjoyed this text very much. I was pleasantly surprised at how many colleagues at Rainy River had read this textbook. It has prompted some great discussions and as colleagues a few have agreed to start monthly sessions to look at how RRCC can assess the changing times and how strategies and methods discussed in books such as "The Quality School" and "Principal Centered Leadership" can be adopted and used on our campus.
-- Anonymous, January 25, 1999