Glasser Remarks : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Glasser Remarks

-- Anonymous, January 05, 1999


The Quality School, by William Glasser, M.D.

Dr. Glassers book The Quality School is based on what he calls a combination of lead management and choice theory. He says that our traditional way of managing students sends a clear message to almost all students that low-quality work is acceptable. Glasser tells us that people who are concerned with the problems in our schools today have not focused on how students are managed. Concerned professionals and nonprofessionals say that better teaching is the answer but Glasser feels that it is really better managing that is needed. Managing for quality work demands a noncoercive method of management that Glasser refers to as lead-management. He tells us that the definition of good teaching is embodied in four essential elements: 1. The teacher engages the students in a discussion of the quality of the work to be done and the time needed to do it, making a constant effort to fit the assignment to the skills and needs of the students. 2. The teacher models what is to be done so that the students know what is expected and that they can add input. 3. The teacher asks the students to evaluate their own work for quality. 4. The teacher is a facilitator who is concerned about the needs of the students and leads without coercion. Replacing the boss-management system that we have in schools today with the lead- management system is needed for educational reform. Boss-management has failed because it is not based on how we function. In this book, Glasser states that all human beings are born with five basic needs: survival, love, power, fun, and freedom. Choice theory contends that we will try to live in a way that will satisfy these needs. Lead-teachers understand therefore, that they cannot make students work hard if the work they are given is not satisfying. Boss-teachers, on the other hand refuse to believe that they cannot motivate students through coercion. Teachers are people managers, and managing people depends on the cooperation of the people being managed. If our students are going to produce quality work, lead- managers must promote need-satisfaction at all levels of the system.

As I read this book, I found myself agreeing with many of Dr. Glassers ideas especially the choice theory of need-satisfaction in the motivation of students. I also found myself wondering how it would ever be possible to allow students the opportunity to continue working on tested material until they mastered it. This reminds me of OBE but then that was tried in a boss-management system. I found some of the other ideas about two-year courses, the elimination of grades below a C, and the disregard for outside measures of productivity such as state-mandated achievement test, interesting but unrealistic in this time of emphasis on graduation standards. Currently I am teaching in a classroom that does give students academic choice when demonstrating understanding, allows students to work in cooperative groups, and provides opportunities for students to teach other members of the class. These are methods that I feel do satisfy many needs but I know I have a long way to go before I could say that all of my students work up to their capacity as Glasser defines effective teaching.

-- Anonymous, January 05, 1999

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