Quality Schools Response

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This is my response to "The Quality School-Managing Students Without Coercion," by William Glasser, M.D.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Glassers book "The Quality School." Although it seemed to be very idealistic, it made me start thinking more about other possible ways to do things in my classroom. There's no doubt in my mind that students will not want to learn or be motivated to learn unless they see the value of what is being taught. I can remember thinking to myself back when I was in high school and even college that certain courses I had to take were boring, and many times I also thought, I will never have to use this information again after I finish with this class. Subsequently, I didn't try as hard as I should have, and didn't receive the "quality grade" that I knew I was capable of getting.

I also agree with other parts of Glassers book, such as the boss-management vs. lead-management. I believe that everyone, not just students, respond better when they are involved in the process of the decision making. No one likes being told what to do, or that they have to do something especially if they don't see the value in doing it. Another area is the self evaluation that the students do on their own work. I have not used this technique in my classes much at all, but think that it would be very worthwhile to try. I think that if the students could recognize what quality work looked like, by seeing an example, and then comparing their work to it, they would probably improve their work a great deal.

As for some of the ideas in Glasser's book that I can't totally agree with (yet, because I'm still a little skeptical about certain things), is the idea that we should become the student's friend. Although I think it is good to develop some kind of friendly relationship with the students, I don't think becoming their friend is the answer. That's one of those lines that I belive shouldn't be crossed when teaching. Having a caring relationship towards the students is very important. Students need to know or feel that people care about them.

I'm also not to sure about the grading he talks about, of only accepting A's and B's. Grades, to me, can get to be a complicated thing sometimes. I do believe that a student should not be shuffled through school or any class without getting a quality grade, and that the student should be allowed the time to achieve a quality grade, but time is of the essence. We just don't have enough time the way things are run right now, to allow students to take thier time. Therefore, the end result for the student who can't keep up, or isn't motivated enough, doesn't get the quality grade, because as teachers, we have to move on.

In the end, I tend to ask myself if I can see Glasser's theories happening. I answer, that I would like to try. But everyone will have to feel the same way, and I think that part is a little unrealistic. I agree with most of what Glasser is saying in his book, and think it would be worthwhile to try. But will the majority of my school feel the same way?

-- Anonymous, January 07, 1999


Brenda, I thoroughly enjoyed your response to the Glasser Book. I have felt the same feelings that you have stated in your response about not having the time to allow students to get the "quality" grades that maybe they can attain in an time-unlimited school setting. Wouldn't all teachers like to be in a situation where we could stop and let ALL students do there best and not have to worry about the total curriculum which needs to be addressed for the school year! Yes, the author does make some interesting points but as far as the application to the norm in today's public school setting, I agree with you that he is not realistic. I enjoyed your review!

-- Anonymous, January 10, 1999

My Response to Brenda Benders Quality School Summary:

Hi Brenda! If you dont mind, Im going to respond to your Glasser summary... I too remember many classes / courses which I sat through wondering what the heck! I feel that many of these classes would have been much more valuable to me if I was shown the value of the class. Why am I being taught this particular thing? How will this benefit me in my future? How will I use this skill? Seems to simple doesnt it?

How many times can you remember that you were actually given a chance to be involved in your own self evaluation as a student? Ill bet that if you were, it was these actual classes that you still pretty vividly remember today! If this is so, what does this tell you...it may tell you that this process was (or is) very valuable. I obviously agree with this concept. If you get a chance, it may be really worth it to give it a try within you classroom. You may find that years down the road, you may be approached by a past student who was really glad that you did.

I am in agreement with you on the issue of becoming a friend to the students. I do agree that a teacher needs to be approachable and not intimidating. However, I also believe that there needs to be a level of respect for the instructor. In my opinion, there is a fine line on this one.

Only assigning As or Bs is a tough one. I do think that given the proper amount of time, anyone can achieve quality work. But, in agreement with you, the current system simply does not allow for this. It seems that we would literally need to change our whole class framework to allow this to become reality.

Thanks Brenda for allowing me to respond!

-- Anonymous, January 18, 1999

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