Remarks for William Glasser's The Quality Schoolgreenspun.com : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread
Response to William Glassers:
The Quality School
Submitted by: Paul Brownlow
William Glassers text The Quality School made me reflect on my own classroom teaching style. As I reflected, I realized that I was already using some of his ideas, but could add others to make my classroom teaching more effective. Glasser also raised some issues that I questioned or disagreed with because of how it related to my own classroom situations or the teaching profession as a whole.
My first year of teaching band was much different than it is now. When I played in the high school band, we had a competitive atmosphere. I always felt that was the best way to motivate students to reach their potential. After a few years of teaching experience, I have realized that atmosphere is not conducive to individual or cooperative learning. I now expect my students to work together to solve questions that arise when they play a piece of difficult music. This has made my job easier because the students can think for themselves instead of asking me for help every time they have a problem.
This idea of teamwork has allowed me to be more aware of the needs of my band students. My class is much different than other core subjects in that I can see them for six years of their educational lives. If a student starts band in the seventh grade and continues through their senior year, they will get to know their friends in band and myself pretty well. I feel that it is to my advantage to gain the respect and trust of my students; otherwise, it could be a very long six years.
Making my classroom a comfortable and fun place to be has been the best change I have made for the band students and myself. Last year was a very difficult year for me. I enjoyed working with the junior high band, but did not want anything to do with the high school group. That was very disappointing because that was the year I planned to make the band program flourish. I felt my high demands for the kids would help them to improve by leaps and bounds. The only problem as Glasser would say is I put my needs above my students needs. Because of this, I lost students and began to wonder why I chose education as a profession. I have come to realize that the students do need a say in their education, and if they are allowed a voice they usually make choices that benefit everyone.
Glasser believes that students work best if they are not coerced. I do agree with this point for the most part, but have some instances that cause me to differ. For example, I am responsible for having the pep band appear at eighteen games throughout the year. I would say that it is a 50/50 split on who would attend these performances if they were allowed to choose. Because of these odds, I feel I have no other choice than to make it a required part of their grade. I would be interested to hear Glassers response on how he would deal with this situation.
In chapter nine, Glasser contends that teachers should form friendships with their students. He goes on to say that students become less adversarial if they know their teacher on a more personal level. I believe there is a fine line that should not be crossed when dealing with students, and sometimes that fine line can be crossed if a teacher gets on a personal level with their students. A professional relationship needs to be maintained especially at the secondary school level. It is too dangerous for teachers to become involved in the personal lives of their students because of the potential lawsuits that could occur. This seems uncaring, but it is the reality of todays world.
Another question I have of Glasser deals with his idea of a childs quality world. Glasser says that primary grade teachers need to make a special effort to enter their picture in a childs quality world, so that the student will have fond memories of them and school. If a child does not have a quality world already in place because of a poor home life, what can a primary grade teacher do to develop and enter that childs quality world? I think many children come to school without a quality world because their parents have not given them a home life that they can appreciate. This makes it tough for teachers to give students a positive outlook on school.
According to Glasser, students start removing school from their quality worlds because teacher coercion gets stronger at each consecutive grade level (p.72). A peak is reached by the seventh, eighth, or ninth grade years where students have given up on school totally. I do not feel that teacher coercion should take all the blame. At this point in a childs life there are many other outside factors that affect how a student performs in school. For example, hormones are raging in an adolescents body, which they themselves cannot understand. With these raging hormones, comes an identity and boundary crisis. Lastly, parents are not as involved in their childs education as they were before. All or a part of these factors make school a secondary choice for most students at that time in their life.
Teachers are always searching for ways to motivate their students to do quality work. Glasser offers some options that I believe could work if they were implemented in the primary grades and allowed to grow through high school. Some of his other ideas are too ideal to use in the basic classroom and would never succeed. Although all of Glassers ideas may not be practical, they offer new insights into improving education-- an idea that must always be reviewed.
-- Anonymous, January 25, 1999