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b.

The Glassers Model of Choice Theory


Glasser's work in the field of school discipline has two main aims. The first is
to provide a classroom environment and curriculum which motivate pupils
and reduce inappropriate behaviour by meeting pupils' basic needs for
belonging, power, fun and freedom. The second focus is on helping pupils
make appropriate behavioural choices that lead ultimately to personal
success.
i. Key Ideas
Often, teachers need to help pupils learn to make good behavioural choices
so they can become responsible individuals able to satisfy their needs in
the real world. Thus, they must be guided toward reality whereby the onus is
on pupils. Listed below are some of key iideas of Glasser.

Pupils are rational beings. They can control their own behaviour. They
choose to act

the way they do.

Good choices produce good behaviour. Bad choices produce bad


behaviour.

Teachers must always try to help pupils make good choices.

Teachers who truly care about their pupils accept no excuses for bad
behaviour.

Reasonable consequences should always follow pupil behaviour,


whether it is good or

bad.

Class rules are essential and they must

be enforced.

Classroom meetings are effective vehicles for attending to matters


concerning class rules, behaviour and discipline.

Glasser's views about discipline were simple but powerful:

Behaviour is a matter of choice.

Good behaviour results from good choices. Bad behaviour results


from bad choices.

A teacher's duty is to help pupils make good choices.

Psychologists and educators often delve into pupils' backgrounds for


underlying causes of misbehaviour. One often hears comments such as,
"What can you expect, Aznil comes from a broken home", or, "Ling was an
abused child, theres a reason for her to be aggressive". Glasser neither
denies that such conditions exist nor that they influence behaviour. He
simply says that humans have rational minds and can make rational
choices.
According to Glasser, pupils are capable of understanding what is generally
regarded as acceptable school behaviour and can choose to behave in
acceptable ways. However, in order to make good choices, pupils must see
the results of these choices as desirable. If bad behaviour gets them what
they want then they will make bad choices. This is where the teacher can be
influential in helping pupils become aware that they choose their own
actions. The teacher encourages them to acknowledge their behaviour and
evaluate introspectively on their behaviour. The teacher refuses to accept
excuses for bad behaviour. Instead, the teacher always directs the pupil's
attention to alternative, more acceptable, behaviour.
ii. Teachers Responsibilities
The essence of discipline then, lies in helping pupils to make good choices.
Even though both teachers and pupils have important roles to play in
maintaining effective discipline, Glasser firmly believes that teachers have
greater responsibility to maintain good discipline. According to Glasser, the
following are some of the teacher's responsibilities in helping pupils making
good choices as described below.

Emphasise pupil responsibility


Since good behaviour comes from good choices and since pupils
ultimately must live with the choices they make, their responsibility for
their own behaviour. is always kept in the forefront. Discussions in
which this responsibility is explored and clarified occur in classroom

meetings. These meetings occur as regular parts of the curriculum.


Pupils sit in a circle with the teacher and discuss matters that concern
the class.

Establish rules that lead to success


Rules which leads towards personal and group achievement should be
established by teachers and pupils together. Age, ability, and other
realities of the pupils should be taken into consideration when
formulating rules. Rules must reinforce the basic idea that pupils are in
school to study.

Accept no excuses
For discipline to be successful, teachers must accept no excuses.
Glasser uses this "no excuse" dictum in two areas. The first has to do
with conditions outside the school. What goes on there does not excuse
bad behaviour in school. Those conditions may, indeed, cause bad
behaviour, but that does not make it acceptable.
The teacher must never say "we can excuse Jamal's behaviour. today
because he has trouble at home. It is okay if he yells and hits."
The second area in which teachers should accept no excuses concerns
pupil commitment. Once a pupil has decided on a course of good
behaviour and has made a commitment to it, the teacher must never
accept excuses for the pupil's failing to live up to that commitment.

Call for value judgment


When pupils exhibit inappropriate behaviour, teachers should help them
make value judgements about it. The following is an example based on
Glasser to illustrate how to help pupils make value judgement.

Teacher : What are you doing? (asked in unthreatening tone of


voice.)
Pupil

: Im waiting for a bright idea to appear. (Will usually give

an honest
answer if not threatened.)
Teacher : Is that helping you or the class?
Pupil

: No.

Teacher : What could you do that would help?


Pupil

: Why not brainstorm with your friends? (Names better

behaviour; if pupil
teacher suggests

cannot

think

of

any,

appropriate alternatives and lets

pupil choose.)

Invoke reasonable consequences.


Glasser stresses that reasonable consequences must follow whatever
behaviour the pupil chooses. These consequences will be desirable if
good behaviour is chosen compared to poor behaviour. Teachers
should not manipulate events that stop pupils from experiencing
unpleasant

consequences.

Their

experience

of

pleasant

and

unpleasant consequences will help pupils to choose the right behaviour


and take charge of their own lives.

Be persistent
Caring teachers work towards one goal - getting pupils to commit
themselves to desirable courses of behaviour. Commitment means
consistency, doing something repeatedly, intentionally, while making
sure that it is right. To convey this idea and to instill it in pupils, teachers
themselves must be consistent. They must always help pupils make
choices and make value judgments about their bad choices.

Carry out continual review.


For Glasser, the classroom meeting is central to the implementation of a
good system of discipline. This magic circle facilitates pupils in
identifying problems and working towards solution for behaviour issues,
curriculum matters or pupils concerns (Gartrell, 2011). Glasser
advocates three types of classroom meetings:
a. social problem solving whereby conflicts are discussed
b. educational diagnostic whereby educational ideas are addressed,
and
c. open ended meetings are when real life problems are worked out.
Discussions in classroom meetings focus on two things:
-

identifying the problem, and seeking solutions to the problem.

THE GLASSERS MODEL OF CHOICE THEORY

Pupils are rational beings. They can control their own behaviour. They
choose to act the way they do.

Good choices produce good behaviour. Bad choices produce bad


behaviour.

Teachers must always try to help pupils make good choices.

Teachers who truly care about their pupils accept no excuses for bad
behaviour.

Reasonable consequences should always follow pupil behaviour,


whether it is good or

bad. Class rules are essential and they must

be enforced.

Classroom meetings are effective vehicles for attending to matters


concerning class rules, behaviour and discipline.

Behaviour is a matter of choice.

Good behaviour results from good choices. Bad behaviour results from
bad choices.

A teacher's duty is to help pupils make good choices.

Teachers Responsibilities

Emphasise pupils responsibility


-

Discussions in which this responsibility is explored and clarified


occur in classroom meetings

Pupils sit in a circle with the teacher and discuss matters that
concern the class.

Establish rules that lead to success


-

Rules must reinforce the basic idea that pupils are in school to study

Accept no excuses
-

What goes outside school does not excuse bad behaviour in school

Once a pupil has decided on a course of good behaviour and has


made a commitment to it, the teacher must never accept excuses
for the pupil's failing to live up to that commitment

Call for value judgment


-

When pupils exhibit inappropriate behaviour, teachers should help


them make value judgements about it
Teacher

: What are you doing? (asked in unthreatening


tone of voice.)

Pupil

: Im waiting for a bright idea to appear. (Will


usually give an honest answer if not threatened.)

Teacher

: Is that helping you or the class?

Pupil

: No.

Teacher

: What could you do that would help?

Pupil

: Why not brainstorm with your friends? (Names

better behaviour; if pupil cannot think of any,


teacher suggests appropriate alternatives and
lets pupil choose.)

Invoke reasonable consequences


-

reasonable consequences must follow whatever behaviour the pupil


chooses

Their experience of pleasant and unpleasant consequences will help


pupils to choose the right behaviour and take charge of their own
lives

Be persistent

Carry out continual review


-

Carry out classroom meeting


d. social problem solving whereby conflicts are discussed
e. educational diagnostic whereby educational ideas are
addressed
f. open ended meetings are when real life problems are
worked out

Discussions in classroom meetings focus on identifying the problem,


and seeking solutions