William Glasser, MD, in his Control Theory in the Classroom, explains that too many capable students make little or no effort to learn. He explains that all of us, not just students, make choices according to basic needs that come from within ourselves. These needs drive why we choose and how we behave in those choices. This hierarchy of motivators are similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs , but have more to do with the REASONS OR MOTIVATIONS for the choices we make. (He has since changed his CONTROL THEORY to CHOICE THEORY.)
Your portfolios are a compilation of a variety of evidence of your performance. You are required to include evidence that you are incorporating Glasser’s Choice in your classroom. As we go through each of these motivators think about what these might look like and sound like in your room… As in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Glasser’s most basic need is survival. We will start at the other end of the hierarchy…
We are going to start with fun… CLICK: This is the need for pleasure, CLICK: to play, CLICK: to laugh… CLICK: No one has to bribe you to do these things…they are naturally motivating. What is one thing you do simply for fun? You’ve heard the expression, “Play is a child’s work.” Glasser links the need for fun with learning…look at higher animals…they learn in their play. Some people do not think “fun” is very important. (Some teachers do not think that FUN is important at all in the classroom…) CLICK: Try to imagine life without it… ASK: What will you see in a classroom that is fun? Turn to your collaborative partner and discuss what you might see in a classroom that would be evidence that the need for fun is being met. (Laughter, humor, enthusiasm, learning games)
CLICK: This is the need for independence, CLICK : autonomy, CLICK: to be able to take control of the direction of one’s own life, CLICK: having a choice. We all prefer to have a say-so in what happens to us in our lives. In providing choice in our classroom, you must be aware of your audience. Those persons who have had little experience with choice have to practice in small steps. CLICK The choices you give must be ones you can live with. You, the teacher gets to decide when and how much choice to give. (Parents: What will happen if you tell your young child she can wear whatever she wants? When a child is just starting to make those kinds of choices, what can parents do to help? …lay out 2 outfits and have the child choose between the two…Remember that with your students.) Giving other options WHEN YOU CAN teaches them to make decisions and they feel as if their freedom to choose really does make them capable. ASK: What will you see in a classroom that allows students some freedom to make some choices? Turn to your collaborative partner and discuss what you might see in a classroom that would be evidence that the need for freedom is being met. (Choice of assignments, choice of working partner,…)
As educators, we usually think of this as empowerment. CLICK The need to achieve CLICK , to be competent, to be recognized for achievements and skills CLICK , to be listened to, to have a sense of self-worth CLICK . We need to feel capable of contributing and that we possess some influence…and value. CLICK You must get to know your students before you can understand what makes them feel valued. CLICK ASK: What will you see in a classroom that would show that the need for “power” is being met? Turn to your collaborative partner and discuss what you might see in a classroom that would be evidence that the need for power is being met. (duties, display student work, student input into classroom rules/procedures, positive notes/recognition,…)
This is one of the strongest motivators. The need for love and belonging, the need for relationships, social connection, to feel a part of a group. What is the main reason kids join gangs? In schools, we must work to make each student, parents, and other teachers feel as though they BELONG. ASK: What will you see in a classroom that would indicate that students’ need for belonging is met? Turn to your collaborative partner and discuss what you might see in a classroom that would be evidence that the need for belonging is being met. (group work, class “motto”/mascot, class t-shirts/school t-shirts, etc, no isolated students, “sense of community”)
This need is physiological! We have genetic instructions to survive! Includes the need for food, shelter, safety. We have made a lot of changes in our school culture to ensure physical safety for our students and that their physical needs are met…school lunch program, breakfast program, school nurse, etc. Sometimes we forget to work as hard to make our schools emotionally safe from Name-calling, making fun of others, saying hurtful things are some of the ways that emotional safety is threatened. We must work hard to provide a supportive environment safe from bodily harm, mental or physical intimidation, or abuse. This may be a reason for joining a gang…for personal safety. ASK: What will you see in a classroom that is emotionally safe? Turn to your collaborative partner and discuss what you might see in a classroom that would be evidence that the need for survival is being met. (Classroom rules, no one ostracized, no name calling, helping atmosphere,…)
Although we all share the same basic human needs, we differ in the amount of each need we require. Some have a high need for social connections (love & belonging), others are more driven by the need to achieve (power), the need to play (fun), the need for independence (freedom), or the need to be healthy and/or financially secure (survival). These 5 basic human needs are the general motivation for EVERYTHING we do!!! Think of one thing that you have to do as a parent, teacher, homeowner, pet owner, etc, that you hate to do but you do it anyway…Turn to your partner and share it with them… Now, WHY do you do it? I have to…(Clean out litter box so it does not smell, or so people do not think I am a slob…etc) You DO NOT HAVE TO…you have a CHOICE. You will choose to do something if you have a good enough reason… What does this tell you about kids in your classroom when we ask them to do something they do not really want to do? WE MUST PROVIDE A REASON THAT FITS ONE OF THE 5 MOTIVATORS FOR EACH STUDENT…AGAIN THIS ALL GO BACK TO FINDING WHAT EACH STUDENT VALUES… Most students can “deal with it” if their “need of the moment” is not met. This is particularly important for those kids who need the extra motivation…those who are fragile emotionally…the majority of your behavior problems…
The needs/reasons that motivated you to do the things you have done are the “compelling whys”…
As teachers, we can orchestrate our learning activities, our policies and procedures, as well as what we say and do, to appeal to the basic needs of our students. If you can intentionally create the conditions for students to meet their basic human needs in your classroom, you will minimize behavioral problems and maximize the chances of high quality learning. Most students can handle not having their emotional needs/motivators addressed but this especially needs to be considered for those students who are fragile emotionally…many of the behavior problems in your class.
Choice Theory and Reality Therapy
The Brain Seeks Two Things:
This is the
“hook” to get
This how the brain can
make sense of the
information coming in…
and anchor it to
something it already
(These are the reasons for using Activating Strategies…
they hook the students in emotionally and then link the
new learning to what they already know or have
experienced so the brain can create meaning.)
We all make choices according
to basic needs that come from
within ourselves. The needs
drive our choices and influence
how we behave in those
5 Basic Needs
(according to Glasser)
O The need for pleasure
O To play
O To laugh
O Naturally motivating
O No one has to bribe you to do these things
Try to imagine life without fun…
O The need for independence
O For autonomy
O For control over one’s own life
O For choice
Some students have had little experience with
O The need to achieve
O To be recognized for achievement/skills
O To have a sense of self-worth
O To contribute
What makes your students feel valued?
O The need for love
O For relationships
O Social connection
O Part of a group
In schools, we must work to make students
(parents, teachers) feel they belong…
O The need for food, shelter, safety
O Safe from bullying
Schools should be a safe environment from
bodily harm, mental or physical intimidation,
Characteristics of the 5 basic
O Satisfied from moment to moment
O Conflict with other’s needs
A Compelling Why
…is a term used for an emotionally-linked
reason or motive that drives a person to
make a choice.
…”compels” us to want to learn something,
commit information to long-term memory,
and to recall it when desired.
ALL BEHAVIOR IS PURPOSEFUL!
O It is our best attempt,
O at the time,
O given our current knowledge and skills,
O to meet one or more of our basic human
Dr. William Glasser
1. The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.
2. All we can give another person is information.
3. All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship
4. The problem relationship is always part of our present life.
5. What happened in the past has everything to do with what
we are today, but we can only satisfy our basic needs right
now and plan to continue satisfying them in the future.
6. We can only satisfy our needs by satisfying the pictures in
our Quality World
7. All we do is behave.
8. All behavior is Total Behavior and is made up of
four components: acting, thinking, feeling and
9. All Total Behavior is chosen, but we only have
direct control over the acting and thinking
components. We can only control our feeling and
physiology indirectly through how we choose to act
10. All Total Behavior is designated by verbs and
named by the part that is the most recognizable.
O Glasser's knowledge on human behavior has been
summarized in these axioms; he developed choice
So choice theory
O Choice Theory tells us that we
choose everything we do, it states
that behavior is a constant attempt
to satisfy one or more of our five
basic needs(power, fun, love
belonging, freedom, survival). Those
needs are thought to be innate (we
are born with them), and we are
responsible for the choices we make.
So, what does that have to
do with the classroom?
O When choice theory is employed in classrooms,
students have a say in what they learn, and teachers
negotiate both content and method with them. Thus,
how and what students learn stems directly from their
O Curriculum--Teachers must negotiate both content and
method with students. Students' basic needs literally
help shape how and what they are taught.
O Instruction--Teachers rely on cooperative,
active learning techniques that enhance the
power of the learners. Lead teachers make
sure that all assignments meet some degree of
their students' need satisfaction. This secures
student loyalty, which carries the class
through whatever relatively meaningless tasks
might be necessary to satisfy official
Students should participate
Since classroom situations are always changing,
rules should be changeable also.
When students have a part in making and
changing rules, better discipline usually
results. Glasser's system is one of the few that
emphasizes student participation in rule-
O Within reason, students should agree with the
Glasser insists that if the rules make sense and
promise to produce a better learning
situation for all, students will welcome them.
O Students should know the consequences of rule
If a student contemplates breaking rules, she should
know the consequence. If the consequence is
logically related to
the misbehavior, better discipline
will result , e.g. if you vandalize – you
must make restitution.
They mostly set through:
O Classroom meetings:
This is a well-known strategy in Glasser’s theory. The
teacher organizes regular classroom meetings for dealing
with a student’s problems, or for revising the overall
organization and the curriculum of the class. In the
meeting, the students and the teacher sit in a circle facing
each other, on a rug or in chairs. The teacher explains the
students that each of them are free to express their
opinions, thoughts, and feelings during the meeting. It is
also said that they are not there to talk about the past, but
to talk about present and the future
Discipline in the
O Misbehavior according to Glasser stem from 5 basic needs:
survival, love/ belonging, freedom, fun and power.
O He maintains that 95% of all misbehaviour stems from the need
for power although love/ belonging he is the most important, as
it affects the other needs.
O To avoid misbehaviors There are 7 Caring Habits that should be
used in the classroom:
Discipline in the
However if a misbehavior did really take place in the classroom:
O Glasser believes in Non-Coercive Discipline and that students
should take responsibility for their actions .
O To do this, students and teachers should create student-teacher
contracts which allow the student to devise their own goal, plan
and solution with minimal direction from the teacher.
O And to deal with misbehaving students...
O Avoid past actions and respond to what they are doing, what need
they are trying to fulfill through their action, and how they are
going to fix it .
O Then the student and teacher create a contract and agree on
solutions to solve the problem.
Implication in the
Step 1: What Are You Doing?
If a student disrupts the class ask, in a normal. quiet tone of
voice: "What are you doing?" - expect an answer other than
"Nothing" or "I don't known. Say it sharply, quickly - not
angrily or punitively.
Step 2: Is it Working? Is it against the Rules?
Ask the student "Is it against the rules?" The student must
accept that rules are necessary and are to be obeyed. If the
student does not admit the disruptive behavior you declare:
"This is what I saw. It is against the rules". Do not enter
into an argument with the student.
Implication in the
O Step 3: We Must Work it Out
Say and mean "We have to work it out". The behaviour cannot
continue, the teacher and student must reach a solution through
Step 4: Withdrawal
A pleasant but isolated place is designated the withdrawal area in
the classroom. If the student continues to disrupt, ask the student
to move to the spot where work can be continued but where the
student is not a part of the class. Movement back to the body of
the class is dependent upon agreement to "work it out" with the
Implication in the
O Step 5: Time -out
If disruption continues to occur the student is excluded from
class to a pre- arranged area. The student must stay there until
he or she decides to work out a plan to behave in an
acceptable manner and give a commitment to follow through
on the plan.
Step 6: Suspension
If the student continues to disrupt in the time-out room
suspension in accordance with Departmental policy must take
place. It is important to treat the student with courtesy and
emphasize quietly and politely "You have to obey the rules
we're happy to have you back when you are ready to follow
O Glasser does not believe in rewards/ punishments
because they are coercive and take away responsibility
from the students (teacher-implemented).
O Glasser would prefer students to create their own
personal rewards for a job well done.
O He believes that consequences should be natural and
not teacher-directed .
O Glasser believes that punishment is ineffective because
it does not allow the student to take responsibility for
their actions .