As mentioned in the previous document, Reality Therapy (also called Choice Theory) was created by William Glasser, MD. The emphasis of this program is to help students connect behavior with consequence. This is done with class meetings, clear rules, and contracts. This also includes Positive Approach to Discipline (PAD), which is based on Reality Therapy.
The idea behind RT is to give students a "dose of reality." There are five basic needs that are addressed by RT.
Power- Achievement and winning
Love and belonging- We all need to feel loved by others
Freedom- Independence and autonomy
Fun- Recreation, pleasure and enjoyment
Survival- Nourishment, shelter, and other basic needs.
Students act on these needs at all times. Some students have learned ineffective ways to meet their needs that interrupt a classroom. A teacher will need to figure out what students want, what they should do to get what they want and if they are succeeding in meeting their own needs.
If students feel they have some control over their own education, they will not feel they need to act out to get their needs met. A teacher needs to get out of the controlling mode and into a role of collaboration and motivation. If students thing that others control them, then they blame others for their problems and begin loosing motivation.
Reality Therapy is used a lot in counseling. It involves breaking poor habits learned from years of not getting needs met and unlearning dysfunctional methods they've used to survive in the past.
Glasser added to his program and included it in the book, "The Quality School." This is a very popular book and I recommend that all teachers get a copy. This book explains how the traditional school is failing to give kids any sense of control over their education or their lives. Responsibility is spread among students, teachers, and administrators. When the school develops into something students consider quality, then they begin to care about it and achieve.
Choice Theory is the idea that the behavior of children is related to five basic needs; survival, love and belonging, power and significance, freedom and autonomy, and fun.
Glasser says that if these basic needs are being fulfilled, the child will not be a behavioral problem. Glasser calls the state in which all these needs are met as the "Quality World."
Glasser also states that student behavior is made up of these four components: acting, thinking, feeling and physiology. He says that students can choose the behaviors of the first two but usually can't choose the later two. The latter two are usually controlled by their parents or situation. If the student doesn't experience the five basic needs, the student will have a harder time choosing the right behavior and certainly won't be feeling well and will have a dysfunctional physiology.
In short, poor behavior results when a student is unhappy and is not getting their primary needs met. Glasser says that there is little a teacher can do to control any behavior but their own. What a teacher can do instead is try to help the student experience their own "Quality World."
"For example, Johnny Waits is an 18-year-old high school senior and plans on attending college to become a computer programmer. Glasser suggests that Johnny should be learning as much as he can about computers instead of reading Plato. This concept is called quality curriculum; which consists of topics students find useful and enjoyable. Under Glasser’s strategy, the teacher would hold discussions with students when introducing new topics and ask them to identify what they would like to explore in depth. As part of the process, students need to explain why the material is valuable in life." (Charles, C.M. (2008). Building Classroom Discipline. (9th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education.)
In the age of high stakes testing, it will be difficult to tailor a student's education if their quality world is not on the state test. This is one of the reasons NCLB is failing miserably and that there is increasing resistance to the new Common Core Curriculum.