Choice Theory Instructional Module



Choice Theory Instruction
Quality Schools
Reality Therapy


Quality Schools

Choice Theory provides the theoretical grounding for the Glasser Quality School Model. Drawing upon the principles espoused by W. Edwards Deming in the business sector, this approach emphasizes an end to coercion in the classroom and the replacement of boss management with lead management. In a Glasser Quality School, everyone is empowered,  respected, and a contributing member of the community. Parents are encouraged to share their talents and expertise. Students have a say in making decisions. The "snowball issue" at Huntington Woods Elementary School in Wyoming, Michigan provides an  example of non-coercive problem-solving: metal targets were installed on the playground fence and the children were allowed to throw snowballs only at these. This shift in thinking and action is carried out on all levels, not just between teacher and student. Lead management is therefore modeled in the relationships among the adults as well as the children within the school system.

Becoming a Quality School represents a commitment of time and effort on the part of everyone involved: training, support, and practice is necessary to move from the paradigm of external control psychology to that of choice theory and its related principles. Relationships are key to the success of the model; interactions are supportive and guided by the question, "Is what I'm doing (or contemplating doing) helping or hurting the relationship?"  Emphasis on continuous improvement applies to administrators and teachers as well as students; concurrent evaluation, which involves student, teacher, and sometimes parents, as partners in assessing progress, helps to promote efforts toward achieving quality work.  One of the questions that guides the philosophy of a quality school is, "How can we make this even better?" 

The Glasser Quality School model does not dictate particular instruction, serving instead as a framework designed to eliminate failure and achieve competency as a minimum, and some quality work as a goal for all students. However, schools that have adopted this model do exhibit some commonalities, for example, emphasis on cooperation. To view a presentation on Quality Schools, click on the Quality Schools powerpoint. Additional information on Quality Schools is available by clicking on the comparison of traditional and Quality School approaches.  For a list of books on the subject as well as contacts, please see Resources.

   2003 Lisbeth K. Justice, M.A., RTC