Reality model / Control theory of William Glasser
"If you want to change attitudes, start with a change in behaviour."
Who is Dr. William Glasser?
• Chemical Engineer
• Board Certified Psychiatrist
• Author of several books
• Founder of the Institute for Reality Therapy which services thousands of people worldwide, teaching them how to apply Dr. Glasser’s principles to their lives.
The Basics of Glasser’s model
Control Theory (Choice Theory)
• All we do is behave
• Almost all behavior is chosen
• The only person you can control is yourself
• We are driven by our genes to satisfy our five basic needs:
- Love and belonging
• Is based on choice theory
• Focus on the present, not the past
• Avoid the Seven Deadly Habits
• All excuses (legitimate or not) stand in the way of making connections
• Focus on what you can do (think and act)
• Be patient and supportive
Seven Caring Habits
- Negotiating Differences
Seven Deadly Habits
- Bribing, rewarding to control
• Teach students to make good choices, increasing good behavior
• Create an environment where children can experience a sense of belonging
• Help students to evaluate and correct their own behavior by using a nine-step questioning process (listed on the following page)
• Hold students accountable for their choices: Accept NO EXCUSES
• Help students to understand that their actions affect others
• Openly recognize students who follow the rules and display appropriate behavior
• Provide support and encouragement
The Nine Steps in Glasser’s Reality Therapy Model
- The Student is confronted and told to stop the misbehavior.
- The student is then asked to explain the behavior that was occurring. The teacher uses “What” questions, not “Why”. This prevents the student from finding excuses.
- If the rule-breaking behavior continues, step 2 is repeated, adding the question, “Is it against the rules?”
- The teacher asks the student to make a plan or commitment to find alternatives.
- Sometimes the students may be asked to go to the “castle” until the problem is resolved.
- If the rule-breaking behavior still persists, steps 2-5 are repeated but the teacher indicates that support will be provided. The teacher arranges specific time and location in the near future to help in the development of the plan and to provide encouragement for it to work.
- If the student fails to fulfill his or her commitment and plan, the next step is isolation to a designated room (Principals office or Special Isolation Room).
- Finally, if the student is out of control, the parents are notified and asked to collect the student immediately. The student may return to the school when he or she obeys the rules.
- If all else fails, the parents and students are referred to an outside agency to “work it out.”
Throughout this process, the focus is on the student’s BEHAVIOR, not the STUDENT.
• Actively participate in all classroom activities
• Work as a class to create a set of rules and consequences for when those rules are broken.
• Learn to work in groups of students with varying levels of skills and abilities.
• Recognize and self-correct inappropriate behaviors
• Accept responsibility for their actions and know the consequences of those actions.
Pros & Cons
• Students learn to think about their actions and to take responsibility for them.
• Students learn to work in groups and with students who are on different levels of learning than themselves.
• Students enjoy teaching their peers and learning from them.
• Students are not dependent on the teacher for everything.
• The students needs of survival, belonging, power, fun, and freedom, are met.
• The teacher’s sense of control can be threatened.
• It is difficult for teachers to give responses without encouraging students to make excuses for their behavior.
• The teacher may not be able to fully apply Glasser’s model due to circumstances beyond his/her control.
• Class meetings may consume more time than is desirable.
• Is not proven to entirely eliminate misbehavior.
This theory of motivation proposed by William Glasser contends that behavior is never caused by a response to an outside stimulus. Instead, the control theory states that behavior is inspired by what a person wants most at any given time: survival, love, power, freedom, or any other basic human need.
Responding to complaints that today’s students are “unmotivated,” Glasser attests that all living creatures “control” their behavior to maximize their need satisfaction. According to Glasser, if students are not motivated to do their schoolwork, it’s because they view schoolwork as irrelevant to their basic human needs.
Boss teachers use rewards and punishment to coerce students to comply with rules and complete required assignments. Glasser calls this “leaning on your shovel” work. He shows how high percentages of students recognize that the work they do–even when their teachers praise them–is such low-level work.
Lead teachers, on the other hand, avoid coercion completely. Instead, they make the intrinsic rewards of doing the work clear to their students, correlating any proposed assignments to the students’ basic needs. Plus, they only use grades as temporary indicators of what has and hasn’t been learned, rather than a reward. Lead teachers will “fight to protect” highly engaged, deeply motivated students who are doing quality work from having to fulfill meaningless requirements.
How the Control Theory Impacts Learning
Curriculum–Teachers must negotiate both content and method with students. Students’ basic needs literally help shape how and what they are taught.
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 requirements.
Assessment–Instructors only give “good grades”–those that certify quality work–to satisfy students’ need for power. Courses for which a student doesn’t earn a “good grade” are not recorded on that student’s transcript. Teachers grade students using an absolute standard, rather than a relative “curve.”