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Classroom Management Theorists and

Theories/William Glasser
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1 Theory Overview
o 1.1 Who is lasser!
o 1." Choice Theory #t # lance
" $mplementation
o ".1 %lementary
o "." &econdary 'Middle and (igh &chool)
* Criti+ue
o *.1 &upport
o *." ,isagreements
o *.* -ersonal .e/lections
0 .e/erences
1 2uestions
Theory Overview
Who is Glasser?
,r. William lasser is an #merican psychiatrist and the developer o/ the .eality Theory and
Choice Theory. 3orn in Cleveland, Ohio in 14"1, he was educated at Case Western .eserve
5niversity, where he received a 3.&. and M.#. in clinical psychiatry. $n 141*, he received his M.
,. and completed his residency at 5C6# and the 7eterans #dministration (ospital o/ 6os
#ngeles. (e received numerous awards /or his outstanding wor8. These awards include an
honorary degree /rom the 5niversity o/ &an 9rancisco in 144:. (e also received the #merican
Counseling #ssociation;s -ro/essional ,evelopment #ward in "::* and the #C#;s <# 6egend
in Counseling #ward= in "::0. ,r. lasser /ounded The $nstitute /or .eality Therapy in 14>?,
which was later renamed The $nstitute /or Control Theory, .eality Therapy and 2uality
Management in 1440. The name changed again in 144> when it was renamed The William
lasser $nstitute.
,r. lasser;s ideas are considered controversial @y mainstream psychiatrists. lasser;s ideas
/ocus on personal choice, personal responsi@ility, and personal trans/ormation, whereas his
critics /ocus instead on classi/ying psychiatric syndromes and o/ten prescri@ing psychotropic
medications to treat mental disorders. lasser is noted /or applying his theories to @roader social
issues, including education, management, and marriage. (e also advocated the consideration o/
mental health as a pu@lic health issue. 3y 144>, lasser;s @ody o/ wor8, 8nown as Control
Theory, was renamed Choice Theory.
The Control Theory, later named Choice Theory, states that a person;s @ehavior is inspired @y
what that person wants or needs at that particular time, not an outside stimulus. lasser states
that all living creatures control their @ehavior to /ul/ill their need /or satis/action in one or more
o/ these /ive areas: survival, to @elong and @e loved @y others, to have power and importance,
/reedom and independence, and to have /un.
%very individual has the power to change their
lives /or the @etter @ased on the choices they ma8e. # person can ma8e the proper choices and
ta8e greater responsi@ility /or their actions @y as8ing themselves the /ollowing +uestions:
What do you want!
What are you doing to achieve what you want!
$s it wor8ing!
What are your plans or options!
Choice Theory At A Glance
The Choice Theory C 9ound at the William lasser $nstitute we@site:
Choice TheoryD is the @asis /or all programs taught @y the $nstitute. $t states that all we do is
@ehave, that almost all @ehavior is chosen, and that we are driven @y our genes to satis/y /ive
@asic needs: survival, love and @elonging, power, /reedom and /un. $n practice, the most
important need is love and @elonging, as closeness and connectedness with the people we care
a@out is a re+uisite /or satis/ying all o/ the needs. Choice Theory 'and the &even Caring (a@its)
is o//ered to replace eEternal control psychology 'and the &even ,eadly (a@its), the present
psychology o/ almost all the people in the world. 5n/ortunately, this /orcing, punishing
psychology is destructive to relationships. When used in a relationship it will always destroy the
a@ility o/ one or @oth to /ind satis/action in that relationship, and will result in people @ecoming
disconnected /rom those with whom they want to @e connected. ,isconnectedness is the source
o/ almost all human pro@lems, such as what is called mental illness, drug addiction, violence,
crime, school /ailure, spousal and child a@use, to mention a /ew. The 144F @oo8, Choice Theory:
# Gew -sychology o/ -ersonal 9reedom, is the primary teEt /or all that is taught @y the $nstitute.
Relationships and Our Haits
!even Caring Haits !even "eadly haits
Gegotiating di//erences
3ri@ing or rewarding to control
The Ten A#ioms o$ Choice Theory
1. The only person whose @ehavior we can control is our own.
". #ll we can give another person is in/ormation.
*. #ll longClasting psychological pro@lems are relationship pro@lems.
0. The pro@lem relationship is always part o/ our present li/e.
1. What happened in the past has everything to do with what we are today, @ut we can only
satis/y our @asic needs right now and plan to continue satis/ying them in the /uture.
>. We can only satis/y our needs @y satis/ying the pictures in our 2uality World.
?. #ll we do is @ehave.
F. #ll @ehavior is Total 3ehavior and is made up o/ /our components: acting, thin8ing,
/eeling and physiology.
4. #ll Total 3ehavior is chosen, @ut we only have direct control over the acting and thin8ing
components. We can only control our /eeling and physiology indirectly through how we
choose to act and thin8.
1:. #ll Total 3ehavior is designated @y ver@s and named @y the part that is the most
#/ter loo8ing through the lasserIs theory and models, what is the most e//ective way to learn
a@out choice theory! What practical ways can we implement the lasser;s Choice 'Control)
Theory '@ehavior results /rom one o/ /ive @asic needs needing to @e met) into a classroom!
(ere are a /ew eEamples /or @oth %lementary and &econdary 6evels.
When deciding to use Choice Theory in an elementary classroom, teachers must share with their
students that they have a say in what they learn and how they learn it. $n order to have their <say=
students must learn to ma8e choices.
$n order to convey the message, a suggested way to teach the theory concept is @y teaching
through the use o/ s8its or roleCplaying. William and Carleen lasser have created a series o/
s8its to assist teachers 'although written /or use @asically in secondary schools) in teaching the
theory. The s8its help in teaching students a@out such concepts as @uilding trust, ma8ing
connections and responsi@le choices, ma8ing decisions, tal8ing together, ac+uiring 8nowledge to
using 8nowledge, authentic assessment, competency, getting along, caring and respecting,
moving /rom eEternal control to internal control, teaching Choice Theory to others and every
student can succeed.
Can these s8its @e adapted to teach younger, elementary aged students! $t has @een
accomplished. #s stated @y #ngela Ward, her suggestion /or teaching the concepts in her second
grade class would @e to use the series @y, <restructuring the s8its @y changing the amount o/
characters /rom /ive to /our to account /or her teams in her classroom.= $n addition, she suggests,
<@y 8eeping the names consistent throughout, the students were a@le to each do a di//erent s8it
and the audience could /ollow the story line.=
$n addition, lasser shares what he @elieves are the &even Caring (a@its which includes:
&upporting, %ncouraging, 6istening, #ccepting, Trusting, .especting, and Gegotiating
,i//erences and he shares his @elie/ o/ the &even ,eadly (a@its J CriticiHing, 3laming,
Complaining, Gagging, Threatening, -unishing, and 3ri@ing or rewarding to control.
To teach this in elementary schools a teacher could possi@ly @orrow the ideas /rom ail %delman
&mall a teacher /rom ConeKo %lementary &chool near Thousand Oa8s, Cali/ornia. &tudents made
creative representations to show the importance o/ choices. Three eEamples were: creating a
<choice /lower= J the petals on the /lower were used to descri@e the things and people the
student loved and what things or events made her /eel <power/ul and /ree.= # second eEample: a
student created a @oo8 a@out her thoughts and /eelings surrounding her choices. #nd a third
eEample was a student who created posters o/ magaHine cutouts a@out lasserIs idea o/ how
seven caring and deadly ha@its ma8e or @rea8 relationships.
!econdary 'Middle and High !chool(
$mplementation o/ choice theory into secondary education would @asically allow students the
/reedom o/ choice. %ducators would only @e supportive entities only to help the students ma8e a
@etter choice. .ea//irming that one can only control onesel/ would @e the /ocus o/ teachers in
this particular environment. %ducators and students will recogniHe everyone;s @asic needs and
the necessity in /ul/illing those needs in an environment that /osters caring and respect /or all.
%nsuring the students attain sel/Cawareness and esteem to ma8e @etter choices /or themselves
develops as a secondary goal. The primary goal o/ an educator is to prepare students /or the <real
world=. .eal world s8ills that are needed are interpersonal s8ills and group pro@lem solving.
&econdary education would emphasiHe not @latant memoriHation @ut more on critical thin8ing
s8ills and a pro@lemC@ased learning. #s in the real world, students are encouraged to see8 help
and help one another as necessary. &tudents will use all resources availa@le, including parents,
each other, teEts, to demonstrate understanding. The grading system is @ased on competence and
credit will @e given only i/ competence is demonstrated '3). &tudent with an understanding
a@ove the competence level along with willingness to help others would earn an eEemplary grade
The /ollowing lasser s8it can @e modi/ied /or elementary level students.
&8its to (elp (igh &chool &tudent 6earn Choice Theory
There are over twenty <2uality &chools= that have implemented William lasser;s Choice
Theory in their schools 'William lasser $nstitute, "::>). Many o/ the supporters o/ lasser;s
theory @elieve his ideas are revolutionary and at the same time contain a @asic common sense
philosophy. $n Corning Gew Lor8 they have implemented Mthe Choice Community -roKect.M
Many di//erent segments o/ this community are involved in this proKect: the senior center has a
support group /or womenN the county Kail has wor8shops /or the inmatesN one pastor has couples
in preCmarriage counseling read a@out lasserIs philosophyN and wor8shops have @een o//ered to
community citiHens, promoting their participation the proKect. &upporters o/ the community
proKect have stated, ...Mthere are signs that Corning CC person @y person, household @y household
CC is gradually @ecoming a 8inder, gentler placeM '9oderaro, "::", 1). One superintendent
involved with the <2uality &chools= in Corning indicated that his schools have had /ewer
suspensions since the proKect @egan '9oderaro, "::"). #dditionally, despite the claim lasserIs
Choice Theory is not supported @y research, educatorIs research using lasserIs Choice theory
with students has /ound studentIs learning and retention is increased as well as overall student
satis/action in the classroom. 'Coo8e, 1441N Martin, 14FF).
William lasser has written numerous @oo8s o/ which two are entitled, ,e/ining mental (ealth
as a -u@lic (ealth -ro@lem and Warning, -sychiatry Can @e (aHardous to Lour (ealth. These
titles seem to directly challenge psychological and mental health pro/essions. &ome o/ these
pro/essionals have countered that lasserIs wor8 has @een an attempt to reinvent theories o/ other
theorists such as <O %rich 9romm, the psychologist #@raham Maslow and the psychotherapist
Carl .ogers< '9oderaro, "::", p. ").
,r. W. Thomas 3our@on, a -erceptual Control Theorist /rom .ochelle, TeEas wrote a review o/
%dward %. 9ord;s @oo8, ,iscipline /or (ome and &chool, 3oo8 Two: -ractical &tandards /or
&chools 'revised and eEpanded edition). $n this review, 3our@on descri@es a chronological
history comparing the wor8 o/ 9ord along side the wor8 o/ lasser. Throughout his comparison
o/ these theorists 3our@on challenges the credi@ility o/ lasserIs wor8. #t one point in the
review 3our@on states, M,oes the material $ have +uoted /rom lasserIs we@ site seem to indicate
that he 'lasser) has modi/ied his personal @elie/s in causeCe//ect to ma8e them more compati@le
with -CT science! #re lasserIs assertions the same as -CT! Lou tell meM '3our@on, n.d., 4F
section, "). 3our@on then re/ers to a lac8 o/ research supporting lasser;s wor8, ... Mit is a serious
mista8e to @elieve that a particular set o/ needs has @een Mscienti/ically provedM to @e realM
'3our@on, n.d., 4F section, 1:).
*ersonal Re$lections
,eeIs .e/lection:
#s $ loo8 through the in/ormation provided /or Choice Theory and the /ive @asic needs each
person has and how this re/lects in our @ehavior, $ thin8 o/ these things how they relate in my
private li/e @e/ore $ put this in conteEt with students. $ agree with the theory that lasser has
shared. $ have always @elieved that each person has choices, and each choice has some sort o/
outcome or conse+uence that results /rom that particular choice. When $ thin8 a@out using the
theory in my classroom, $ @elieve it is something that $ already stress to some degree. $ o/ten
convey the message to my students that most everything that we do in class leaves room /or
choices. 9or eEample, they can choose to @ehave one way or anotherN they have a choice whether
to complete classwor8N they have a choice to as8 /or assistance when they;re struggling with
$n addition, $ agree with the aspect o/ the theory that one @ehaves one way when a @asic need is
not met. 9or eEample, $ had situations in my classroom where a @ehavior stemmed /rom a child
wanting attention @ecause there was a situation at home, which resulted in them possi@ly not
/eeling loved. #nother eEample could @e a student;s inappropriate @ehavior resulted /rom their
need /or <survival= when a s8ill was @eing introduced or reviewed @ecause they <didn;t get it=
and they were trying to downplay the lac8 o/ 8nowledge.
On a personal standpoint, $ 8now, mysel/, i/ my needs aren;t @eing met in some way, my
reactions and <@ehavior= is not the norm. 9or eEample, i/ $ don;t receive a hug /rom my son in
the morning or a/ter school, $ tend to @e a little grumpy. #nother eEample, is i/ $ don;t have my
one cup o/ co//ee in the morning, $ am very lethargic in my mood and actions.
$ am in agreement with lasser;s theory people always have control over their @ehavior and how
the outcome /or such choices or @ehavior will result.
.andiIs .e/lection:
The Choice Theory reveals a manner o/ o@serving @ehavior and eEamining the needs o/
individuals that appeals to me. Through an eEamination o/ the criticisms o/ William lasser;s
Choice Theory there was a discovery o/, and an interest /ound /or, the -erceptual Control
Theory. This new interest does not change the appeal o/ lasser;s wor8, /or me, it adds an eEtra
added dimension to understanding <the why= o/ needs. Why do we have the needs we do! #/ter
reading ,r. 3our@on;s opinions and perceptions $ was le/t wondering what got him so invested
in his stance, seemingly against anything to do with lasser. -ersonally $ see @oth o/ these
theories wor8ing hand in hand, $ also @elieve there is room /or @oth theories.
Through my o@servations in li/e $ have come to @elieve that O %veryone has choices everyday.
&ometimes we are unaware we have or ma8e these choices O @y @ecoming aware O we @ecome
responsi@le not only /or our choices @ut also to ma8e these choices O consciously. We #66
have the choice a@out O how we /eel O how we react O how we thin8 O $ @elieve that we
#6W#L& have a choice O with everything O #G, @ecause o/ this choice we choosePcreate
our reality. 9or do we not de/ine reality through our thoughts and what we chose to @elieve.
Tammy;s .e/lection:
When researching lasser;s theory o/ Choice Theory, at /irst it sounded a @it too a@stract.
#lthough we all see8 to have our needs met, $ had not considered that those needs drove our
every decision. $ had /elt that when students acted out it was @ecause o/ an outstanding source or
/or a need /or attention, @ut now $ see that there are other motives that drive our @ehavior. $
/ound the ten aEioms to @e /airly solid /or me. There is one that $ have used many times @ut did
not 8now where it came /rom, <Lou cannot control another person;s @ehavior Kust your response
to that @ehavior.= $ /ind that to @e very true. (aving learned the ideas /rom lasser;s Choice
Theory, $ can now @etter evaluate why a student might @e acting out and determine which o/ his
needs are not @eing met.
7alIs .e/lection:
#/ter reviewing lasser;s theory, $ @elieve that many o/ my own personal @elie/s mesh with his
Choice Theory. $ o/ten tell my students that we cannot control what happens to us @ut we control
how we choose to react. There are many hardships /acing our students today, do we really want
them to sit around and @elly ache a@out how @ad it is or do we want to help them ta8e steps to
improve their own situations. Choice theory does not allow ones environment to @e an eEcuse @ut
instead treats it as a learning opportunity. The path to @ecoming a responsi@le person is a tough
one and it comes with /acing pro@lems and choosing the @est way to learn /rom those pro@lems.
There is a need to /eel we deserve @etter, the empowerment that develops with ma8ing one;s
own decisions can only increase sel/Cesteem. There will @e mista8es @ut that is how pro@lems are
solved, @y /inding a solution. 5ltimately the student;s choices determine what and how
success/ul they will @e. # personal area o/ improvement would @e to have higher eEpectations
/or my students. $ have high eEpectations /or younger /amily mem@ers. $n the current grading
systems, $ do not allow them to settle /or a C. $ have a /riend who has o@served this and as8ed
me <Why is it o8ay /or your students to have a C and not your nephew!= $ didn;t have an
answer. $ /eel this eEpectation should @e relevant /or everyone $ care a@out and $ have resolved to
hold my students to this eEpectation as well. #lthough $ might not @e a@le to support my students
as much as my own /amily @ut $ /eel this is an attaina@le goal and will strive to push my students
toward it. #nother eEpectation $ would li8e to implement is that o/ helping one another, an
eEemplary grade can only @e earned i/ the student chooses to help others. $ @elieve this a very
important li/e s8ill and plan to integrate it into /uture classes.
1. Jump up Q .etrieved /rom'http:PPen.wi8ipedia.orgPwi8iPWilliamRlasser)
". Jump up Q .etrieved /rom'http:PPwww./understanding.comPcontrolRtheory.c/m)
*. Jump up Q 2uoted /rom'http:PPwi8.ed.uiuc.eduPindeE.phpPControlRTheory)
0. Jump up Q 2uoted and .etrieved /rom'http:PPwww.wglasser.comPwhatisct.htm.)
1. Jump up Q .etrieved /rom http:PPwww.wglasser.comPTeachingS":ChoiceS":Theory
6. Jump up Q .etrieved /rom
3our@on, T. W. 'no date). Chapter 19 perceptual control theory, reality therapy, and the
responsi@le thin8ing process. [Review of Chapter 19 of the book Discipline for home and school,
book two: Practical standards for schools revised and e!panded edition"#$ Responsible
%hinkin& Process Retrieved 'une 1(, )**+ from: http:,,www$responsiblethinkin&$com,PC%-
Coo8e, 3. '1441). # +uality classroom: 2uality teaching tools that /acilitate student success.
-aper presented at the #nnual Meeting o/ the G$&O, $nternational Con/erence on Teaching
%Ecellence '#ustin, TT , May "*, 1441).
9oderaro, 6.W. '"::"). Cornin& by the book /topian or 0rwellian1 The Gew Lor8 Times,
.etrieved June 11, "::? /rom:
$nternational #ssociation o/ #pplied Control Theory '$##CT) CCChttp:PPwww.iaact.comP
Martin, W. '14FF). Control theory: 2pplications to middle-level school environments$ -aper
presented at the #nnual Meeting o/ the #merican educational research association 'Gew
Orleans, 6#, 144F).
Gelson, T. . '"::"). 2n 3nterview with 4illiam 5lasser$ Teacher %ducation 2uarterly, &ummer
"::", 4*C4F.
Toso, .. 3. '":::). Control %heory, -rincipal 6eadership '(igh &chool %d.), 0:C*.
William lasser $nstitute. '"::>). 2uality schools. .etrieved June 11, "::?:
3ecause o/ the popularity o/ ,r. lasserIs ideas and the growing interest in communication
through the $nternet, many people who are not mem@ers o/ the $nstitute and who have not ta8en
any o/ our training may pro/ess 8nowledge and s8ills in the implementation o/ his ideas. The
William lasser $nstitute cannot possi@ly monitor all communications on the $nternet and
there/ore, we do not sanction any eEchanges that are not on our we@ site. Through this We@ site,
you can lin8 'connect) to people who are .egional #dvisory 3oard Mem@ers o/ the $nstitute.
Lour discussions 'eEchanges) with them, and any views eEpressed, are not necessarily views o/
the William lasser $nstitute.
What are the @ene/its o/ em@racing Choice Theory @y some schools, 8nown as 2uality &chools!
(ow would you demonstrate a situation using lasserIs Choice Theory!