After presenting these ideas at NAREN (National At-Risk Education Network) in Wisconsin last week, I was asked to write an article that would be able to reach more people to spread exciting word about Dr. William Glasserís work in area of Quality Schools.
There are many characteristics that are required in order for a school to be listed as a Quality School. There are currently 13 such schools in country, with many more on their journey to become Quality Schools.
In a Quality School, relationships are based upon trust and respect, and all discipline problems, not incidents, have been eliminated. Total Learning Competency is stressed and an evaluation that is below competence or what is now a "B" has been eliminated. All schooling as defined by Dr. William Glasser has been replaced by useful education. All students do some Quality Work each year that is significantly beyond competence. All such work receives an "A" grade or higher, such as an "A+".
Students and staff are taught to use Choice Theory in their lives and in their work in school. Parents are encouraged to participate in study groups to become familiar with ideas of Dr. William Glasser. Students do better on state proficiency tests and college entrance examinations. The importance of these tests is emphasized in school. Staff, students, parents and administrators view school as a joyful place.
All of above criterion must be in place to be listed as a Quality School. When a school is a Quality School, dictates of ďNo Child Left BehindĒ take care of themselves. Now, of course there will be a few children who have totally rejected school that are unreachable but for majority, they will learn and do quality work.
The way to achieve this is to implement three conditions of quality. First, school and each classroom must create an environment that will meet needs of students, and consequently of teachers. All humans are born with five basic human needs. We have need for survival, connection/love, power, freedom and fun/learning. This is true of students and teachers.
In order to help students meet their need for survival, school and classroom must be safe. They must feel that they wonít be hurt physically or emotionally. When students feel safe, there is no need to threaten teachers or other students.
In order for students to satisfy their need for connection/love, they must have a relationship with teacher and other students. They must believe that teacher has their best interest at heart. The more you give love and connection away, more they come back to you.
In order to satisfy a studentís need for power, teachers must listen to and respect their studentsí ideas and issues. This does not mean that teachers must agree with their students but they must at least let students know that they are important. When students feel listened to and respected, they donít disrespect their teachers and they tend to listen more.