View Full Version : Choice Theory in the Classroom


ccom5100
05-24-14, 12:54 PM
There's a new charter high school opening in our area that is is based on William Glasser's Choice Theory. Anyone have any insight into this approach? It sounds interesting.

Excerpts from their website:

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This begins with course schedule, which utilizes a more focused, [I]divide-and-conquer approach to teaching and learning. Instead of class terms following the traditional semester model, Academy offers “seminars”, smaller classes which span four weeks (22 days) in length and cover a specific topic in depth. The collection of seminars within a given content area will equal a traditional semester course.
For example, instead of a student enrolling in a traditional biology class, Academy students will enroll in individual seminars that collectively cover the topics in biology (cells, genetics, ecology, etc.).

The focus of the system is on learning by doing, and each seminar will provide students with a unique educational experience. This type of experiential learning, seen commonly in other schools as an extension of curriculum, will be the basis for Academy’s curriculum. Every seminar will offer its own experience, and students will have choices in selecting what experiences will drive their education. Academy’s seminars can be separated into two types: core and focused.


For each seminar, there will exist [I]three versions from which students can choose to complete their requirement. The diversity of these core units of study, predominantly seen in grades 9-11, will provide students the ability to enroll in seminars which parallel their strengths, interests, and individual learning styles.
All seminars, core or focused, conclude with an exit exam which determines the grade for the seminar in question. With the focus placed on learning with continuous teacher feedback, instead of the grade-focused approach that has plagued our educational system, we can ensure that students leaving our courses are educated in the areas we certify them to be. The specific accountability of this system is far superior to the semester-based grading model.

ginniebean
05-24-14, 03:05 PM
I somehow don't greater student responsibility and accountability will work well for those already challenged by these concepts.

ccom5100
05-24-14, 03:21 PM
I somehow don't greater student responsibility and accountability will work well for those already challenged by these concepts.

I agree, but there is more on the website that makes me wonder if it would be a good nurturing environment:

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A choice-based education as one in which students are:
- Provided a warm, supportive classroom environment where they are respected
- Asked to perform only useful work (no compulsory homework)
- Pushed to do the best they can
- Continuously asked to evaluate their own work and improve it
In a choice-based classroom the teacher’s role transforms from supervisor to leader and mentor, working to help students learn useful skills. These teachers are interested in quality, and continuously challenge each student to strive for the highest level of quality of which they are capable. Grades thus become less of a focus given that they tend to shift student focus away from actual learning. Using choice theory, Glasser further argues that instruction is most effective when it is:
- Directly related to a life skill
- Correlated with that which students have the desire to learn
- Seen as especially useful
- Required for college
The theory asserts that [I]there is not one path to quality, but several, and when given a choice, each individual will be more successful in reaching the objectives required for college preparation by following the path of his or her choosing. This is the foundational principle of the Academy.
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LynneC
05-27-14, 08:46 AM
Sounds really interesting...
Is there a school near you where you might be able to observe a classroom?

ccom5100
05-27-14, 09:29 AM
Sounds really interesting...
Is there a school near you where you might be able to observe a classroom?

No, this is a relatively new approach in our state. I've been to a presentation and I'm going to another one this week that is supposed to give more information about the curriculum and how the classes will be run.

During the Q&A period, I plan to ask if a student with ADHD and poor organizational skills could succeed in this environment.

LynneC
05-27-14, 10:30 AM
No, this is a relatively new approach in our state. I've been to a presentation and I'm going to another one this week that is supposed to give more information about the curriculum and how the classes will be run.

During the Q&A period, I plan to ask if a student with ADHD and poor organizational skills could succeed in this environment.
I went on the website and linked to the schools that offer this approach, and there seems to be a cluster of them in Brevard County Florida. Not near enough for me to check out though...
Keep us posted as to your impressions... :)

addthree
05-27-14, 10:59 AM
I went to the ultimate, ADD student high school. It was an Alternative school called Ombudsman. They since changed their name and approach. Basically I went to school in a single classroom 3 hours a day in a shopping center. They provided everything.No books, No homework, No education. It was a huge joke, and I got a high school diploma that did not at all ready me for any college level work. Its now called ACE schools. It also provided plenty of idle time for kids to get in trouble with the law.

ccom5100
05-27-14, 04:03 PM
I went to the ultimate, ADD student high school. It was an Alternative school called Ombudsman. They since changed their name and approach. Basically I went to school in a single classroom 3 hours a day in a shopping center. They provided everything.No books, No homework, No education. It was a huge joke, and I got a high school diploma that did not at all ready me for any college level work. Its now called ACE schools. It also provided plenty of idle time for kids to get in trouble with the law.

Wow, that sucks! Why would you classify it as the "ultimate ADD student high school?" It sounds as though it was more of a babysitting arrangement with no structure, no accountability, and no education.

addthree
05-27-14, 04:18 PM
It was the ultimate because there was nothing to remember. It was a joke. It was a diploma mill.

ccom5100
05-31-14, 12:36 PM
No, this is a relatively new approach in our state. I've been to a presentation and I'm going to another one this week that is supposed to give more information about the curriculum and how the classes will be run.

During the Q&A period, I plan to ask if a student with ADHD and poor organizational skills could succeed in this environment.

Update:
So I went to a 2nd, more in depth, presentation and asked my question. Their answer made a lot of sense. The curriculum is taught in 22/day seminars, breaking subjects up into specific concepts being taught in those seminars. The students are tested at the end of that 22 day period and receive credit for that seminar. Therefore, the student does not have to store 6 months worth of notes, etc. and take a final exam after that time. This works much better for a student who is disorganized. They also have time built into their curriculum for students to make up a seminar if he does not grasp the concept in 22 days.

I was impressed enough to pitch it to my 10th grader. However, he wishes to remain in his current school, which is also a charter. Personally, if I were in school, I'd jump at the chance to learn this way. But, my adhd kid does not like change. He's already established himself in this school and does not want to start all over again in another. I can certainly respect that.