Model Information

Reality Therapy & Choice Theory by William Glasser

Underlying Assumptions

  • Humans beings are self-regulating.
  • Children learn to be responsible by examining a full range of consequences and making value judgments about their behavior.
  • Avoiding an exploration of motives will help children accept responsibility.
  • Human behavior consists of an effort to resolve needs for: love, power, freedom, and fun.
  • Each person has a unique way to satisfy needs.
  • Children cannot be forced to change what they believe about how best to satisfy their needs.


  • Reality therapy and choice theory promote a high degree of autonomy and responsibility for students.
  • They help students see a wide range of possible consequences for their behaviour.
  • They allow students to determine solutions to their own discipline problems.
  • They help students understand their needs and how to satisfy these needs legitimately.
  • They help teachers avoid promoting rebellion.
  • They delineate clearly what a teacher needs to do for every misbehaving student.
  • Problem behaviours can be handled in classroom meetings involving the entire class, which helps all students understand the various discipline problems and what to do about them.


  • —It is difficult for teachers to help students satisfy their need for control without feeling threatened themselves.
  • —It is difficult to react properly when communicating with students about their inappropriate behaviours.
  • —It is difficult to avoid giving responses that encourage students to make excuses for their bad behaviour.
  • —It is difficult to help students experience the true sense of autonomy implied by control theory if outside influences dictate what is taught in school and how children should be disciplined.
  • — Classroom meetings may consume more time than is desirable.
  • — It may be difficult to help students who do not want to be in school to make plans to improve their behaviour.
  • — Students may not have the necessary skills to make plans that will help improve their behaviour.

Corrective Discipline

There are 4 basic steps to correct students' behavior:
  1. Help students recognize and describe their behavior.
  2. Ask them to identify the consequences of their actions.
  3. Have them make value judgments about both the consequences of the behavior and the unwanted behavior itself.
  4. Help them formulate plans that they believe will help eliminate their problems.
If these steps do not help, students can be given a time-out until they come up with a plan.

Preventative Discipline

  • Set goals as a class
  • Set rules together
  • Set norms for operations together
  • Everyone needs to commit to making it work.
  • Decide together what the consequences will be, if someone doesn’t conform to the mutually agreed upon rules.

Other Important Information

Control theory or choice theory was intended to be the preventative plan, while reality therapy was intended to be the corrective plan.

Personal Reviews


I personally liked Glasser’s model. I believe putting more responsibility on students for the choices they make, is a good thing. I also believe that having the class make rules together is extremely beneficial. I think this model sets children up for success, by making goals as a class and by having students come up with a plan to correct their behaviour. I think this would be an interesting model to try out in a classroom.


This model is good because it teaches students to make value judgments which is an important skill to practice. After making students judge their behavior, this model suggests that you should have the students devise a plan to change their behavior. I think that allowing the student to make their behavioral plan would be worth trying to see if it was successful.


I like this model a lot. I am a big fan in students taking responsibility for their own choices. The class goals and rules allows for teamwork, as well as independent character building to take place. I will definitley implement parts of this model in my classroom.


I think students do need to gain more responsibility for their actions, and Glasser's model provides students with that opportunity. I like that he guides the students into making better, more informed choices. I think this model would be good to try in a classroom. His model shows teamwork, by setting rules and goals as a class, but also independent work, by allowing students the chance to make a plan to correct their behavior.


I agree with Glasser's model. Children need to gain responsibilty for their own actions and behavior. They need to realise that there will be consequences for their negative actions. Human beings are self-regulating hence they must learn to manage their own behavior. Everyone is different and has unqiue ways of satisying their own needs and responsibilities.