Model Information

Teacher Effectiveness Training by Thomas Gordon

Underlying Assumptions

  • Human beings are self-regulating and can thus learn to manage their own behavior.
  • Students commonly rebel when their teachers actively regulate their behavior.
  • Rewards and praise may undermine intrinsic motivation.
  • Students can solve their own problems when teachers listen to them.
  • Students will alter their misbehavior when teachers deliver appropriately constructed I-messages.

  • It promotes autonomy and self-regulation for students.
  • It promotes good student-teacher relationships.
  • It allows students to deal with personal problems and feelings.
  • It helps teachers communicate their needs to students so that students can appreciate how their behaviour affects others.
  • It helps students understand that teachers have needs and feelings just like they do.


  • Teachers may find some difficulty changing their role from directing and controlling students to actively listening.
  • Teachers may have difficulty accepting value differences between themselves and their students.
  • Transmitting I-messages instead of you-messages will be understandably difficult for teachers to master.
  • A more comprehensive approach may be needed to help teachers avoid having to deal with the number of possible problems likely to surface.

Corrective Discipline

  • Teacher Effectiveness Training advocates a number of processes that are designed to help the student, identify the problem, take ownership of the problem, and find ways to resolve the problem.

Preventative Discipline

  • Conductiong open-ended discussions in the classroom to address student concerns.
  • Preventative I-Messages.

Other Important Information

Attempting to control student behavior through rewards and punishment is unlikely to succeed in this model. Punishment promotes agression and violence. To be successful, teachers need to avoid controlling and directing their students' behavior. Teachers need to foster self-regulation along with positive student-teacher relationships.

Personal Reviews


I believe that Gordon’s model has some great ideas that I can see myself using in the classroom. I like how this model teaches students to become more accountable for their actions. I like the idea of using statements that help students accept ownership. For example, when would be an appropriate time to address this problem? I think this is great for an elementary classroom.


I do believe that people are self-regulating, but they need to be taught appropriate behavior. Children are not born knowing what is and is not appropriate behavior and can there for not self-regulate their behavior to be appropriate. Teachers and parents need to teach what is and is not acceptable so that students can regulate their behavior appropriately. I do think that older students can be more accountable for regulating thier own behavior.


There are some strong key points of teacher effectiveness. I really like the role the teacher plays. The model promotes autonomy and strong teacher student relationships which I feel is really important. Students need to be taught appropriate behaviour but then made accountable and responsible for their choices and actions.


I like certain parts of this model, and others I am not too fond of. I do not agree with the concept of no punishments. Some students might not like punishments, but some students need punishments in order to correct their behavior. We cannot put every student into a category saying punishment is not effective - for some students it is. I do like the I-messages though. I think they would be effect as long as the students are told and understand why their behavior is causing a problem.


I do not totally agree with Thomas Gordon since he believes that human beings are self-regulating and can thus learn to manage their own behavior. I believe that children need guidance as they grow up. Without guidance from teachers and parents, they would be uncontrollable. Children can not differentiate right from wrong therefore they do not understand what good and bad behavior is.