“Good or bad, everything we do is our best choice at that moment.” ― William Glasser
Dr. Glasser was an American psychiatrist and was the developer of Demming's workplace ideas, choice theory, and reality therapy. His innovations for schools highlight personal choice, personal responsibility and personal transformation.
Glasser applied his theories to broader social issues, such as education, management, and marriage. Glasser advocated educating the general public about mental health issues.
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"Increasing students’ responsibility for their own learning and success, strengthening relationships among peers, teachers, students and parents to build thriving, healthy learning communities. "
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One significant difference between the educational model at ACA and traditional schools is the multi-age learning classroom. Classrooms are composed of students who differ by one grade level, which creates a mix of ideas and abilities.
Students remain in a given classroom for more than one year which fosters a closer relationship with the teacher. This allows the teacher to develop a deeper understanding of a child’s strengths and needs. Thus, the teacher is more capable of guiding and supporting the students. Building a relationship based on trust and respect provides the students an environment conducive to cooperative learning
Learning experiences are personalized so each student can reach his or her full potential. Teachers meet the students where they are, and students learn at their own pace. Students take responsibility for their own learning and this self-direction helps students discover that learning is meaningful and adds value to their lives.
The multi-age classroom uses peer mentoring and cooperative learning to improve competence and create learning families. Younger students look to older students for assistance which leads to younger students accomplishing assignments they may not have been able to complete on their own. The benefit to older students mentoring younger students is increased independence, self-confidence, and competence. Cooperative learning also builds relationships; therefore, decreases bullying behavior and increases the positive school culture comprised of a family of learners who support and care for one another.
A varied level of maturity and development offers students more opportunities to gain social-emotional skills. Older students learn patience, tolerance, self-confidence, and nurturing while younger students overcome shyness, become more confident, and understand how to appropriately meet their needs.