Using Total Behavior discussion to choose appropriate classroom behavior : LUSENET : GLASSER Choice Theory & Reality Therapy : One Thread

Excerpt from Choices Activity News, Week of March 1, 2004

Total Behavior. . . . last week, I was able to use a real situation to explain the concept of Total Behavior to a class. During a teacher's absence, the class chose inappropriate behaviors with a sub. Some behaviors identified by the whole class were making inappropriate noises, getting out of seat, talking out, laughing at inappropriate times, disrespect, inattention, not doing work, and not listening. As a result, this class lost their Valentine's celebration, some were sent to the office, phone calls were made home, and they lost marks from the board. I had them first consider the Thinking component.

THINKING--"What do I/we want?" Classroom celebrations, good reports from the sub., time outside to play.

ACTING--"What am/are I/we doing to get what I/we want?" Making inappropriate noises, getting out of seat, talking out, laughing at inappropriate times, disrespect, etc.

FEELING--disappointed, angry, regret, embarrassed, unhappy, nervous.

THINKING--"Is what I/we am/are doing going to get what I/we want?" NO!! "What else can I/we do to get what I/we want?"

ACTING (What else can I/we do?)--pay attention, listen, do work, be respectful, stay seated, and use "I" messages with peers who are not choosing appropriately.

FEELING--"After choosing these new behaviors, how will you/I/we feel?" Proud and happy.

We could have touched upon PHYSIOLOGY, by having the students relate how their body felt when they were sitting in the office, when the phone call was made home regarding inappropriate choices, when coming in the next day to see teacher,i.e., queasy stomach, sweaty palms, jumpy, "deer in the headlights" eyes, etc.

Hopefully, the next time a guest teacher is required in this classroom, the students will remember our discussion and will choose the wanted consequences of maintaining classroom celebrations, feeling proud and a smiling teacher at the door the day after her absence. This can be accomplished by thinking carefully prior to acting and the use of positive peer pressure, via the "I" message.

Perhaps, the next time you have a planned absence from the classroom, you might lead a class discussion about student wants, behaviors, and desired consequences. It'll probably work. Recall the Reality Therapy questions--What do I/you want?; What am I/we currently doing?; Is it working?; and What else can I/we do?

-- Ted Donato (, February 25, 2004

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