I recently shared this meme on Facebook, so a number of you may have seen it there already. If not, this digital poster is a good reminder to all of us that kids need specific lifeskill help.
The daily headlines reveal a world that is (in Glasser’s words) “hanging by a thread.” From unspeakable acts of hatred to opioid addiction (both in today’s news), humans struggle with how to cope and how to get what they want. We leave school only to throw ourselves into self-improvement – knowledge about good food choices and how to prepare it; knowledge about staying fit and how to create and maintain a fitness plan; and insight and skills when it comes to psychological health, to name a few. Billions are spent each year on learning what are really basic life skills. So why are we not focusing on these areas in school? Wouldn’t these areas represent essential learnings?
More and more I am seeing school districts and schools focusing on the deeper needs of students, acknowledging in the process that learning occurs at a much lower rate when emotional needs aren’t met. Educational journals are documenting the success of schools and students that are benefiting from Social & Emotional Learning (SEL). It has become clear to many that the “soft skills” (collaboration, emotional literacy, empathy, social intelligence, etc.) are anything but.
Within this updated context, that context being a new awareness of the need for social and emotional skills, including the ability to monitor and improve our own psychological health, the principles of Choice Theory have so much to offer. Those of us who have a knowledge of Choice Theory just have to share the ideas with our students. Even just a simple focus on the Basic Needs and the concept of the Quality World would go a long way toward students becoming more self-governing.
As I write this I am struck by the need for a semester long Choice Theory curriculum to be created. Somehow, I have a feeling that this has already been done, so I am anxious to hear from those of you who have created such a unit plan yourself or who have discovered a Choice Theory curriculum that somebody else created. Chris Sequeira has done something like this in Oregon and certainly Ivan Honey has created a Choice Theory curriculum in Australia. Let’s share a bit on this. I know a lot of you are hesitating to teach your students Choice Theory because you don’t feel like you are a Choice Theory expert. Choice Theory ideas are too important to hold back on. And don’t forget that –
He who does the teaching, does the learning.