Choice Theory believes humans must maintain and fulfill five basic needs, and each person chooses how they will meet their needs (Sullo, 2011). Although each person may choose how to fulfill the five basic needs of love and belonging, power, freedom, fun, and survival, their choices may lack efficiency and effectiveness (O'Morain, n.d.). Dr. William Glasser created Choice Theory and discovered how people choose and decide internally, based off of wants, and not externally, based off someone else's wants or incentives (Sullo, 2011). Choice Theory focuses on control and how people let their wants control them. When in reality, people must learn to satisfy wants in productive ways through controlling their own actions instead of focusing control on others' actions to meet our needs (Sullo, 2011).
Win-Win discipline also focuses on needs. Specifically, unfulfilled needs, which cause distractions (Kagan, 2002). Spencer Kagan's premise of Win-Win focuses on seven positions or "where a student is coming from" (Kagan, 2002, para. 5). Attention seeking, avoiding embarrassment, anger venting, control seeking, energetic, bored, and uniformed make up the positions (Kagan, 2002). Win-Win discipline seeks to acknowledge the position, address it in the moment, and practice "preventative procedures" (Kagan, 2002, para. 19) with "the 5 P's" (para. 19) of pillars, procedures, positions, process, and programs.
Win-Win focuses on needs, and how people act out to meet their unfulfilled needs.
Choice Theory focuses around needs and the choices people make to meet their needs, good or bad.
Choice Theory supports "five basic needs" (Sullo, 2011, para. 7).
Each discipline model supports the needs theory; however, the needs differ in each model.
Win-Win discipline supports seven needs or "positions" (Kagan, 2002, para. 5). Instead of listing the needs, though, WIn-Win focuses on behaviors "associated with one of the seven positions" (para. 5).
Choice Theory and Win-Win emphasize how productive choices benefit everyone and their needs.
Individual needs and wants remain the key focus of Win-Win. The discipline stresses "respect for individual differences and individual needs" (Kagan, 2002, para. 25) to maintain a respectful classroom with mutual goals.
If teachers and students maintain the same goal, success becomes possible because of compliance. Educators must relate their goal to students so they will both want the same thing (Sullo, 2011).
Win-Win's 5 P's:
Choice Theory Characteristics:
Choice Theory and Win-Win use different methods when attempting to convince students how shared goals will benefit them and everyone.
The Difference of Methods
A student's knowledge must be thorough to achieve full understanding.
A student must act with their own will.
Self-evaluation relates learning
objectives and understanding by
relating the subject back to them.
The pillars consist of "same side, shared
responsibility, and learned
responsibility" (Kagan, 2002, para. 20).
Pillars create the foundation of a
Procedures act as tools for educators to
use to prevent misbehavior and fulfill
Educators must accept a students'
unfulfilled needs, but misbehavior because remains inappropriate.
The position of a student must be identified through a process consisting of ABCD.
Win-Win programs act as larger
preventative procedures for
Both disciplines stress the importance of students developing responsibility to nurture future life skills.
Win-Win discipline believes constructive behavior and skills to address positions provide productive ways to fulfill needs. The productive skills prevent future misbehavior from occurring, and life lessons for students to achieve their full learning potential.
Choice Theory believes once humans' needs are met, misbehavior will rarely occur. Through an understanding of the benefits of common goals and self-responsibility, students will meet needs and continue to develop in their lives.
Marcus' test grade upsets them, and they lash out on fellow classmates.
An educator may choose to enact Choice Theory by addressing the student alone to discuss how he/she may understand how they will be able to improve because they control their actions. The student and educator will be able to review areas they understand poorly to focus on it and score higher next time.
The student will realize how their scores will improve with the help from educators, the classmates they lashed out at, and through their own actions and self-evaluation.
A classroom practicing Choice Theory may choose to meet the
need of fun and joy by allowing students to choose a fun
learning activity for the week. An educator may provide
students the option of having class outside, creating art as
part of a lesson, or acting out lessons with a play.
A comment or concern box for a classroom presents another possible way to meet use Choice Theory. Students will feel involved and heard through their voices, which meets the needs of belonging and power. The comment box allows students to voice their needs at any time, and the comment will remain anonymous if a student wishes.
A Win-Win classroom focuses on communication and unity. An educator who chooses to have weekly classroom discussions on their specific interests in a unit provides a sense of community. By allowing students to choose some focal points in a unit, the educator will be able to create lessons tailored to the class, which will keep their attention.
Andrea continues to fall asleep in class because she believes the lessons in the unit.
Andrea's teacher must first identify her behavior and position, which she evaluates as Boredom. Once identified, her teacher must respond immediately. Andrea's teacher decides to have her pair up with a classmate who needs help, so she will remain engaged during the lesson.
Andrea no longer falls asleep because of her new task; however, her teacher decides to discuss advanced classes with her parents and school if she continues to feel bored.
A school-wide implementation of a five-minute warm-up before class begins provides students physical stimulation to prevent disruptions due to excess energy.
Kagan, S. (2002). What is win-win discipline? Kagan Online Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.kaganonline.com
O'Morain, P. (n.d). Reality therapy and choice theory. Padraig O'Morain. Retrieved from https://www.padraigomorain.com
Sullo, B. (2011). Choice theory. Funderstanding. Retrieved from https://www.funderstanding.com/educators/choice-