Choice Theory

Strengthening New Zealand through Choice Theory

choice theory

Koraunui School has been providing training for its staff for the past 10 years, with Maggie Bolton taking all the training. A story about Norah Jennings' classroom can be viewed by logging into the blog 'Choice Theory in New Zealand.'

Koraunui was one of the schools featured in an article published in the William Glasser Institute USA newsletters in 2011. 

William Glasser Institute NZ


Choice Theory: This School’s Bedrock

As a school, we seek to empower both children and adults to take positive control of their lives by developing effective relationships with friends, family and the school community. The staff constantly strive to model how to connect with each other in positive ways. We use the work of Dr William Glasser, Choice Theory/Reality Therapy, to help us.

The following information attempts to give the briefest synopsis of this approach. It is not possible to use such a small space to explain William Glasser’s theory of how and why humans operate the way they do in this very complex world.

If you would like more information, and we encourage you to seek it, ask anyone employed by the school and they will point you in the right direction.

Choice Theory explains how and why we as humans choose behaviours to effectively meet our needs. It reasons that successful people are self-managing and internally motivated mainly because they have learnt to get along with others in effective, meaningful ways.

In contrast to this, it also explains why unhappy people expect to be managed by others and expect that events beyond their control manage them (external control).

There are four main components to Choice Theory/Reality Therapy; Basic Needs, Quality World, Perceptual System and Total Behaviour


External versus internal control

Because of our knowledge of Choice Theory, we understand that the only person we can control is our self. All behaviour   is chosen. The outcomes of any behaviour we choose are our own responsibility.

When external control is used, there will be attempts to control the way we dress, think and behave and to control our beliefs by; coercion, threatening, bribing, engendering fear, withholding, and demeaning. The result of this type of culture will inevitably create an environment of conflict and blame, which in turn allows the responsible party to pass the ‘fault’ on to others, unchallenged.

At Koraunui we believe that in building stable, trusting relationships we will enhance children’s learning by encouraging, supporting, accepting our various ideas, caring and listening. By doing this ourselves and giving the children opportunities to practise in a safe, non-judgemental environment, our children will not only be able to forge positive, responsible connections in the future but become self-motivated, independent learners.

Responsibility for, and the resolution of, conflict lies with those immediately involved.

Encouraging honesty and self-reflection by those who work, learn, lead and model in the school, help us all to flourish in a positive and caring environment.

We are a ‘work in progress’, with all staff working hard to change lifetime ‘disconnecting’ habits and learning to apply Dr Glasser’s approach consistently.

We are delighted to welcome you and your child on this journey!

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