The philosophy of The Karafin School is based on that of American psychiatrist William Glasser. Dr. Glasser developed “Choice Theory,” which states that our decisions and actions are all caused by personal notions of what is important or satisfying and not by external events.
Dr. Glasser had several ideas about how best to educate children. He believed that taking away the fear of failure would boost the quality of a student’s work. He also believed that Choice Theory should be applied to the classroom. He is quoted as saying: “We are far too concerned with discipline, with how to ‘make’ students follow rules, and not enough concerned with providing the satisfying education that would make our over concern with discipline unnecessary.”
Dr. Glasser named five basic needs of humans:
These needs must be met for a meaningful education to be possible. In order to provide this meaningful education teachers must have the “Seven Caring Habits,” which are:
Dr. Glasser believed that each person has a “quality world” which he described as “a personal picture album of all the people, things, ideas, and ideals that we have discovered increase the quality of our lives.”
The pictures in our quality world
In order for a student to receive a meaningful education, the teachers must become part of his or her quality world.
Choice Theory states that all behavior is purposeful; it is designed to satisfy a need. Student behavior, especially unacceptable behavior, must be assessed in the light of this need and the need must be satisfied for the behavior to change. At the core of his philosophy is the belief that everything we do, think, or feel, whether good or bad, is the result of the choices we make.
The Karafin School has adopted many of Dr. Glasser’s philosophies. Students do not receive failing grades, instead they receive grades of incomplete, which they can make up. The school’s educational values include concern for the needs of the student, recognition of the student’s unique qualities, and avoidance of negative history. At the beginning of each school year the teachers are given a list of the principles of reality therapy as a reminder of their role in The Karafin School’s unique educational philosophy.