Written by the psychiatrist Willian Glasser, the founder of reality therapy, the book appears as a book in which the author questions the causes of school failure and offers solutions to educators, based on his experiences in different school conditions. It is in the fiction of books written critically about school and education in similar periods, and it also brings solutions to school failure rather than just a critical approach. In particular, Glasser sees the school environment as the first place of the concept of failure, saying “There are very few children who come to school with failure, none of them are labeled failures, it is only school that puts the label of failure on the child”. He explains that schools are built for failure, and that the successful ones result from those who behave as the teacher orders. He also states that it is necessary to take serious measures against school failure, assuming that unsuccessful students are mostly resentful of school and learning and cause problems in school and society. Moreover, although we know that many students today fail at school from primary school to university, we are so comfortable with this failure that he argues that education itself is responsible for the failure of students in all schools and that the system does not see its own negligence and mistake.
Glasser, based on reality therapy, with his observations, speeches and examinations, based on a group of female students, the failures of the students; He says that it means not being able to establish warm and constructive relationships with their families and teachers, and not being able to meet their needs for positive emotions. Another issue he draws attention to is that failure at school is the cause of many problems with families at home. In other words, as the child fails at school, conflicts with the family and communication problems increase, causing problems with self-confidence after a while. Socio-economic and socio-cultural situations, family situations, etc. that teachers show as the cause of school failure. It is argued that these are presented as a kind of excuse for failure, but this can be overcome if students are encouraged to take personal responsibility and given the right education. He emphasizes the system by saying, “If there were no failures in school, other obstacles could be overcome more easily, if there were fewer failures, the effects would be less in our society, this atmosphere of failure could be changed, the best solution to overcome this problem is a successful education”. He states that those working in the education system are aware of the problem of failure because in the system, children lose their motivation to read and withdraw and become lazy. It is emphasized that the necessity of establishing an education philosophy in which success is possible, that it should be solved by employing more people and constructing better buildings, should not be solved with traditional methods, but with experts who will go deeper into the issue.
We should build schools where children from all income groups will be successful, not just for the rich. Working school systems need to be presented so that every child overcomes barriers to success. We cannot solve the problem of success unless we provide schools where children can use most of their talents and be successful.
He says that if people who have been unsuccessful over the years do not have the first experience of success at an important time in their life, they generally do not succeed, and when the person succeeds, many negative factors lose their meaning. For this reason, he says that school is an opportunity to be successful in life, that the child must first experience the feeling of success at school, and that the chance of success in life is very low for an individual who has experienced failure in school life. He states that although we cannot improve family conditions for every student, it is possible to improve school conditions.
Glasser favors integrative environments in education. In other words, he believes that unsuccessful children should not be separated but should be together in heterogeneous classes. He says that every school and institution should look for ways to improve classroom education with a holistic approach, and that a good education system should be built from early childhood, saying that we should first examine the aspects of education that cause school failure and then determine a section where we can control them.
In another chapter, the author talks about two types of failure. Failure in love and failure to gain self-confidence. He defines that they are very interconnected and that, as in reality therapy, the basic needs are love and self-confidence.
Love and self-confidence are so intertwined that it can be thought that there are two ways that human beings find to achieve a successful identity. A person should learn to love and be loved at the same time, it is thought that the need for love should be met at home rather than at school or other external institutions, but schools should also meet the need for love and compassion, and should directly deal with the issue of self-confidence.
He who is loved and learned to love gets a chance to be successful in the world, says the author. If he has learned to be loved, not to love, he will fail; spoiled, hand baby rose baby grown, overprotected will fail. It shows the two main places where children will be taught to gain a successful identity, home and school. He says that if the child is successful at home, he will be successful despite the negative conditions at school, but if he has not found the feeling of success at home and at school, the situation is very difficult.
Helping each other for the need to love and be loved in the school environment, supporting each other, social responsibility behaviors, responsibility education should be a part of every school; He says that if it doesn’t, many children won’t have successful identities. A child who is unsuccessful at home, feels unwanted and little loved, and develops low self-confidence is in a hopeless situation. He will be angry, resentful, and angry with himself and those around him. In order to gain a successful identity, it is necessary to teach behavioral responsibility, to transfer hard work and personal discipline correctly. On the other hand, failure leads to procrastination and loneliness. Children who experience school failure seek the wrong environment in which to impose themselves.
Vital importance for success. Schools do not see failure as a lack of motivation and do not delve deeper into the cause, however, it is necessary to deal with students in strong, sincere and warm relationships. “Failure breeds failure, to break this cycle, it is necessary to work and focus on positive behaviors, deal with the present. Because emotion is the result of actions, good actions produce good emotions.” He explains that by establishing personal bonds with children, it is necessary to focus on their behavior, to guide them in taking responsibility, to listen to the child’s own evaluations and thoughts at all times. “Obedience does not imply responsibility, responsibility is learned only by assessing the situation, considering and accepting ways that are appropriate for oneself and others.” The child who realizes this at an early age becomes aware of social events and takes responsibility. The child can gain this by making a meaningful assessment. Discipline is self-discipline, punishment hurts. He conveys that instead of preaching and dictating, it is necessary to encourage them to judge their behavior in a meaningful way, to help them plan better behavior, to support them to gain a successful identity with trust, love and respect. The vital role of school is very important and education continues throughout life. A child learns a lot about life in preschool but meets with failure at school. “5 to 10 years old is the critical period for the perception of failure. If the child experiences failure in this period, he will identify himself with failure by losing confidence and motivation at the age of 10. Failure, which should be prevented by the school, can be prevented most during this period. A good school experience before the age of 10 helps a child be successful. Help should be given every semester, but the main effort should be in primary school.” says. Before starting school, all children were successful because they were not stigmatized by failure. At school, children use their brains not to think and solve problems, but to memorize. Memorization is bad, even worse, it does not appeal to the world of the child. If most of the things taught in school are not directly relevant to the student’s life, they cannot understand why they are in school. For this reason, a link should be established between what they learned and their lives. “Right now the system is based on learn, remember and use as much as you can. What is given as education today consists of gathering and remembering information. Thinking and problem solving have never been an important part of the education system.” says. Education focuses on memory, which is the most insignificant function of man, and neglects primary thinking. Schools tend to avoid reflective discussions, critical thinking should be taught through discussions from elementary school. Especially in artistic activities, questions based on interpretation should be asked about what is meant to be told and what is said, rather than useless information such as who did what, where, and how. Subjects requiring creativity were despised. Most schools do not attach importance to thinking with the principle of certainty, every question has a right and a wrong answer. However, open-ended discussion-based questions that do not have a single correct answer should be used in teaching thinking. Children should have a say in determining both the curriculum and the school rules.
We cannot teach thinking because of the principle of certainty, it is necessary to reduce the dominance of the certainty that surrounds the education system. In the system where the students lose their inner motivation, where they gain less and less pleasure, the principle of certainty is stated as an important reason for failure in education because it does not provide spiritual pleasure in proportion to the efforts of the students.
Again, within the scope of solution proposals, students should be given opportunities to catch the connections in daily life by creating discussion environments, plenty of discussion environments should be created in schools, teachers should allocate special time for this so that their expression and thinking skills can develop. Glasser also mentioned the negative results of a ranking like A-B-C-D in the grading system. “The interesting thing is that grade is equated with morality; There was a relationship between good grades and good behavior, and between bad grades and bad behavior.” says. Whereas notes measure ability to remember, not ability to think. He says the grades then have nothing to do with professional performance either. He argues that the grade is a loss of motivation, restrictive and complicating for life, that students do not listen to the topics that cannot be included in the exam after a while, and that objective tests discourage research and learning to read based on thought. Likewise, on homework, “It is too much and boring in practice. It is a punishment for smart creative students, it kills their creativity, not every child has equal opportunity.” says.
Case and answer-centered education is usually easy. Since the system memorizes the truth, the student gives an A as a bribe. While the thoughtless education system is seen as the first cause of the discipline problem, he states that grades emphasize failure more, and a student who believes that he is unsuccessful refuses to study more. He advocates that evaluation should only be done to follow the process in the areas of academic and social development in order to understand where children need help and where they need to work more.
On the other hand, stating that schools need to change their traditional methods, that they need to do more than just show false interest, and that despite the dissatisfaction of teachers with current practices, they are indifferent to changes, resist change, and instead of working as problem-solving groups, they only work in their own classrooms without understanding what each other is doing. suggests that schools should attach importance to teacher meetings and work collaboratively for joint decisions.
The benefits of classroom meetings are that students gain sensitivity to social problems at an early age, acquire the skills of accepting and listening to different ideas, on the other hand, important educational diagnoses can be made with open-ended intellectual meetings, and that children can speak in front of the community, express their ideas, express and develop their dreams, and express their complaints and wishes freely. Many benefits were emphasized, such as expressing and helping to choose friends.
In the book, the author believes that moral knowledge and attitudes can also be taught in school, by presenting his observations about the Pershing school he worked at last. He argues that morality is often taught with compelling limitations of either you do it or you are punished, that children take the adult world as a model, whereas values should be discussed at school. (*The reason why I gave the content of this book in a little more detail was that I agreed with the majority of Glasser’s views and wanted the article to fully cover the content of the book. Last few footnotes 😊)
We see students as empty buckets to fill with facts, and as long as we act like computers that give definite answers with certain questions, we are planting the seeds of its own destruction in the education system, which is the basic building of democracy.
No one can learn to think about their social responsibility or solve problems while failing.
All students should be recognized as potentially talented by their environment.
There is only one place to start and that is where we are.
For those who are curious, I wish you a pleasant reading in advance.