The guiding principle of the Explore Academy philosophy is that each student has the freedom to choose his or her academic path toward preparation for college studies.
The term choice theory arises from the work of Dr. William Glasser, and the culmination of over fifty years of theory and practice in the areas of psychology and counseling. Its guiding principle states that behavior is central to our existence and is driven from within, and that we as humans are most successful when we are internally motivated.
As it relates to the learning, Glasser’s theory describes a choice-based education as one in which students are:
- Provided a warm, supportive classroom environment where they are respected
- Asked to perform only useful work (no compulsory homework)
- Pushed to do the best they can
- Continuously asked to evaluate their own work and improve it
In a choice-based classroom the teacher’s role transforms from supervisor to leader and mentor, working to help students learn useful skills. These teachers are interested in quality, and continuously challenge each student to strive for the highest level of quality of which they are capable. Grades thus become less of a focus given that they tend to shift student focus away from actual learning. Using choice theory, Glasser further argues that instruction is most effective when it is:
- Directly related to a life skill
- Correlated with that which students have the desire to learn
- Seen as especially useful
- Required for college
The theory asserts that there is not one path to quality, but several, and when given a choice, each individual will be more successful in reaching the objectives required for college preparation by following the path of his or her choosing. This is the foundational principle of the Explore Academy.
- Humans are most successful when they are internally motivated
- Schools operating under a choice-theory design are most successful when they allow students to choose the path of their own learning