Making Better Choices - The Choice Process!

Dr. William Glasser, author of The Choice Theory, is quoted as saying,
“Students cannot be coerced to learn, nor can they be forced to behave in a certain manner. The choice of how to behave is just that, "a choice." What education needs to do is to teach students how to make better choices.”
Choice is foundational to a personal investment by shareholders - educators, learners, parents, and supporters.  It serves as the integral link between general decision-making, goal setting, problem-solving and conflict resolution.  The decision-making process motivates, challenges, and inspires.

Addressing the concept of choice, the C.R.O.S.S.ROADS™ decision-making process is a tool that:
1) Puts responsibility in the hands of the individual.
2) Guides an individual through five steps towards making thoughtful
informed decisions and achieving results through personal planned effort.
3) Builds constant evaluation and revision skills reinforcing mistakes are okay, and simply learning opportunities resulting in growth.

“We almost always have choices, and the better the choice, the more we will be in control of our lives.”  Dr. William Glasser

The C.R.O.S.S.ROADS™  choice process detailed here may be used for general decision-making, goal setting, conflict resolution, and problem-solving.  It was originally created, just as Glasser advised, for use as a tool to help students make better choices in conflict resolution and problem-solving situations in a school setting.  It was so successful that there was a 56% reduction in disciplinary referrals over a 2 year period. Added as a strategy after the implementation of Great Expectations in a second school setting, disciplinary referrals became all but non-existent.  

The five steps in the C.R.O.S.S.ROADS ™ Decision-making Process are:

C -   Choice - What is the choice I’m making?  
R -   Reality -  What is happening now?  What would I like to happen?
O -  Options:  What are some choice options I might try?
        What options have I tried so far?  
        What are the benefits/pitfalls of these options?
S -  Select Option/s and Plan!
           What specific personal effort is necessary to make my choice
                      option/s happen?
            a.  Who and/or what are needed to make it happen?
            b.  What is the timeline?
S -  Start Over -  Evaluate results of choice and use process to revise as needed.

In an educational setting the process may be put together with a school creed, the Eight Expectations, and Life Principles to form the guidelines for making positive choices.  

The process may be used verbally at any time or place, quickly running through the questions to focus on the particular need.  Having witnessed the five steps being used effectively in situations such as two students caught running down the hall, altercations during recess, disruptions in a classroom, goal setting for professional development, or at an administrative meeting where procedural decisions were being made, the process works.  Participating in an individual or collaborative effort, those involved take ownership and responsibility for the choice, the actions and the outcome.

Verbally running through the steps is more than adequate in the majority of situations.   At other times the worksheets and forms aid in giving a structured outline for the details of the process.  For example with conflict resolution it is particularly useful to give the participants a place to write down the facts and think through the possible solutions.  One particular sixth grade student who spent too much time being sent to the office for class disruption first of all identified what she was doing and its consequences, and then came up with ideas for changing her behavior.  Instead of a “This is what you’re going to do!” from a teacher or administrator, it was “This is what I’m going to do!” from the student.

Index of C.R.O.S.S.ROADS ™ Choice documents:

Building a Practically Useful Theory of Goal Setting and Task Motivation

Edwin A. Locke University of Maryland Gary P. Latham University of Toronto

Source: Summary of Recent Goals Research(PDF here: Gail Matthews Written Goal Study Dominican University, by Gail Matthews, Ph.D., Dominican University

Goal Progress and Happiness  - article in Psychology Today by Timothy A Pychyl Ph.D.