Choice Theory: The ten axioms

When I attended the “Mentoring Novice Teachers” workshop, our facilitator had said a bit about “Choice Theory”. It was sketchy though, so I did some research on Choice Theory to know more about it.

All throughout our lives, we make choices. According to William Glasser, the father of Choice Theory, we make choices that help us get along with people or make choices that harm us or other people. Glasser advised to make choices that are mentally healthy choices, and these mentally healthy choices are the Seven Caring Habits. I have already mentioned these helpful, caring habits in my previous post.

In this blog, I will be listing down the ten axioms of Choice Theory.  Here you go…

Ten Axioms of Choice Theory

  1. The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.
  2. All we can give another person is information.
  3. All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems.
  4. The problem relationship is always part of our present life.
  5. What happened in the past has everything to do with what we are today, but we can only satisfy our basic needs right now and plan to continue satisfying them in the future.
  6. We can only satisfy our needs by satisfying the pictures in our Quality World. Quality World are the “pictures” in our minds of our own personal, ideal world.
  7. All we do is behave.
  8. All behavior is Total Behavior and is made up of four components: thinking, acting, feeling, and physiology.
  9. All Total Behavior is chosen, but we only have direct control over our thinking and acting component. We can indirectly control our feeling and physiology only by the choices we make in our acting and thinking.
  10. All Total Behavior is identified in verb forms and named by the part that is most recognizable.



Choice Theory: The cause of relationship breakdown

In my previous post, I shared with you the five basic needs identified by William Glasser. Of these five basic needs, the most important need is love and sense of belonging. When there is love and sense of belonging, all the other needs will be fulfilled. This need of love and sense of belonging is strengthened by the Seven Caring Habits. These Caring Habits should replaced the Seven Deadly Habits, which cause relationship breakdown – whether it is relationship with parents, kids, spouse, colleagues, siblings, bosses and friends.

Seven Caring Habits

  1. Supporting. This caring habit is helping the other person to achieve what he/she wants to achieve. If your child wants to draw, do not discourage your child by saying, “You do not know how to draw. You better choose other things to do”. Instead, let him/her try to do the things he/she likes to do. Give him/her the assistance that he/she needs.
  2. Encouraging. This caring habit is doing an action to gently push the other person towards the achievement of his/her goal. Instead of telling the child that he/she got failing score in his/her subject because he/she does not study, sit with him/her and help him/her to understand the concepts in his/her lesson.
  3. Listening. This caring habit is giving your time and listening ears to the other person. Instead of criticizing the employees for not submitting work on time, listen to them what prevents them from doing their work and come up with solutions together on how to address the problem.
  4. Accepting. This caring habit is having no judgment on what the person is doing or not nagging about what he/she is doing. Instead of telling the children to fold their clothes by themselves, accept that they may not be able to do it yet. Let them try again after how many months.
  5. Trusting. This caring habit is believing the person that this person feels the same – he cares as much as you care and both of you can open up to one another. Neither of you is more powerful than the other.
  6. Respecting. This caring habit is allowing the person to be himself/herself without giving judgment. Respect your child to make his/her own choices.
  7. Negotiating differences. This caring habit is solving conflicts without falling into the Seven Deadly Habits. It is when you agree to disagree without having hard feelings.

Seven Deadly Habits

  1. Criticizing. It is the opposite of Supporting. Criticizing is being critical of what others are doing, sharing your negative opinion about others and finding fault on someone.
  2. Blaming. It is the opposite of Encouraging. For example, you blame someone that you were late because he/she was so slow!
  3. Complaining. It is the opposite of Listening. Complaining is the expressing of disappointment and unhappiness incessantly.
  4. Nagging. It is the opposite of Accepting. It is telling people to do what they do not want to do.
  5. Threatening. It is the opposite of Trusting. It is creating fear in someone else through punishment and any possibility of negative outcome.
  6. Punishing. It is the opposite of Respecting. It is taking away something from someone for them to follow what you want.
  7. Bribing or rewarding to control. It is the opposite of Negotiating Differences. It is a form of manipulation and takes away the power from someone.

We cannot control other people; we can only control our own behavior. When we use the Seven Deadly Habits to control people, it will only lead to disconnection. This Deadly Habits should be replaced with Caring Habits to enjoy a happy relationship!

Choice Theory: How and why people behave that way

We often hear Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which states that people are motivated to achieve certain needs. When the first level of needs is satisfied then the person will move up to satisfy the next level. There is another theory in human needs related to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and that is the Choice Theory.

Choice Theory is developed by William Glasser. This explains that human’s behavior and choices are influenced by their desire to fulfill their needs. The needs in Choice Theory is somewhat similar to the Hierarchy of Needs. Below are the five basic needs in Choice Theory:

  • Survival. This need directs us to behave or choose something in order for us to have food, shelter and others. Examples of Survival Needs are air, food, water, shelter, health and exercise.
  • Love and Belonging. This need requires us to be connected, accepted and appreciated by others. Examples of Love and Belonging Needs are friendship, cooperation, involvement, relationships, connectedness, companionship, intimacy and collaboration.
  • Power. This need is satisfied by achieving and accomplishing and being recognized and respected. Examples of Power Needs are importance, competition, recognition, achievement, competence, attention, respect, skills, being heard, impact, pride and significance.
  • Freedom. This need drives us to make choices and have the control of our life: to set goals, to create plans, to make choices, to evaluate results and to determine the next step. Examples of Freedom Needs are choices, independence, options, liberty, autonomy and moving around.
  • Fun. This need demands us to have joy and satisfaction in our lives. It is the result of accomplishment, recreation and entertainment. Examples of Fun Needs are enjoyment, pleasure, learning, relaxation and laughter.

When a person’s need is satisfied, he will feel the pleasure. Otherwise, he will feel frustrated; he will feel the pain. Whatever the person feels, it will affect his behavior or choices. How a person behaves then is internally motivated, and is not affected by external factors. We can only say what we want to say, but the decision to do it is not ours, but his!

I said a lot in this post, but the only thing I can give is information. Further decision or action is yours to make!

Mentoring Novice Teachers


Today, is the second day of my 4-day “Mentoring Novice Teachers” workshop conducted by the SEED Institute Singapore. We were fed with many information,  but the one that I will share in this blog is the mentoring system.

The following are the steps often followed by organizations to start and sustain a meaningful mentoring process:

  1. Define the business case for mentoring. Why do you need to mentor your teachers? What is your justification? Do you want to increase retention rate of your teachers? Do you want to improve your teachers’ quality of teaching? In this step, you are to clarify the need to mentor by identifying the area where your mentoring will focus on.

  2. Establish a mentoring strategy. This is the point where the senior management and others will come together to set up long term and short term goals. Also, they will design strategies and plan the mentoring implementation.

  3. Select mentees and mentors. The steering committee will define the criteria for selecting and matching mentors and mentees. The criteria will be the basis in identifying who will be the mentees and who will mentor them.

  4. Provide mentor and mentee skill training. Send mentors for mentoring course. Mentoring program will be successful if mentors are provided with formal training.

  5. Link up mentees and mentors. Create a mentoring agreement that will include the goals and objectives of both the mentors and mentees, how and when they will meet the objectives set, and the confidentiality of their agreement.

  6. Begin the mentoring process. The mentoring process has various stages such as introduction, foundation, orientation. collaboration, personal framework, professional framework, professional development and transition. Make sure to go over with your mentees all these processes until you have achieved your goals.

  7. Evaluate the program. Check whether the mentee has met the objectives set at the beginning of the program. Also, identify how successful was the program in achieving the business case goals like retention rate of teachers or developing teachers’ skills. To formally end the program, mentor and mentee can decide whether they want to continue the mentoring or stop as the mentee has shown confidence in doing assigned task independently.

I hope you have something to take away from this sharing. Happy mentoring! Bring out the best from your mentee!

Requirements for Preschool Teachers in Singapore

Singapore is very particular with teaching requirements before one becomes an eligible teacher or an educarer. A qualified teacher or an educarer should meet all professional and academic qualifications and language proficiency requirement. What does it mean?

For Singaporeans and PRs, qualified teachers should have:

  • Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (professional qualification)
  • 5 ‘O’ level credits in 5 different subjects (academic qualification)
  • B4 in GCE ‘O’ Level English Language 1 (language proficiency)

When you meet the above requirements, you will be considered as L2 teacher. L2 teacher can teach all levels in preschool such as Kindergarten, Nursery, Pre-Nursery and Playgroup (18 months – 6 year old children).

Those who have Certificate in ECCE, 3 ‘O’ level credits in 3 different subjects and C6 in GCE ‘O’ Level English Language 1 will be considered as L1 teacher. L1 teacher can only teach Nursery, Pre-Nursery and Playgroup (18 months – 4 years old). For more information, click here.

For foreigner English teachers like those preschool teachers from the Philippines, Malaysia and other country, they should also meet the teacher certification requirements. This means that they need to have Diploma in ECCE and should get an IELTS band score of 6.5 or better in order to be categorized as L2 teacher. Those who were assessed at certificate level will be labeled as L1 teacher, and can only teach early years (up to 4 years old). To know more details on teacher certification with foreign Early Childhood qualifications, click here.

If the foreign English Teacher has degree in his/her home country, it will be assessed whether it covers the following topics:

  • Principles and  Practices  in  Early Childhood  Care  and  Education
  • Child  Development and  Learning
  • Curriculum  Studies  and  Pedagogy
  • Personal Growth and  Professional  Development  :  The  Reflective  Teacher
  • Safety,  Health, Hygiene  and  Nutrition
  • Partnership  with Families  and  the Community
  • Supervised  Teaching  Practice

If it does and it qualifies as diploma or certificate in Singapore, then he/she does not need to study DECCE or CECCE.

Once you become a full-fledged preschool teacher, you are required to complete at least 20 hours of Continuous Professional Development per year. You have the option to attend CPD courses or participate in Professional Development (PD) programmes conducted by ECDA. You can also consider other modes of PD such as web-based learning, learning journeys and sharing sessions amongst peers.


What to do during the field trip

During the field trip, here are the things you should do:

  1. Prepare the things that you need to bring before the children arrive. You must have a checklist of the things you need to bring and/or the activities you will do. Refer to the checklist and see whether you have brought everything with you. Do not forget fundamental items when going for a trip with the children like tissue, hand sanitizer, first aid kit and plastic bag and extra clothes (just in case someone feels like vomitting).
  2. Check children’s attendance. Count the number of children when you leave the school, when in the bus, when in the venue, when leaving the venue and when back to the school.
  3. Make sure the children go to the toilet before leaving the school. Buses cannot stop somewhere just for one child or two to go to the toilet. If the bus stops, it will delay your time. So, let the children go to the toilet before you depart.
  4. If there are more adults accompanying the field trip, strategize how you will maximize them. Give them a role. For example, when you are walking in line with the children, assign 1 adult in front, 1 adult in the middle and 1 adult in the end of the line. You may also discuss who will gather the children around in one place while another adult is attending to one activity. As much as possible, discuss the role of each adult before reaching the venue.
  5. Pay the bus, admission fee and other expenses you have to pay for the field trip. There are companies which require no advance payment; you have to pay them on the day of the trip. So, in this case, do not forget your cash. It is better if you put per payment in an envelope and write for which company it is and how much money is inside the envelope.

These are some of the basic things you need to do during the field trip. Good luck in your next trip!


Steps to take before your field trip


A successful field trip takes careful planning and a lot of liaising. To prevent chaos during the trip, it is better to anticipate what can possibly happened and act on it before worse thing occurs.

Here are the steps to do when planning for your field trip:

1. Define the objectives of your field trip. Field trip is done to allow children to break away from their normal class routine. It also provides children some hands on learning experiences. It is good if your objective is related to your current theme so that the children can apply and connect the knowledge and skills they learned from the classroom in the real world context.

2. Find a place that meets your objective. Search for places where you can have your field trip, and at the same time, a place that will meet your objective. If you have many choices, narrow it down until you find one that is best suited for the attainment of your objective.

3. Contact the place of interest. Call or email the place you have chosen. Inform them that you will have your field trip in their place. Let them know your objective. They might have additional workshops or programmes they can offer to you to strengthen children’s knowledge on the current topic you have. Also, ask them the starting time they can accommodate you and for how long.

4. Plan your itinerary. After knowing the start time and end time of your field trip, calculate how long will it take from going to the place to your school and back. It is also good if you will reconnoiter the place so that you will know if the bus stop is near the place you will visit or you still have to walk a long way to reach your destination. In addition to toilet time, travel time and field trip time, you also have to consider if the children need to have snacks or lunch at the venue. You need to have time for this and have to include it in your schedule.

5. Arrange for transport. Since you know already where you are going and what time is the start of your trip, call a bus company and ask whether they have available bus and how much it costs.

6. Calculate the field trip fee. How much is the bus fare? How much is the admission fee in the place you will visit? How much will the lunch or snack cost? Calculate the total amount and this will be the field trip fee.

7. Send an email to the parents about your upcoming field trip. Let them know the objective of your field trip and other details such as where and when is the field trip and how much does it cost. Let the parents know what their children will wear on the day of the trip. Do the children need to wear jacket? Do they need to wear a hat?

If the parents want their child to join the trip, state in your email that they can sign the consent form and pay for the field trip fee.

8. Collect all the consent forms and identify who are the children attending and not attending. Identify how many adults should accompany the children to the trip. If there are children not attending the trip, identify who should supervise them in case they come to school.

That’s all folks! Look out for my next post, which will be about “What should you do during your field trip?”


Sinigang na Salmon (Salmon Soup): A Filipino Cuisine

I usually eat in Kabayan Restaurant, which is located at the 3rd floor of Lucky Plaza (in Singapore). I know what food they always prepare; I know which recipe is new to the restaurant.

Last week, I brought my boyfriend for the first time in Kabayan. The restaurant had “sinigang na salmon” or salmon soup. Salmon is my favorite fish, and so, without a second thought, I ordered it. It was very delicious when I tasted the dish!

I searched the internet how to cook sinigang na salmon. I came across a recipe that says need to “saute garlic and onion” as the first step. I did not follow that. Instead, I had my own simple version. I boiled water. Then, added the salmon fish. After 5 minutes, I added okra. I also seasoned it with Magic Sarap.


Lastly, I served it hot… and all the words that came out from my boyfriend was “Perfect!”, “This is very tasty!” and “Best soup ever!”

Innovation Guidance Project 2016 – Water Conservation


It was 2015 when I submitted the project proposal to ECDA for Innovation Guidance Project 2016, and on the same year, it was granted! The project commenced on March 2016 and ended on October 2016. Documentation of the project was submitted on December 2016.

To start off the project, we conducted provocation with the K2 children through a storytelling. This was done to arouse their interest on the topic “Water Conservation”.

We, then, began to gather information to build children’s knowledge on water conservation. Activities include Kiddy Carwash, Field Trip to Yiu Chu Kang Swimming Complex, Water Filter, Water Filter Parent-Child Project, Saving Water at Home and Water Measurement.

To conclude the project and let the children demonstrate the things they learned, the children created posters, composed songs and led the Save Water Drive activity.

This Innovation Guidance Project has been instrumental to developing children’s scientific skills in our centre. The children were also able to advocate water conservation in their home and in their community through Save Water Drive activity. We thank ECDA for granting us fund to carry out this project!

Why I meditate


Meditation is done either for religious purposes or relaxation reasons. People who meditate sit down, focus their mind and continue to breathe with all awareness.

I have started meditating in 2015 because I was mending a broken heart. I started doing yoga in 2013, influenced by my Buddhist friends. Two years later, I began to meditate. By doing meditation, I became connected with myself.

Though I have moved on from my past relationship, I still continue to meditate for relaxation purposes. Our mind, like our body, needs some rest. It works at most 12 hours or more. It needs some rest… give it at least 10 minutes to rest.

I do meditation for at least 10 to 20 minutes every day in the morning after I do my simple yoga routine. At first, I was skeptical in doing meditation… another being might take over my body… But then, I still tried it for there is no harm in doing it. There are times, I will miss out meditating, but since it has become part of my daily routine, I will always come back to my meditative practice.

If you ask me what meditation has done to my life, I would say that my life has been so much better and happier since I started meditating. The emotional area of my life has improved. Before, if I wanted to achieve something, I would feel terrible if I did not achieve it. But now, I can control my emotions and I have learned to let go of the things that should be let go.

Another good thing that meditation has done to me is I have become more aware of what I want. I become conscious of what I do at the present moment, rather than imagining the future or dwelling in the past.

Lastly, I become compassionate, not yet fully maybe, but more or less, I can say that I am there. In the past, I did not understand the plight of some people. At least now, I somewhat know how to listen and I have become more attentive to their needs.

Meditation has changed my life. My life has been worry free and peaceful internally. This is why I share my story about meditation to encourage others to meditate as well for a happier and peaceful life.