Teaching: All we can give or get is information

QUALITY SCHOOL RESOURCES  Choice Theory Axioms Workshop from Murray High School

Axiom #2 All we can give to or get from another person is information.

1. Have a student read Axiom #2 aloud to the rest of the group.

2. (10 min.) Allow students to declare whether or not they agree with this
axiom. Each student should give some examples to
support their opinions.

Count up how many agree and how many disagree and write the
number below:

Agree with Axiom #2 Disagree with Axiom #2

At beginning: ________ _______
At ending: ________ _______

3. (5 min.) How would you define the word “information” as it appears in this

4. (10 min.) Following are the three beliefs of External Control Theory:

First Belief: I answer a ringing phone, open the door to a doorbell, stop at a
red light, or do countless other things because I am
responding to a simple external signal.

Second Belief: I can make other people do what I want them to do even if
they do not want to do it. And other people can
control how I think, act and feel.

Third Belief: It is right, it is even my moral obligation, to ridicule, threaten, or
punish those who don’t do what I tell them to do or even
reward them if it will get them to do what I want them to do.

— Which of these beliefs do you think is TRUE? Explain.

5. (15 min.) List as many interpretations of the following statement as you can.

“I love you.”

— What could you do if you desperately wanted someone to understand that
this was true, and you said this to them in every way you could think of,
but they still didn’t believe you?
— List as many reasons as you can think of that someone might not believe
those words when they are said to them.
6. (30 min.) In each of the following situations, two people are attempting to
communicate with one another.

— Explain the difference in interpretation that you believe is
happening between these two people.

— What do you think each person wants out of the relationship?

— Role play a way to improve their communication.

a. The car factory worker says, “Yes, sir! I’ll be happy to add four more cars
to my production line.”

The car factory manager says, “You’re fired. I’m tired of your attitude.”

b. One lover says, “You are the most beautiful woman I know.”
The other lover says, “What is THAT supposed to mean?”

c. The parent says, “I’m so pleased you got a ‘B’ on your history test!”

The child says, “I’m sick of it! You’re never satisfied!”

7. (30 min.) Act out the following conversation so that it ends with both people
expressing frustration and anger:
— The husband says, “I’m going to make my own
dinner tonight.”

The wife says, “Why don’t you like what I cook
— What was the purpose of using frustration and anger with one another?
— How do you think using frustration and anger in this situation has affected
their relationship?
— Say the monologue of each person telling their best friend about the
— What are the differences in their stories of the argument?
— Assuming they want to improve their relationship, what would be some possible next steps?

How to Maintain and Nourish an Important Relationship
Using the Knowledge Contained in Axiom #2

— All we can give to or get from another person is information(Dr. William Glasser). –

Step #1: Become AWARE
— that we are probably being misinterpreted
— that we are probably misinterpreting

Step #2: Be okay and relaxed with that.
— An easy way to accomplish this is to remember Axiom #1 (The only behavior we
can control is our own).

Step #3: Check, in a calm, non-judgmental way:
— How are you being interpreted?
— How did they want to be interpreted?

Step #4: LISTEN to the new information your questions bring to you.
— Remember Steps #1, #2, and #3.

Step #5: Continue working on the way we are giving out information.
— Pay attention to :
— our tone of voice
— our facial expressions
— our body language
— our volume
— our word choice
— our level of awareness of Axioms #1 and #2
— Ask ourselves honestly, “Is the way I am currently communicating likely to be
coming across the way I want to come across in order to maintain and nourish
this relationship?
— Ask, “If I continue behaving this way, am I likely to grow closer to this person,
I value, or to move further away?”

Step #6: If we continue to receive information that they seem to be upset, or misinterpreting our
meaning, continue to check and adjust our own behaviors.
— Also, continue to affirm the importance of the relationship to you and how much you
want to help it improve.

Step #7: Make sure that you have been acknowledging their interpretation as valid.
— Avoid saying things like, “No. I didn’t mean that that way. Your interpretation is

Step #8: If you find that the conversation is still not going the way you want and you are
running out of energy, or it seems as if they are running out of energy, say
something like:

This relationship really matters to me. I really want us both to be happy.
I would like to keep working on it later because I need a rest now. Could
we talk again in (5 min. – 1 hour)? I don’t want to let too long a time pass
before we work this out to both of our satisfactions and can go away happy

Step #9: Be sure to follow up in a day or two to make sure that the relationship is on
the right track and that communication is accurate and respectful.

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