McGregor’s Theory Influences Student Learning


Li Chen, Staff

Do you ever wonder why all your teachers teach differently? Well you might not know it, but most likely it’s because of the book published in 1960 about human behavior and motivation. The McGregor Theory X and Theory Y was developed in 1960 for the world of business and has been widespread ever since then.  

Classroom management is an important skill teacher need for a successful career so they can keep the classroom in peace while teaching. Douglass McGregor, the man who created the theory, was a management professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He was known best for coming up with Theory X and Theory Y, theories of Human Work Motivation and Management.  

This theory can be applied towards learning in high school because certain teachers have different styles of teaching which can affect how students learn in that class. Theory X is when the supervisors, or in this situation the teachers, are like an authoritarian. The teachers are almost always involved with the students to make sure they get their work done and aren’t off task.  

Students see this in their classes all of the time. 

“My teachers tell us the consequence of not getting our work done in class and monitor us constantly by walking around the class, checking up on what if we’re on task,” sophomore Shawn Thomas stated. 

Theory Y, however, is more about using a collaborative learning style where the teachers have an optimistic opinion about their students. Some teachers seem to prefer this mode of instruction. 

“I prefer Theory Y of teaching because it gives me more freedom which means more creativity,” sophomore Eldred Boria stated. “My teachers all have different teaching style which can be good and bad at times.” 

Every student learns better with different styles of teaching, and this is when McGregor’s theory of management is important to learning in school because the teachers will need to make lessons in a way to help everyone understand the concept.  

“I like when the teacher has an open conversation where they can teach and interact with the students at the same time,” sophomore Payton Crandell-Kron expressed. “This way if we don’t understand a concept our questions could be answered before we move on to the next topic.” 

Although designed for the business world, McGregor’s theory of management is found in high school teaching.  All teachers normally have classroom rules and guideline that they come up with and tell the students on the first day of that class. 

“Most teachers hold an authority role, but some give you more freedom if they think you’re capable of it. The teachers have total control over the lessons even if the students think they know already,” said sophomore Israel Mendes.