Classroom Mgt.

Counterwill Causes Stress

Counterwill causes stress, and counterwill is something we all experience at some time in our lives. What is counterwill? Counterwill is the name for the natural human resistance to being controlled.

Adults as well as young people experience counterwill. Perhaps it’s no surprise that counterwill is the most misunderstood and misinterpreted dynamic in child-parent and teacher-student relationships.

This instinctive resistance to force can take many forms:

  • Refusal to do what is asked
  • Reluctance and resistance when being told
  • Disobedience or defiance
  • Lack of motivation to do what the adult desires the young person to do

Counterwill can also manifest itself in procrastination or in doing the opposite of what is expected. It can be expressed as passivity, negativity, oppositional defiance, … >>>


Discipline Questions Answered

More and more people who want to discipline without coercion are learning about the Discipline Without Stress methodology and the Raise Responsibility System every day.

Step 1: TEACHING – (Students learn four levels of development) Being proactive by TEACHING AT THE OUTSET is in contrast to the usual approach of just responding to inappropriate behavior.

Step 2: ASKING – (Checking for Understanding) When a disruption occurs, have the student identify the unacceptable level chosen. Note: A major reason for the success of the system is that by identifying something OUTSIDE of oneself, the deed is separated from the doer. The person is not prompted to self-defend, which is one’s natural and usual approach.

Step 3: ELICITING – (Guided … >>>


Curiosity: A strategy for encouraging students to attend

When I was in high school I had an English teacher who used a very simple strategy to interest and motivate students.  It didn’t take much time or effort on his part and was just a simple thing, but it was enough to get me to want to attend his class every single day.  What did he do?  He simply put up a new thought-provoking quote, in large letters, in the same place, on the same side chalkboard every day.

He never referred to the quote. (I suspect that intuitively he knew that doing so might produce counterwill.) He never asked our opinions or started a discussion and most often the quote was not related in the least to … >>>


A procedure for getting preschoolers to try new foods

A few days ago I was in a restaurant having lunch.  Next to me was a young mom also having lunch, accompanied by her lovely little preschooler.  As their meal was ending, I noticed the mom lift a spoonful of something uneaten from her daughter’s plate and offer it to the little girl––who, with a shake of her curly blond head, declined to eat.  That wasn’t unusual but what the mom said next prompted me to pay a bit more attention.

She said, “Okay, Katie, if you like this can be your “No thank you bite.”  The little girl shook her head no.

No thank you bite?

Huh?  What was she talking about?

Since I’d never heard this expression before, … >>>


My students are messy. How can I get them to clean up?


My class is so messy!  They leave trash everywhere and it takes them forever to clean up after centers, or art time or snack!  How do you get kids to clean up?   They will eventually clean it up because I keep telling them over and over, but I need some ideas!!


I try to approach it in this way in my primary class…

When I ring our chimes to get their attention at a clean up time, I typically make some positive reference to the activity which will directly follow. For instance, I might say….

  • Who’s interested to see what’s been brought for Show and Tell today?
  • Here’s the book we’re going to read today.  I can’t wait
>>> READ MORE >>>

Sharing the Visual Schedule in my primary classroom

The very first step outlined in Dr. Marshall’s Discipline without Stress Teaching Model is classroom management.  He explains on p. 205 of his book, “Students need to be inducted into the organization of the classroom.  The way to do this is to teach procedures.”

Further down on the same page, he continues:

Procedure gives structure, which is especially important for at-risk students.  The label “at-risk” has nothing to do with intelligence.  It simply means that these students are in danger of failing or dropping out of school.  Often the lives of at-risk students are chaotic, and the only part of their lives that is stable is school.  The reason they are in danger is simply because they don’t do … >>>


Teaching Primary students to walk in a line

Recently, I saw a posting on the ProTeacher group, in which a teacher shared a great process for helping young children learn to stay in line while walking.

Firstly the students were taught four procedures for how to walk appropriately in the school:

  1. Stand directly behind the person in front of you.
  2. Face your body forward.
  3. Hands stay down at sides.
  4. We walk quietly in the hall, without talking.

Then the teacher shared an effective and silent procedure that she uses to help students live up to these expectations.  If a problem occurs as they are moving from place to place in the school, she stops the line and wiggles four fingers above her head. The class remains stopped until … >>>


Start-of-School “Procedures Tour”

For the past three years my elementary school has conducted a “School Procedures Tour.”  In the first year we conducted it in the spring––as a response to what teachers felt was some poor behaviour around the school at that time.  Following that, we became more proactive;  we started our school year with our tour.  By planning ahead like this we were able to anticipate possible problems before they happened and then simply created procedures that would avoid the problems altogether.

On the Procedures Tour ,students are introduced to, or reminded of, school procedures and expectations that all teachers hold for all students in four shared areas in the school.  We have about 250 students in our school of … >>>


Procedures to Consider

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT has to do primarily with how things are done to make teaching and learning more efficient and effective.

Procedures should be taught before teaching content. A major mistake so often made is assuming that students know what to do without first teaching procedures.

Chances are that when you walk into a room, you do not pay much attention to the floor. But if it were missing, you would certainly notice the situation. The analogy works for classroom management. You don’t notice it when it is good. However, the lack of it is readily apparent because the teacher spends unnecessary time with discipline problems.

Unless PROCEDURES are explained, practiced, and reinforced, discipline problems will increase.

Following … >>>


Positive Classroom Management

An Interview about Positive Classroom Management
with Larry Ferlazzo

I began a new feature called “Interview of The Month” where I interviewed various people in the education world about whom I wanted to learn more.

This month, my guest is Dr. Marvin Marshall. His ideas on positive classroom management have been a huge influence on my classroom practice. I strongly encourage people to subscribe to his free monthly newsletter, Promoting Responsibility & Learning.

Here’s our interview:

You’ve been advocating for a more positive approach towards classroom management for quite awhile. What got you thinking about it originally, and how would you summarize it in a few sentences?

We now know how the brain operates as it relates to emotions. First … >>>


Curriculum, Instruction, Management, and Discipline

Gain a clear understanding of the differences in
order to pinpoint the cause of a problem.

Curriculum refers to what is taught.

Instruction has two parts: teaching and learning.

A) What the teacher does
It is the teacher’s responsibility to make the curriculum interesting, relevant, meaningful, and/or even fun. Activities that create interest, challenge, inspire creativity or are personal are excellent approaches. A good starting point is for the teacher to ask, “Why am I teaching this?” and then share the reasons with students.

Every lesson should have planned time for reflection in order to enhance understanding, reinforcement, and retention.

B) What students do
Learning that is retained requires active involvement. We remember:

10% of what … >>>


Classroom Management Rules


Rules are meant to control, not to inspire.

Rules are necessary in games. Between people, however, rules result in adversarial relationships because rules require enforcement. In addition, rules are often stated in negative terms and imply an imposed consequence if not followed.

Rules place the teacher in the position of the enforcer, a cop, wearing a blue uniform with copper buttons—rather than that of a teacher, coach, mentor, facilitator of learning, or educator.

Enforcing rules often results in power struggles that rarely result in win-win situations or good relationships. Relying on rules often prompts counterwill (the human tendency to resist coercion) and produces reluctance, resistance, resentment, rebellion, and even retaliation.

Upon analysis, you will see … >>>


Attention Management

A procedure is essential for gaining students’ attention. Much instructional time is lost and teacher stress is increased without some procedure.

A procedure is described below for quickly obtaining students’ attention.

View the visual, Attention Management, and let students know that this is the procedure you will use to get their attention. Raise a hand showing “give me five” (two eyes on the teacher, two ears listening, and one mouth closed). (The visual is on page 97 of the Resource Guide.)

Explain that you will continue teaching when ALL hands are raised. If someone has not raised a hand, it is the students’ responsibility to prompt that person to follow the procedure.

Second, when you … >>>


Rules vs. procedures – Isn’t this just a matter of semantics?


I usually involve the students in the creation of classroom rules.  To me, we are just agreeing upon how we can make our classroom a safe and fun place to be. I don’t know if it’s really so different from a Discipline without Stress approach of having procedures, but “no rules.”  Isn’t this just a matter of semantics?


My teaching partner and I used to have “classroom rules” and like you, we routinely planned a time for kids to create the rules on the first day of school. In my experience this approach produced a different type of thinking within my own mind than the mindset created when I started to experiment with “procedures” rather than rules.  For … >>>


Important information to consider when planning/teaching procedures.

In his book, The First Days of School; How to Be an Effective Teacher, classroom management guru, Harry Wong, quotes research conducted by Madeline Hunter.  He asks us to consider the following information:

  • For a child to learn something new, you need to repeat it on the average 8 times.
  • For a child to unlearn an old behavior and replace it with a new behavior, you need to repeat the new behavior on the average  28 times.
  • 20 of those times are used to eliminate the old behavior and 8 of the times are used to learn the new behavior.

The implication of this information is enormous:

There is great value in thinking out your classroom procedures carefully before … >>>


How can procedures be used when students misbehave?


I’m trying to get a handle on this whole concept of guided choices and procedures.  I guess I don’t really understand what a procedure is or how you would use a procedure when a student is misbehaving.  Can you give me an example?


Teaching procedures is teaching expectations.

Here is an example:

Rather than punishing students for walking down the hallway and talking without permission (against directions), students can be asked for suggestions.  The question can be put to them, “What can you do if you have the urge to talk?”

A student might volunteer, “Tell yourself not to talk.”  The teacher can respond that this is a good plan but will not produce success unless … >>>


Using the Discipline without Stress Impulse Poster

First posted on the site. Permission was  granted from the author to re-post here:

6th and 7th graders are very impulsive creatures — they have been taught to be impulsive by adults. Don’t believe it? Just go to a teacher training session and observe how the teachers behave while the speakers are presenting!  As a society we have become more impulsive, less respectful and less willing to listen to others.  Just watch the adults, who come, presumably, to watch a student performance at school; they often talk right through it!

So, I guess my point is that until students are taught and learn self control, are disciplinary consequences really the answer? Is giving them Detention Hall going to … >>>


Using Discipline without Stress in Preschool with Students Who Have Special Needs

Posted by Teri Gibson, a member of the Discipline without Stress mailring.

I have just begun using DWS this year with my 4 yr. old special needs preschool classes.  I absolutely love it.  No, my class is not perfect. No, DWS does not solve all behavior problems.  What it does is this: For the first time, I am able to “reward” my kids that are being good, while helping the kids that are not!   It makes me view everything as a teachable moment, rather than a child’s attempt to undermine.  I love the way it stresses the positive and actually encourages me to pay more attention to the children who are doing the right thing.  I still have much … >>>