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Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

General Questions

Do “enforceable statements” fit with Discipline without Stress?


I was thinking today about the “enforceable statements” that Love and Logic is big on using.  At first, I was thinking that I might use their statements in my Discipline without Stress teaching but now I’m wondering.  I’d like another opinion on the subject.

In the Love and Logic program, instead of making rules for your students, you only tell them what YOU, the adult will do.  The thinking behind this is that the only person you ever really have control over is yourself.

I can see how some enforceable statements could be used with Discipline without Stress if they fall into the category of procedures. For example, things like :

  • “Ooops, I listen to kids who
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An online explanation of Discipline without Stress

Dr. Marshall recently brought teacher attention to a youtube lecture highlighting the third part of his Discipline without Stress Teaching ModelThe Raise Responsibility System.

As many university instructors do these days, Joe Jerles posted this classroom management lecture online so that his own students could access his teaching easily and repeatedly for study purposes.

Jerles is teaching from the textbook, Effective Classroom Management by Carlette Jackson Hardin.  Chapter 9 of the book deals specifically with Dr. Marshall’s Discipline without Stress approach.

Joe Jerles’ youtube presentation may be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about the Discipline without Stress approach.

Dr. Marshall points out a few things to notice while viewing the video:

  • Even kindergarten students
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Can I use DWS with Grade 5’s?

Do you feel I can implement this successfully with 5th graders or is it geared more to the lower grades?


DWS is very effective with grade fives!

Dr. Marshall first developed this approach for middle and high school students. It’s since been adapted for use with younger students in intermediate and primary grades––although the only real adaptations are in terms of vocabulary.  At every grade level the teacher explains the same four levels, but chooses words that are suited to the age and ability of their particular students.

Choosing appropriate vocabulary to explain DWS concepts would be much like what teachers would naturally do when students learn about any new or challenging topic.  For instance, students … >>>


Help! I’m expected to post rules, consequences and rewards!


I have a problem.  My entire school district has been requested to update our classroom discipline plans for review by the new superintendent before the end of August.  My principal knows how I feel about the punitive discipline approach used across our district.  Last year he allowed me leeway––I didn’t have to post rules, consequences, rewards. However, with this latest pressure, he told me that I will have to comply with the new superintendent’s wishes.  I am wondering if there’s any way of making DWS “look” like a conventional discipline plan without “being” a conventional plan!


Well, it’s tough to take two opposite approaches and make one look like the other, BUT––survival seems key … >>>


Is giving grades discouraged in this discipline system?


I am very new to the Discipline without Stress mailring. I’ll be a 2nd year teacher this coming school year and will be implementing this system in my classroom. I did have a concern about grades. Would you please review Dr. Marshall’s views on grades and how they are related to competition? If he discourages grades, how would a teacher handle that in his/her classroom, given the requirements for grades and report cards, etc. from the school administration and parents?


Dr. Marshall has never suggested that academic grades not be given. Grading is a mandatory part of our teaching job.

He does point out that competition is counterproductive when it comes to learning.

For further information, here … >>>


Is it possible to use both Discipline without Stress AND tallies?


I have often been tempted to order the Discipline without Stress book. What has held me back is my school’s requirement that we use the same discipline plan throughout the department (in my case, 4th through 6th grades.)

The department has the same rules:  (1) Be respectful (2) Be obedient (3) Be honest (4) Be responsible.After the usual warning, if any rule is violated, a tally is given to the student. The number of tallies for the week determines the child’s behavior grade.  A behavior grade must be given each week.

Here is my question:  Is it feasible to use both this discipline plan and the DWS method or would it be too cumbersome/confusing? The one is mandatory >>>


Are the level letters confusing to students?


I was wondering if the behavior standards listed by Marshall (A = anarchy, etc.) are confusing 
to students. When we give them behavior grades, we say “A” is the best. I want to put up 
the Hierarchy chart as described in the book, but I wondered if it was going to confuse the kids.


The symbols “ABCD” have no particular meaning in and of themselves, it’s only in context that these symbols hold particular meanings.

For example, in a multiple choice question, A,B,C,D identify four possible answers.

In First Aid situations, ABC refers to Check AIRWAYS, Check BREATHING, Check CIRCULATION.

When discussing “patterning” as a concept in math, ABCD might refer to a pattern of four repeating shapes … >>>


I’m a bit put off by the “reverse A-D system.”

I teach Marvin Marshall’s Discipline without Stress levels but I’m a bit put off by 
the “reverse A-D system.” D being the best goes so opposite to how we usually think of grades or levels.

Although it’s true that school letter grades and the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy levels are arranged in opposite orders, at my K-6 school we have never experienced any 
confusion with this. I think that’s because we purposely 
do everything we can to keep grades separate from discussion of the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy. The 
two are not connected. Certainly, both provide tools of evaluation, but one is a 
tool of EXternal evaluation and one is a tool of INternal evaluation.

The Hierarchy is … >>>


Most of my students have serious behavior problems.

Most of my students have serious behavior problems and disorders. Many days I have had desks thrown at me and have had students try to hit me. To be totally honest, I don’t see how I could use a loving internal discipline system that asks students to just THINK about what they are doing. I am, however, open to suggestions. Any thoughts on how to get an internal system such as Discipline without Stress to work in a very harsh environment?

Sometimes people who are new to Discipline without Stress form the mistaken impression that Dr. Marshall is suggesting that young people should have the choice to decide that they can behave in any way they want. This … >>>


How can I get all my students to Level D?

I’ve been using Discipline without Stress for a few months now and my students seem to understand about the four levels of behavior. Generally their behavior is acceptable, but they aren’t operating on Level D all the time yet. What can I do about this?

Surprising as it might seem, having all students operate on Level D is not the goal for the teacher in this discipline system. Although the world would certainly be a better place if everyone chose to operate at Level D, it’s probably not realistic to expect that students will be able to reach that high level of conduct on a consistent basis. Rather, the teacher’s goal is to have all students operating at … >>>


I have some parents who don’t like that “D” behavior is better than “A.”

I have some parents who don’t like that “D” behavior is better behavior than “A” when it comes to talking about discipline.  My students get letter grades for conduct and a few parents have a difficult time with D being good in the classroom but not on the report card. Can you help me with this?

This is a common question and a natural assumption, yet the assumption that students get confused is very often not an accurate one. The proof would be to ask the students.

Much of our language–and much of what we do in life–depends on context. Here are some examples:

• When do we use “to” or “too” or “two”? It … >>>


I’m not sure that this discipline approach is “simple to implement!”

I’ve heard you describe the Discipline without Stress approach as “simple-to-implement.” I personally find that it takes continuous effort when I’m teaching to deal with classroom management and at the same remember to be positive, offer choices, and ask reflective questions. I wonder if others find the implementation of this discipline approach to be simple?

SIMPLE does not mean EASY – at first.

Learning how to drive an automobile is SIMPLE, but it only becomes EASY after you have driven for awhile.

This discipline approach is simple in that there are ONLY four parts to the Teaching Model–not a dozen or so. The third part, The Raise Responsibility System which is used to deal with classroom … >>>


Can Discipline without Stress be used with young children?

Can this discipline system really be used with young children in Kindergarten and First Grade? It seems as if it would be above their heads.

I’ve met a number of people, both in person and on the Internet, who express concern that the concepts of Discipline without Stress are too sophisticated to be of value to young children. Today, on the second day of a new school year, I had an interesting discussion with a six-year-old that proves to me once again that even young children can benefit greatly from exposure to the thinking of this discipline approach. The basic understandings are accessible to students of all ages.

Most years, by the second day of school we’re … >>>


I am trying to use Discipline without Stress but my students will not listen to me!

I have recently taken over a classroom, as a substitute for three weeks. The teacher of this classroom has been on leave for some time and the students have had many temporary teachers. I feel that I am using all the correct educational practices but the discipline problems in this class are extensive. I am trying to use Discipline without Stress, but no matter what I do, these students will not listen to me very much. What is the problem?

The problem is the history of the class–you are one of their many teachers. They have had no stability, no structure and what’s more, they know that you are not their regular teacher. They know that … >>>


How does this discipline system reduce stress?

None of the three phases of this discipline approach–teaching, asking, or eliciting–prompts stress on the part of the teacher (or the student).

When a student misbehaves, the USUAL discipline approach is to tell, threaten, and/or punish. Each of these approaches is coercive and often results in some resistance. When a student does not obey, stress and aggravation escalate.

Discipline without Stress is proactive in that four levels of social development are TAUGHT. This automatically sets the teacher up to use simple cognitive learning theory: teaching (first phase) and then checking for understanding (second phase).

Reference is always made to the LEVEL of social development, not the student. This automatically separates the act from the actor–the deed from the doer–thereby … >>>

Dr. Marvin (Marv) Marshall
Phone: 714.220.1882
PO Box 11 Los Alamitos, CA 90720
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