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Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

Improving Academics

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 … >>>


Competition in Medical School

Just yesterday I sat listening, mouth wide open, as my dentist and his assistant chatted and worked on my teeth.  At one point their conversation turned to family and they updated each other on the lives of their respective children.  The dental assistant asked how the dentist’s son, a first year of Med student, was doing.  Since the boy had always been a good student, she wondered if he was still getting good grades.  The dentist said, “I really don’t know.  They don’t give grades anymore.  The only mark Med students receive is Pass or Fail.”

When she expressed surprise, he went on to explain further.  He said that things were much different now than when he himself had attended … >>>

Extending the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy into Learning

Gradually, as I experienced continued success with using Dr. Marshall’s Discipline without Stress approach to help students develop self-discipline and a sense of responsibility, I realized that there was enormous potential and value in using his Hierarchy of Social Development to inspire young people in all areas of their lives.

One day I decided to have a discussion with my grade one students about how they could use their understanding of the four levels to help themselves become better readers. We talked about the “Whole School Read” session in which we participate each morning. I asked the youngsters to describe hypothetical behaviors of students operating at each of the levels during this daily reading time.

Using their own words,they were … >>>


Making learning an option – The “Principle of Choice” at work!

After first reading Marv’s DWS book more than ten years ago, I started to become conscious of the importance of deliberately planning for “choice” in my teaching.   Certainly, as I took on a job at a local Alternate High School six years ago––working one-on-one with sullen, illiterate and often, ashamed teenagers––providing choice was a major consideration in any lesson.  There, the first choice always offered was simply “Would you be interested in a reading lesson today?”  Darlene, my teaching partner, and I quickly (and painfully) learned that without at least some tiny initial buy-in from these students, we were going nowhere fast––and it wasn’t gonna to be pretty!

Now this year, back in Kindergarten


10-15 students are arriving late – every day!

I am currently in a situation where I am the permanent teacher, taking the place of another teacher. I have been in this position for about 3 weeks now, and I have noticed that many students arrive late every day. Not just one or two but 10-15 students are arriving late to my class! Are there any positive solutions that I could implement right away to alleviate the problem? I am going to hold a class meeting this Monday to ask them how we can solve the problem.  Please help me! I need some guidance and direction in order to alleviate the matter.

A class meeting is a good start for the students.

But the problem … >>>


Without rewards, how can I encourage neat work habits?



I don’t want to use stickers to motivate my primary students to print more neatly.  Any suggestions to encourage them to take more care with their school work?


Here are some things that my teaching partner and I do in order to help build neat work habits over time:

1.  We talk a lot about neatness.  I’m a great believer in the idea that whatever you put your focus upon will increase!

2.  We talk proactively.  In other words, before a  lesson begins we discuss what a great job would look like.  This helps the kids who really have no idea of what a good job looks like and it helps the other kids who might not … >>>


Some “evidence” that Discipline without Stress really gets kids thinking!

This week I had a neat experience while teaching a grade 7 student at my newest job at the middle school. I just thought I’d share.

For those who don’t know me, I have three teaching positions, all of which are shared with the same partner. Darlene and I share a grade 1 classroom, each working one end of the week, and on our other days we share two literacy positions, working with individual students at an alternate high school and a regular middle school. It’s hectic but we love it!  At our high school and middle school jobs, we work with a great range of students, some struggling with courses like English 10, but most with much lower skill … >>>


How can I motivate my students to take care in their schoolwork?


I am a high school Social Studies teacher.As a teacher of a content area, I don’t penalize my students for spelling errors on their assignments as an English teacher would, but at the same time, I don’t want to give them the impression that spelling isn’t important. I’m not having much success. Once the students know that no marks will be taken off for errors, they seem to get even sloppier with their spelling!Do you have any suggestions for how I might use Discipline without Stress to motivate students in this academic situation?


One reason that I enjoy using the Discipline without Stress approach in my own teaching is that I find that the Hierarchy makes it easy >>>


I want to encourage some very low students.


I work with very low math students. 
Part of my plan for next year is to convince them that
 things can be different. I want to convince them that they can find
 success and not be so frustrated! The worst behavior cases seem
 to be the kids that have given up.
 But then I worry! Maybe I shouldn’t try to convince them that
 they can succeed. What if I’m just setting them up for disappointment? What if they don’t realize that they will have
 to TRY in order for that to happen? I doubt myself constantly.
 Any suggestions?


I think you’re absolutely on the right track!

Convincing your students that putting in 
effort is a worthwhile thing to … >>>


Is Discipline without Stress ever implemented in high school?


Does anyone know if Discipline without Stress is ever implemented in high school? I teach high school Leadership classes and I think high schoolers need these things even more immediately than little ones. The real world is going to require self-discipline of them, real soon! Raising their responsibility is exactly what high school kids need. Most of the discussions I hear about the system seemed aimed at younger children, though presumably they should be applicable to older students as well. I would like any tips, or even encouragement for using this discipline approach in high school.


Discipline without Stress was developed when the author, Dr. Marvin Marshall, was teaching in a high school setting. It’s been adapted for >>>


How can I make the Discipline without Stress levels meaningful to students?


I am still waiting for my Discipline without Stress book to arrive, but this morning I introduced the system to my class anyway. Even though it’s almost the end of the year, I have such big behavior problems that I decided I had nothing to lose and everything to gain! However, I must have done something wrong because the very students who need this system most, were the ones who didn’t pay attention to the discussion and mocked the levels right from the very start. Any suggestions for making this system real to kids who don’t pay much attention to things like this?


Here is an example of just one small discussion I have had with my own >>>


How can I motivate students to take more interest in their own learning?

One thing that I love about Marvin Marshall’s approach is that the results go beyond what all other discipline approaches offer.  As you inquired about, teachers can easily use Discipline without Stress to inspire students to put effort into their own learning.  I use it all the time for this purpose myself.

Here’s just one example.

Let’s say that you arrange for a guest speaker whose topic relates to some aspect of the course you are teaching. Firstly, it would be proactive to discuss how audience members should behave when a guest is addressing the class; a wise teacher would go over Level C expectations. Remember, in this approach it is the teacher’s expectation that all students operate at >>>


Using the Discipline without Stress Principle of Reflection to improve spelling.

Through our use of the Discipline without Stress approach, my teaching partner and I have come to understand that positive changes in behavior are more likely to occur when we prompt students to think about how they choose to operate in their lives. More and more often, we now practice the Discipline without Stress Principle of Reflection–not only in behavior and discipline situations, but in academics too.

Dr. Marshall’s Hierarchy of Social Development is a wonderful tool for encouraging students to look honestly at choices in all areas of their lives. With an understanding of choice-response thinking, young people become aware that a conscious choice to operate at the higher levels is always an option—an option that results in powerful … >>>


How do I deal with a lack of student interest?

I am returning to teaching after a 30-year absence and find that discipline is once again my biggest challenge. Among other negative behaviors, lack of interest seems prevalent. Do you have any suggestions?

Let students know that if they decide not to learn, that is their decision. You will not even attempt to force learning; it can’t be done. But at the same time, you will not allow any student to disrupt another person’s learning.

In this mini-lecture, let your students know that no one suffers from their lack of learning but themselves. If they decide to put forth the effort, they will be better off, more satisfied, become more knowledgeable, and more pleased with themselves.… >>>

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