Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

Motivating Students

PBIS Another Educational Folly

Behavior Modification or behaviorism in the form of PBIS is widely used in schools and homes.

In fact, this approach of catching kids dong what the teacher wants and then giving rewards to reinforce the behavior is still mandated by state school administrators around the country.

Ask any teacher who has implemented this external approach in the form of PBIS (Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports) to promote responsible behavior and you will hear that, after using this approach for any length of time, it becomes counterproductive. PBIS fails in a number of ways for promoting expected appropriate behavior:

• PBIS is unfair because it is IMPOSSIBLE to reward every student for everything the adult desires.

• Adults are not consistent … >>>

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How to Foster Initiative in Students

Recently a teacher asked me, “Can we really expect ALL children (even kindergartners) to understand and abide by the Discipline Without Stress’ 4 levels of behavior without ANY rewards?”

Here is my reply:

YES, but you start by differentiating between ACCEPTABLE levels and UNACCEPTABLE levels. See the posters and cards at https://WithoutStress.com/Shop.

Also (and this is critical), be sure you have taught, practiced, and practiced again EVERYTHING you want your students to do. A MAJOR ERROR EVEN EXPERIENCED TEACHERS MAKE is ASSUMING that students, of any age, know what to do without first learning, practicing, and ritualizing the procedure or skill.

Once STUDENTS (especially young ones) HAVE LEARNED what YOU want them to do, they will want to do … >>>

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A study about choice and personal responsibility

I’ve just enjoyed reading an excellent thought-provoking book published in 2013, titled Mind over Medicine, written by Lissa Rankin MD.

In one section of the book, Dr. Rankin shares an experiment conducted by social scientists.  They were curious about whether or not learned helplessness in senior citizens could be counteracted by increasing their feelings of control, choice and personal responsibility.  Because of my familiarity with using these same principles in my teaching by employing Dr. Marshall’s Discipline without Stress approach, my ears perked up!

On page 130 of the book, Dr. Rankin explained:

Researchers working with residents of a nursing home designed a study to evaluate the physical health of residents in response to positive changes made in the >>>

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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 … >>>

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

Question:

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!!

Response:

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
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Do you think I did the right thing?

QUESTION:

I am an art teacher at an elementary school. I have three 4th grade classes that are usually difficult to manage. I have recently asked a guest artist to come and do a Jackson Pollock lesson with them. She is supplying all the paint and canvases for this lesson, except one. I also have one very large (6 X 8) canvas that only one class will get to paint. The other two classes will have to work on smaller individual canvases. This lesson requires the students to be on their best behavior and be good listeners as we will be “splatter” painting. I told the classes they could “earn” the big canvas.  I said that the class with the … >>>

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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 … >>>
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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 … >>>

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Nurturing Good Intentions

A few years ago, I posted some ideas regarding good intentions that Darlene and I had learned in our workshops with Dr. Gordon Neufeld, a well-known Canadian developmental psychologist. Gordon’s ideas about attachments and relationships are quite unique and extremely helpful to anyone interested in using DWS.

Here’s the gist of his ideas regarding good intentions:

As adults we should actively look for times when a child is displaying or expressing good intentions––and then we should nurture those intentions.  Despite the fact that the young person may NOT be able to carry out their good intentions, and that the situation may actually turn out negatively in some sense, we can applaud their initial desire to do the … >>>

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Are all class incentives discouraged in this discipline approach?

QUESTION:

I’m new to Discipline without Stress so bear with me.  I’m wondering if whole-class incentives for staying on Level C or D is appropriate.  For instance, if the whole class can stay on Level C or D for a certain amount of time, then could there be some sort of reward like a movie, free time or Preferred Activity Time?  Does this completely fly in the face of Discipline without Stress?  Are all incentives discouraged?

RESPONSE:

I can only speak for myself but here are several reasons why I, personally have decided not to offer incentives in my teaching:

1)  The basis of the Discipline without Stress program is that it’s counterproductive to reward expected behaviors.

2)  Once an … >>>

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Rewards change motivation

I was talking with a friend yesterday who told me the following story.

Recently she had been chatting with a man who coaches soccer teams of 8 and 9 year olds. He mentioned that this year he’d had a lot of difficulty in getting his players to work together as a team.

My friend, an experienced teacher, started to offer some suggestions; she knew of many activities that might encourage teamwork.  But the man quickly stopped her.

“Oh, you don’t understand,” he said.  “It’s not the kids who are the problem––it’s the parents!  The parents have all promised their children that they’ll get two dollars every time they score a goal. The kids are so intent on getting … >>>

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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

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A not-so-typical Awards Ceremony

Every once in a while, the subject of school awards comes up on the DWS mailring.  Usually the person is concerned that their school requires teachers to present student awards.  The concern is that this thinking doesn’t mesh well with the philosophy of someone wanting to foster internal motivation.

On another mailring recently, I read a post from a teacher whose school gives awards to every child in the school––but in quite a different way than most do.  I asked her permission to reprint the idea here.  I thought it might interest those looking for genuine ways to acknowledge children, without the typical problems associated with awards (as we usually think of them.)

Here’s her post:… >>>

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How can I let those Level D “wonders” know they are wonderful?

QUESTION:

I have 5 kids in my second grade class who take most of my attention because of their misbehavior.  I feel so badly for the other students who are on task and listening, because honestly, they don’t get very much of my attention.  I try to point out what Level D looks like and give these great students more freedom but still I don’t feel that’s enough.  How can let these wonders know that they are being wonderful?

RESPONSE:

We often had discussions about this on my staff years ago.  Some of us were starting to feel uncomfortable with rewards, awards and trophies etc.,  but our principal at the time felt that the “good kids never got anything.” He … >>>

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Isn’t an adult paycheck the same thing as a reward?

QUESTION:

What is a good response to people who argue that extrinsic rewards are okay for students because they’re just the same as an adult getting a paycheck at the end of the week?  When people say this, I cringe.  I know it’s not the same, but I don’t know how to argue the point intelligently.

DR. MARSHALL’S RESPONSE:

Here is what to say:

Employment is a social contract.  A person provides some service for remuneration. The only thing a fee for service has in common with rewards (as acknowledgments or as incentives) is that they both MAY involve legal tender.

When was the last time you looked at your paycheck and thanked your employer for the reward?>>>

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10-15 students are arriving late – every day!

QUESTION:
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.

DR. MARSHALL’S RESPONSE:
A class meeting is a good start for the students.

But the problem … >>>

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Dr. Marvin Marshall
P.O. Box 2227
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Phone: 714.220.1882
marv@marvinmarshall.com
Piper Press
P.O. Box 2227
Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Phone: 559.805.1389
order@piperpress.com