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 … >>> “A study about choice and personal responsibility”READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> “Curiosity: A strategy for encouraging students to attend”READ MORE >>> →
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
… >>> “My students are messy. How can I get them to clean up?”READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> “Extending the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy into Learning”READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> “Nurturing Good Intentions”READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> “10-15 students are arriving late – every day!”READ MORE >>> →
Last week I spent an evening with Teresa, an old friend of mine who just happens to be a fabulous grade six teacher at a nearby school. As it always does, our talk eventually turned to two of our favorite subjects––teaching and whatever good books we’ve read lately!
One thing I always admire about this friend is her ability to take an idea and run with it in the classroom. She inspires, elevates and motivates her students! Teresa often bases interesting lessons for her grade sixes on some little item she’s found in the newspaper, something she’s heard on a radio talk show or something that comes from a good book she is reading herself. She has a … >>> “Intermediate/High School – Goal Setting and “The Last Lecture””READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> “Without rewards, how can I encourage neat work habits?”READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> “Some “evidence” that Discipline without Stress really gets kids thinking!”READ MORE >>> →
Throughout this summer, I’ve been emailing back and forth with one teacher in my province who wants to learn how the reading program my partner and I have developed, works in our grade one classroom. She is also quite interested in a program our K-6 school has instituted called “The Whole School Read,” in which every class reads for the first 30 minutes of the day and parents are encouraged to join us as helpers.
She recently asked me the question posted below and I share my response here because it includes an explanation of how this discipline approach can be used to help children take responsibility for their own behavior by understanding the concept of Choice-Response Thinking. In … >>> “Using DWS to deal with younger siblings visiting in the classroom”READ MORE >>> →
I have a 3rd grade student who is demonstrating increasingly
disruptive behaviors. I have all kinds
of support with him – my principal, school counselor,
behavioral specialist – we’re all involved, every day. This boy can work elsewhere when he can’t manage in the classroom. My question is this: How do I
teach the other students that it’s better for them to
ignore this student’s behavior than to be an audience or worse yet, play along? I need some “choice
words” to really explain it and underscore the importance of this.
They did a great job today and I complimented
them on doing so after the student had been removed from the room. A couple of them asked me … >>> “How do I teach students to ignore a misbehaving classmate?”READ MORE >>> →
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 make the Discipline without Stress levels meaningful to students?”READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>> “Using the Discipline without Stress Principle of Reflection to improve spelling.”READ MORE >>> →