Understanding The Hierarchy

Should I put the kids’ names on the Levels of Development with clothespegs?


I’d like to put my student’s names on clothespegs and then move them to different Levels of Development chart if they misbehave or do something at a high level?  Does this fit with the Discipline Without Stress approach?


Although it might seem as if clothepegs on the Levels of Development chart create a concrete visual to help remind children that they always have choices with regard to their level of operation, putting student names on the Levels of Development would not be compatible with the Discipline Without Stress philosophy.

Here are some reasons why I personally wouldn’t choose to attach student names to the levels:

  • It’s not possible for any person to judge the motivational level of another.  
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How do students benefit from operating on Level C or D?

Dr. Marshall says that we should teach students that in this system of discipline, operation on Levels A and B “automatically invites the use of authority” by the teacher. My students understand that continued operation on the lower levels will result in the use of authority. They see this as a good reason for raising the level of their behavior to something higher.

Now I’m wondering: Is there anything that “automatically” accompanies behavior on Levels C and D?

Yes! Firstly, it should be understood that operation on any one of the four levels of the Hierarchy is accompanied by logical and predictable results related to:

• self-esteem and;
• the quality of relationships that are created with authority … >>>


What level is an accident?

What if a child trips and accidentally hurts another student? Is this Level A behavior according to the RRSystem of discipline?

When teaching the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy, it is important to ensure that students understand that with regard to Level A, we are discussing deliberate actions that result in damage or injury, not accidents. Accidents are unrelated to discipline.… >>>


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 >>>


I’ve come up with my own names for the levels of development


Although I use Marshall’s Levels of Development, I’m a bit put off by 
the “reverse A-D system,” with D being the best. It goes opposite to how we typically think of grades or levels.

I’ve finally come up with my own labels. I think they have the
same meaning but in reverse order.
 Any comments?

Lowest Level D = Deliberate misbehavior
Level C = Can’t control self
Level B = Behaves for rewards
Highest Level A = Automatic self-control


As you implied, the key to success with this approach lies in conveying the understandings of the concepts at each level. The specific name attached to each level is not as important as the concepts that describe and … >>>


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 >>>


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 … >>>


I need concrete examples of each level of this discipline system.

I am confused about the specifics of the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy. I need concrete examples of behaviors for each level so that I can correctly explain them to my students.

Below are some examples of behaviors on each of the four levels as well as the most important understandings to convey to your students.

Level A – Anarchy
• displaying out-of-control behavior of any type
• showing a complete lack of concern for the feelings of others
• destroying or vandalizing property intentionally
• stealing
• putting oneself or others in danger

Behavior on this lowest level is always unacceptable. Students should understand that by choosing to act on Level A, they are automatically inviting the use … >>>


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 … >>>