One of the key concepts of the Discipline Without Stress book and approach is to ask reflective questions. Always remember, though, that “why” questions are not reflective and often will not curb the discipline problem you are trying to correct.
So, what’s wrong with “why” questions, especially when trying to discipline a youngster? “Why” questions have an accusatory overtone. They also block communications because such questions prompt negative feelings.
Let’s prove the point. Say the following question out loud so you can hear yourself:
“Why are you doing that?”
Notice that when you asked this question, your voice pitch rose higher and your volume increased. Also, notice the effect on your emotions when you asked this “Why?” question.
Now, say … >>>READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>>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
… >>>READ MORE >>> →
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 … >>>READ MORE >>> →
Reflection is a powerful teaching and learning strategy that parents and teachers often overlook. The key to reflection is the skill of asking youngsters self-evaluative questions. Here are a few examples:
- Are you angry at me or at the situation?
- Does what you are doing help you get your work done?
- What would an extraordinary person do in this situation?
- Are you willing to try something different if it would help you?
Unfortunately, most parents and teachers ask ineffective questions such as, “Why are you doing that?” This is a pothole question. First, most people cannot articulate their motivation and second, the youngster may answer, “Because I have ADD.” Better never to ask a child a “Why?” question regarding behavior! … >>>READ MORE >>> →
Like many of my Kindergarten students, I’m concerned about Damian because he doesn’t have an adequate vocabulary or many expressive oral language skills. His articulation when speaking is also extremely poor; he’s missing a very large number of top teeth (as a result of years of excessive sugar in his diet.) I’ve noticed that when he can’t find or clearly say the words he needs to communicate, he resorts to hitting or kicking to get his points across. In fact, after just a week in school, we had to make alternate arrangements for him at lunch playtime so that his opportunities for getting into trouble would be fewer. Damian now goes to the Resource Room for supervised play time and … >>>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 … >>>READ MORE >>> →
I think I work with the most masterful and quick-witted teacher alive! Here’s just one very small example of how Darlene took a negative situation (partly created by me!) and instantly found the positive kernel inside that could make a child feel encouraged and hopeful.
For the month of June Darlene and I decided to work with our grade one class to create a musical circus performance for our school. We knew it was a crazy time of year to do a major production but earlier in the year we’d promised the kids that we would make a circus in May. When various school-wide plans interfered with that timing, we felt we had to keep our promise and do the … >>>READ MORE >>> →
Recently I surfed into a parenting blog.
It featured the following quote that spoke of an ancient form of what I would call “discipline positivity!”
In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused. Then each person in the tribe, regardless of age, begins to talk out loud to the accused, one at a time, about all the good things he has done in his lifetime. Every incident that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy is recounted. All his positive attributes, … >>>READ MORE >>> →
What is the best way to explain to children the difference between internal and external motivation––in other words, the difference between DWS Levels C and D? I am having trouble with this.
Initially I use very concrete examples connected directly to the classroom.
I describe Level C as the level where students do the right thing––what’s expected of them by the teacher––because the teacher is clearly expecting them to do it.
Some simple examples:
- The student will pick up toys off the floor when they are asked.
- The student will walk quietly in the hallway when a teacher is supervising.
- The student will clean up a mess he/she has made when
… >>>READ MORE >>> →
The following story was shared by teacher, Marie Swift, regarding the power of using the three DWS Principles; Positivity, Choice and Reflection.
I would like to share a situation that happened recently in my Grade One class. I have been using DWS for a few years now I firmly believe that we have to approach behavior issues as learning opportunities. Although I must admit that sometimes it is difficult for me to remain focused on using positivity, choice and reflection in all situations, here’s the growth one child experienced in my class as a result:
All of my students were sitting with me at the carpet working on a math lesson recently. After sending them back to continue the … >>>READ MORE >>> →
Just a Small Sample from the Resource Guide
Are you willing to try something different if it would help you?
How would you like things to be? (Meaning: What do you want?)
Does it feel as if we’re moving forward here, or does it feel as if we’re stuck?
What would you have to do if you wanted to move forward in this situation?
AFTER SOMEONE HAS ACKNOWLEDGED LEVEL B BEHAVIOR:
Do you want to be in charge of you or have someone else be in charge of you?
Do you want me to be a Level B teacher?
What would a Level B teacher probably do now?
Effective and ineffective question are on pages 53 – 58 of the … >>>READ MORE >>> →
One day last February we learned that a new boy would be joining our grade one class. In an effort to be proactive, my teaching partner, Darlene, planned a class meeting the day before he arrived. She wanted to encourage the students to welcome the new child and she also hoped to avoid a situation with which we’ve had some difficulty in the past.
In previous years when we’ve had a new addition to our class, we’ve sometimes experienced the following problem: If the new youngster starts to feel anxious and begins to cling to Mom when it’s time for her to leave, we’ve been surprised to see that there have always been one or two other kids in the … >>>READ MORE >>> →
Sherry, a fabulous grade six teacher at my school, mentioned to me one day that when she sees a child operating on Level B in her classroom, she uses the opportunity to do some role-playing. After she has asked the student to assess the level of their own behavior (and they can accurately assess it as Level B,) she says very respectfully to the child, “Now, would you like an opportunity to try this again––operating at a higher level?”
This week I tried using Sherry’s idea in my grade one classroom. Here’s one example:
Two boys sat down on the carpet near each other as we were getting ready to read a story. The boys weren’t right beside … >>>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 … >>>READ MORE >>> →
I want to make an banner for my room. Do you have a good quote that would encourage students to make good choices?
DR. MARSHALL’S RESPONSE:
Here’s one I used in my classes:
Responsibility finds a way.
Irresponsibility finds excuses.
… >>>READ MORE >>> →
In our second year of working with Discipline without Stress my teaching partner and I had a student with special needs. Chronologically he was old enough to be in grade three but emotionally and cognitively, grade one was a much better placement for him. Here is one experience with this boy that taught me a lot!
This past Monday morning when it was time to go to the gym for our regular Monday morning assembly, Casey had a photograph that a parent must have given him outside; likely it was a snapshot of a birthday party that he had attended recently. Being focused on the urgency I felt about getting to the assembly on time, I didn’t notice how … >>>READ MORE >>> →