Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

Choice

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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How can I explain the difference between Level C and D of this discipline system?

QUESTION:

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.

RESPONSE:

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
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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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Looking for a quote to encourage good choices

QUESTION:

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.


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Using Discipline without Stress to deal with an uncooperative student

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!

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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 … >>>

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Using DWS to deal with younger siblings visiting in the classroom

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 … >>>

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Choice-Response Thinking – In a Poem!

Recently I came across this poem by Portia Nelson.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS

 

by Portia Nelson

 

I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
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Would a school pledge fit into the Discipline without Stress approach?

QUESTION:
At our school, we have a program intended to create peace in our community. I am being told that I must teach the pledge that goes with this program. Although I do like the idea of encouraging kids to be peaceful, I wonder how a pledge would fit into a Discipline without Stress approach. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

The pledge is:

I am a Peacebuilder.
I pledge to give up put-downs,
seek wise people,
notice and speak up about hurts I have caused,
and to right wrongs.
I pledge to build peace at home, at school,
and in my community each day.

RESPONSE:
Perhaps you feel uncomfortable, not about the pledge itself, but rather about telling students that … >>>

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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

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