Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

Positivity

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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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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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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Using positivity in a negative situation

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 … >>>

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If discouragement is the problem, then encouragement must be the answer

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, >>>

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Welcoming a new student

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 … >>>

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Role-playing Level C – It’s a good idea!

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 … >>>

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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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Developing Positive Teaching Habits in Discipline Situations

Recently I was glancing through a book from the public library: THE BOOK OF NURTURING–Nine Natural Laws for Enriching Your Family Life by Linda and Richard Eyre.

In the chapter on discipline, a little story caught my eye because it contained a very PROACTIVE and POSITIVE suggestion that could be used by anyone who wanted to make changes in their life or wanted to develop new habits.

I find that many people are first attracted to the DWS Teaching Model because they like the idea of acting positively in discipline situations with young people, yet initially they find that the habit of positivity doesn’t come to them either naturally or automatically. Most people find that it’s something they must consciously … >>>

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A Discipline without Stress Mindset – Misbehavior as an Opportunity to Learn

Recently, I attended a community workshop. Over the lunch hour I happened to sit with a very interesting lady. After a few minutes, our conversation turned to what we did for a living and I explained that I was a teacher. She told me that she worked for the Ministry of Social Services, a government agency. Her job was to take some of the most severely disturbed teens of our community into her home for approximately six weeks at a time, with the goal of readying them for foster care.

She expressed with some regret that the Ministry wouldn’t consider allowing her to take on the role of a regular foster parent, instead of what she does now. She explained … >>>

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I need help with positivity.

QUESTION:
I’m having a hard time with the first principle of Discipline without Stress–the Principle of POSITIVITY. I’m not sure how I can say something positive in a discipline situation–when a student is doing something that he/she shouldn’t be doing! I need some examples.

RESPONSE:
Dr. Marshall encourages teachers to think, speak and act with positivity in order to be most effective when they implement DISCIPLINE without STRESS system. Even when a situation might be perceived as negative, as in a case where discipline is necessary, he points out that it is possible to phrase communications with students in positive, rather than negative ways.

He points out that people do best when they feel better about themselves–as opposed to when … >>>

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Using a positive challenge!

My teaching partner and I have always provided a home reading program for our grade one students. We give each one a ziplock bag in which to store their home reading books and every morning they make an exchange, taking two new books home.

Well, that’s the theory of it anyway! In reality, we have never had a high rate of consistent and continued participation in this program. Although in the first few weeks of any particular school year, most families manage to send the home reading bag back and forth on a regular basis, as time goes on, fewer and fewer students actually participate to full advantage. They don’t maintain the routine of returning the bag on a daily … >>>

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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