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 >>> →
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 >>> →
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 >>> →
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 >>> →
I once had a grade 8 student who said, “It doesn’t matter what level I say I’m on, you’re always going to find a way to tell me that I’m on an unacceptable level.”
I’m wondering what a teacher might say in response to something like that?
RESPONSE from Tammy, shared on the DWS Mailring:
I’d probably ask, “Can you show me, then, how the behavior fits into a higher level?… >>> READ MORE >>> →
Language is my biggest stumbling block. I know what I want to say but on the spur of the moment I often find it hard to put into words. As I develop new habits with this discipline approach, I sometimes feel a bit tongue-tied. Can you give me some examples of questions that don’t sound manipulative or coercive.
Developing new habits can be a challenge at first, but remember that any skill gets easier with practice! There are many questions in Dr. Marshall’s book that can be used to prompt reflection (pages 19-20.)
It’s important to remember that tone of voice is very important when asking questions, so as to avoid any sense of sarcasm or coercion.
Here … >>> 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 … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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.
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 … >>> READ MORE >>> →