Change Takes Time

One of the most challenging things about moving to the Raise Responsibility System is remembering to use the three principles of being positive, asking (rather than telling), and empowering by giving choices.

It doesn’t happen overnight, and no one will tell you that you can be an expert when first starting. We’re all struggling to change previous mindsets, to pause before we blurt out automatic phrases that are negative, to get rid of those “old teacher stares,” and to be proactive instead of reactive. It’s not easy, so just try to take the pressure off yourself by not expecting perfection. That route leads to discouragement.

Instead, just set little goals for yourself. For instance, try for an hour to always respond with a question instead of telling students things. Whenever someone in your class wants to know something, or you want to tell them something, or whenever someone asks you something, see if you can respond with a question.

For example, if a child says, “I found this staple on the floor. What should I do with it?” Ask, “Oh, where would that go?” If someone leaves their shoes on the floor of the cloakroom, bring the child over and ask, “Do you see anything that you might need to do here?” Or if someone asks to go for a drink right after recess time, ask, “Is this the time for us to get drinks? When was the time for drinks?”

Try to build choice into the day. This gets you into the habit of using choices so that it will come more naturally during discipline situations. Besides, giving choices to students on a regular basis makes the day more interesting for them. By engaging them through the power of making little decisions, they become more interested in being in the classroom. When they are focused on doing constructive things, misbehavior is less of an issue. Because they are focused on making choices instead of focused on, “I really don’t want to do this,” life will be smoother for you.

Building in little choices engages students. Therefore, when planning your lessons, always ask yourself, “How can I give them some little choice?” You’ll find there are so many choices you can offer. It just takes a little conscious effort on your part.

The element of choice is vital, because focusing on obedience aims at physical and superficial aspects of behavior. In contrast, the Raise Responsibility System aims at the brain’s cognition, which, in turn, prompts emotion and empowerment. For example, someone compliments you and a positive feeling follows. In contrast, when someone blames, criticizes, complains, nags, threatens, or punishes you, a negative feeling erupts. Empowerment has a positive effect and can create commitment whereas obedience rarely creates commitment. It is a simple fact of life that OBEDIENCE DOES NOT CREATE DESIRE. The Raise Responsibility System actuates people to WANT to behave appropriately and WANT to put forward effort to learn.