Discipline and the Raise Responsibility System

In the Raise Responsibility System, we speak of Levels of Behavior, with Levels C and D being the two highest. The main difference between the two lies in the difference in motivation. While an action at Level C and D can look identical, it is the difference in the MOTIVATION that identifies one person’s action as being at Level C and another person’s as being at Level D. When your students are acting at either level, discipline issues are greatly diminished.

Here is an example to clarify the difference in the two levels:

Students at Level C do home assignments, but only after being reminded by a parent. At Level D, students complete home assignments simply because they know that this is something expected of them. They don’t wait to be reminded before starting. Either way, the action is the same: the home assignments are completed. Only the MOTIVATION is different.

Level C is an acceptable level of operation but it is important for students to understand that it is not the highest level to which a person can aspire. At Level C, the motivation for acting appropriately is EXTERNAL. In other words, the young person does the correct or right thing but is motivated from a desire to please, impress, or avoid the disapproval of an authority figure. While students at this level have few discipline challenges, they need something outside of themselves to motivate them to do the right thing.

At Level D, the highest level of social development, the motivation is INTERNAL. The student does what he/she knows to be the correct, right, kind, or responsible thing. THE RIGHT THING IS DONE WHETHER OR NOT AN ADULT OR ANY ONE ELSE IS PRESENT. As a result, discipline issues are eliminated.

Here are some more concrete examples of Level and C and D behaviors:

Level C – Cooperation/Conformity

• Cooperating with the teacher when the teacher is present in the room
• Fulfilling requirements, but doing little more
• Being kind to others only when an authority figure is present
• Relying on a parent to give reminders to complete chores, return library books, fulfill obligations, etc.
• Doing something helpful specifically to impress others
• Basing decisions on an outside influence (positive or negative)
• Acting cooperatively and compliantly but showing little initiative without direction

Level D – Democracy

• Acting with self-control and discipline whether or not an adult is present
• Participating with the group in an appropriate manner out of respect for others
• Choosing to be responsible by fulfilling obligations willingly and without being reminded
• Befriending a peer simply because he/she seems lonely
• Volunteering to help simply because it¹s obvious that help is needed
• Showing initiative in one’s learning
• Choosing to come to class well prepared
• Independently seeking help when necessary
• Deciding to speak up in defense of another who is being treated poorly
• Seeking to be of service to others out of a genuine desire to help
• Relying on one’s own judgment, even when others make the suggestion to do something inappropriate, unkind, dangerous, etc.
• Taking responsibility for some unkind words by choosing to apologize
• Sincerely thanking someone without being reminded

I purposely give you more examples of Level D than Level C to encourage you to focus most on this level in your teaching. Although the students must understand the key points of every level, DWELLING ON THE LOWER LEVELS WHEN TEACHING THE HIERARCHY IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.

The more attention given to concretely providing specific examples of Level D, and discussing the benefits of acting on this level, the more likely that young people will be motivated internally to aspire to these types of behaviors. This is one way in which teachers can inspire young people. With the RRSystem we can actually show students what it is they need to do in order to be operating at the highest level of social development.