Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – November 2006

Volume 6 Number 11 


1. Welcome

2. Promoting Responsibility

3. Increasing Effectiveness

4. Improving Relationships

5. Promoting Learning

6. Discipline without Stress

7. Testimonials and Research



Punishments and rewards are different sides of the same coin.

Punishments ask, “What do you want me to do, and WHAT

HAPPENS TO ME if I don’t do it?”

Rewards ask, “What do you want me to do, and WHAT DO I GET

if I do it?” –Alfie Kohn


The second edition of the book, DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS,

will soon go to press. One area I did not include in the

first edition had to do with “differentiation.” This topic

will be included in the new edition–as described below in

section “5. Promoting Learning.”

If you have any thoughts about other areas that should be

included in the new edition, please take the time to share

them with me. Mailto:Marv@MarvinMarshall.com.

For your information, 40,000 copies of the book have been

sold, with sales steadily increasing.

As Anna Nyman Daley of Bluffdale, Utah, said, “When I’m

stuck, I like to review “DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS.” They

say that a classic is something you can refer to over and

over and still get something new out of it each time. Well,

that definition fits here. The more I look back through it,

the more it helps me to see things in a different light.”


When I spoke in British Columbia, Canada, last month, I had

the pleasure of speaking with three people with whom I have

been communicating for years but had never met in person.

Kerry Weisner has taken what started out as a discipline

system and projected it to new heights by demonstrating how

the hierarchy of the system can improve learning.


Darlene Collinson partners with Kerry in teaching primary

students and young adults. While visiting Darlene’s

classroom, I saw some reflective questions she had posted on

the wall just below the ceiling to which she could easily


She told me that she rarely looks at the questions now, but

having reflective questions in easy view helped her when she

first started using the system. The following are the

questions she had posted for her easy viewing and reference.

For commitment:

1. Could you have kept your commitment?

2. What are you going to do to make it happen?

3. On a scale of 1 – 10, how would you rank your commitment?

For Reducing Complaining:

1. Is what you are doing helping you get what you want?

2. What do you notice about the experience you are having?

For changing behavior:

1. What do you want?

2. What are you choosing to do?

3. If what you are choosing to do is not getting you what

you want, then what’s your plan?

4. What are your steps or procedures to make your plan work?

For doing your best:

1. How does that look to you?

2. What would you like to have improved even more?

Tanis Carter wrote and sells an inexpensive but excellent

little storybook on the Raise Responsibility System for

primary teachers. “CHILDREN OF RAINBOW SCHOOL” presents

the hierarchy of social development–with an introduction

explaining how the levels might be implemented in

the classroom. The publisher has listed the price of the

book at $14.95 Canadian dollars and $12.95 U.S. dollars.

Tanis can be contacted through her e-mail address to order

copies of her valuable book: Mailto:tccarter@shaw.ca

I also want to thank Lori Robinson, past president of the

British Columbia Primary Teachers Association for her

outstanding organizational and leadership skills. The

welcome I received at my presentation from so many British

Columbia teachers using the system was nothing short of


My extended trip to British Columbia would not be complete

without a special and public thanks to Wendy Lambert, the

community school worker of the Chemainus Community Schools

on Vancouver Island. Wendy works with numerous social,

school, and community associations for the betterment of the

community and single-handedly promoted a very large

community parent meeting and an area teachers’ inservice.


The following is from the Resource Guide described at


The ideas are described in more detail in the book,


Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning.”



Guided Choices are used when a student has already

acknowledged level B behavior and disrupts the lesson again.

The most effective approach is to ELICIT a consequence or

procedure to help the student help himself to avoid future

unacceptable behavior. This should be done in private by

stating, “What you have done is not on an acceptable level.”

Then ask, “What do you suggest we do about it?” Be ready to

ask, “What else?” “What else?” “What else?” until what the

student says is acceptable and will assist the student in

not repeating the behavior.

The advantages of ELICITING the consequence are multiple:

1. An adversarial relationship is avoided,

2. The student has ownership in the decision,

3. Victimhood thinking is not encouraged because the student

is empowered–rather than overpowered, and

4. The student has developed a plan to avoid repetition of

the inappropriate behavior.

When talking with the student in private may not be

immediately practical, one of the forms can be used. (K-1

teachers can have the student draw the situation.)

When handing the form to the student, give the student

choices. Three (3) choices are more effective than two

because any sense of coercion is eliminated with a third


Quietly ask, for example,

–Would you prefer to complete the activity in your seat,

–at the rear of the room,

–or in the office?

The teacher controls the situation using this approach

because the teacher is asking the question(s), and as long

as the student has a choice, dignity is preserved and

confrontation is avoided.



Darlene Collinson of Crofton, British Columbia, related to

me a success story that we should all remember.

Her 81-year-old mother was in the hospital and needed to

participate in physical therapy before she could be

released. The nurses, physical therapists, and physicians

were not successful in convincing the patient to engage in

the physical therapy.

After hearing of this, Darlene asked her mother, “What do

you want?”

Her mother replied, “I want to go home.”

Darlene simply inquired, “What do you need to do to make

that happen?”

Her mother replied, “Do my physical therapy,” which she

started to do in order to accomplish her objective.


People of all ages have

an innate desire to feel included.

This is especially important to remember for those who work

with youth.

When a young person FEELS INCLUDED, then even when that

person is different from others, there is still that

necessary feeling and sense of belonging.


I recently made a few presentations to teachers in the Los

Angeles Unified School District. One of my charges was to

include some ideas about differentiation.

The following are some ideas on differentiation (both in

content and process) that I shared.

ASSESSMENT (before):

Write a letter to your parents. Include interests, talents,

learning preferences, long-range plans or desires, and goals

in the class.

Topics for class meetings with PRIMARY students:

–Why are we here?

–What are we trying to do?

–What does it mean to do something well?

–How will we know if we are doing it well together?

Topics for class meetings with OLDER students:

–What does it mean to do quality work?

–How will you know that a quality level has been attained?

–How will I, the teacher, know that a quality level has

been attained?

–What do you need to do to attain a quality level?

–What can I, the teacher, do to help you attain the level?

–How will a third party know that a quality level was


Selected ideas to develop the criteria and evaluate against


–Give examples of good and bad.

–What makes an essay persuasive?

–What makes a story interesting to read?

–What makes a math solution elegant?

Activities to obtain curiosity and interest (Japanese

approach): Pose a question, explore an event, start a story,



APPLY a concept:

Applies, changes, computes, constructs, demonstrates,

manipulates, modifies, operates, predicts, prepares,

produces, relates, shows, solves, uses.

ANALYZE a situation:

Analyzes, breaks down, compares, contrasts, diagrams,

deconstructs, differentiates, distinguishes, identifies,

illustrates, infers, outlines, relates, selects, separates.

SYNTHESIZE by putting together parts to create something:

Categorizes, combines, compiles, composes, creates, devises,

designs, explains, generates, modifies, organizes,

rearranges, reconstructs, relates, reorganizes, revises,

summarizes, tells.

EVALUATE ideas or situations by making judgments about them:

Evaluates, appraises, compares, concludes, contrasts,

criticizes, critiques, defends, explains, interprets,

justifies, relates, summarizes, supports.

EVALUATION (after) – Evaluate quality of one’s own work and

progress toward goals:

–What worked?

–What didn’t?

–What am I proud of?


EXAMPLE: high school biology:

Teacher reflection:

1. What should students KNOW as a result of what we do?

Names of the cell parts, their functions, and how the cell

actually works.

2. What should students UNDERSTAND?

The cell is not just a bunch of isolated things; it has

interrelated parts where everything affects everything else.

3. What should students be able TO DO?

Analyze these interrelationships in a way that makes them

clear to their PEERS–not the teacher.

Here’s how the teacher approaches the students:

“I have 150 students, and I don’t know you very well, but I

know that you learn in different ways. And I also know that

you know more about yourselves and how you learn better than

I do. So although I don’t know how you learn best, I have a

hunch that YOU know how YOU learn best.”

The assignment is explained:

“Design a graphic organizer and label the parts with

directional markers to be sure someone who is clueless

understands your work.”


ANALOGY: Relate the working of a cell to human interactions.

–Family – Near relatives and far relatives – Is there

someone whose role it is to protects the family (cell)?

–Orchestra – Leader and people with different parts to play

–Basketball team – . . . .

Find an analogy and make it visible to an audience of peers

so they’ll understand how a cell works. Emphasize both the

individual parts and the relationships.


Use stuff in the room to make cells.


Tell a story as though the cell is the story. Who is the

protagonist? Who is the antagonist? Where is the rising

action? Where is the falling action? What’s trying to damage

the cell?


If you don’t like any of these and have a different or

better idea for your learning, come and talk with me.


Students work in groups of three–two (2) times.

1st time: Share with others who used the same approach.

Result: Reinforce and refine understanding

2nd time: Share with people who did different things.

Result: Further reflection and extended understanding .

6. Discipline without Stress

A post was recently made at the Discipline Support Mailring


wherein the teacher oftentimes used the word “discipline”

with students.

Clarification is necessary because the term, DISCIPLINE”

should BE USED ONLY with ADULTS–not with students or


The ONLY part of the approach young people need to

understand is the levels of social development, the first

phase of the Raise Responsibility System–which is only a

small but foundational part of the teaching and learning

model model outlined at



TEACHING PROCEDURES (the essence of classroom

management) is the responsibility of the ADULT.


A) Communicating with people in POSITIVE ways STARTS

as the responsibility of the ADULT.

B) Reducing coercion by OFFERING CHOICES (which people

have anyway) is the responsibility of the ADULT.

C) Asking REFLECTIVE questions–to prompt people to

evaluate their decisions–is the responsibility of

the ADULT.



Teaching the hierarchy is the responsibility of the


The foundation of the Raise Responsibility System is

for young people to LEARN and UNDERSTAND the four

levels of social (and personal) development.


Asking REFLECTIVE questions referring to the

hierarchy to prompt young people to EVALUATE and

ACKNOWLEDGE their CHOSEN LEVEL is the responsibility

of the ADULT.


Eliciting a procedure to help the student help

her/himself or elicit a consequence is the

responsibility of the ADULT.


Describing what the levels would look like BEFORE

an activity, and then AFTER the activity, asking

young people to momentarily REFLECT on the level

they chose to act on (during the activity) is the

responsibility of the ADULT.

Of the entire TEACHING MODEL, the only area students need to

learn at the outset is III (A) the levels of social

development–the first part of the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY


Rather than the term, “DISCIPLINE,” the word to be used with

young people is, “RESPONSIBILITY”–that which we are trying

to promote. This is indicated in the title of the RAISE


I’m delighted for the post because it prompted me to clarify

the teaching model.


Hi, Dr. Marshall–


I am a kindergarten teacher in Spokane Valley, Washington.

My colleagues and I have adopted your behavior plan. We are

having some difficulties getting kindergartners to value the

importance of intrinsic motivation. They’ll tell me they are

showing level A or B behavior, and they’ll even do a

reflection to focus on better choices and better behavior;

then before I know it, they have repeated showing A or B


Can we really expect ALL children (kindergartners) to

understand and abide by these 4 levels of behavior without

ANY rewards?


The answer is, YES, but you start by differentiating between

ACCEPTABLE levels and UNACCEPTABLE levels. See the posters

and cards at


Also, and–this is critical–be sure you have taught,

practiced, and practiced again EVERYTHING you want your


is ASSUMING that students, of any age, know what to do

without first learning, practicing, and ritualizing the

procedure or skill.

Once STUDENTS (especially young ones) HAVE LEARNED what YOU

want them to do, they will want to do it. Learning for them

is fun. If you are POSITIVE with your kids, they will like

you and will want to please you. Boys and girls have a

natural desire to please their teachers (level C–external

motivation). They will readily do what you ask them to

do–if they know HOW to do it.

Once young students have learned what you have taught, many

will TAKE THE INITIATIVE to do exactly what you have taught

because they then KNOW HOW TO and WANT TO do the right

thing–simply because it is the right thing to do. This

describes level D–internal motivation.


The 2nd and 3rd grade teachers are curious to know who

is supposed to propose the consequences for poor behavior,

the student or teacher?


Review the text again at


The key is to ELICIT a procedure or a consequence–rather

than impose one. This is a critical component of the

approach. If you impose it, the student becomes the victim.

If it is elicited FROM the student, the student owns it. And

ownership is a critical component for change.

7. Testimonials/Research

Dear Dr. Marshall,

I am the mother of 7 children working on my counseling

degree. I spent the last school year as an intern at both an

elementary and middle school. It opened my eyes as to why

children become disruptive. Punitive teachers ratchet up the

anxiety and hostility. Reading your book has shed further

light on what does works and why.

Thank you for writing such an inspirational book.

Susan Reeve

Tabernacle, NJ