Volume 6 Number 11
IN THIS ISSUE:
2. Promoting Responsibility
3. Increasing Effectiveness
4. Improving Relationships
5. Promoting Learning
6. Discipline without Stress
7. Testimonials and Research
MONTHLY RESPONSIBILITY AND LEARNING QUOTE:
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.
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:firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
The following is from the Resource Guide described at
The ideas are described in more detail in the book,
“DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS, PUNISHMENTS OR REWARDS–How
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.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
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
Her mother replied, “I want to go home.”
Darlene simply inquired, “What do you need to do to make
Her mother replied, “Do my physical therapy,” which she
started to do in order to accomplish her objective.
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
People of all ages have
an innate desire to feel included.
This is especially important to remember for those who work
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.
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
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.
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
–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,
solve a problem. WHEN STUDENTS “GRAPPLE” WITH A SITUATION AT
THE VERY OUTSET OF A LESSON, MOTIVATION IS ENHANCED.
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,
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 am I proud of?
EXAMPLE: high school biology:
1. What should students KNOW as a result of what we do?
Names of the cell parts, their functions, and how the cell
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
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”
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
I – CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT vs. DISCIPLINE
TEACHING PROCEDURES (the essence of classroom
management) is the responsibility of the ADULT.
II – THREE PRINCIPLES TO PRACTICE
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
III – The RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
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.
IV. USING THE SYSTEM TO INCREASE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
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
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
students to do. A MAJOR ERROR EVEN EXPERIENCED TEACHERS MAKE
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.
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.