Volume 6 Number 10
IN THIS ISSUE:
2. Promoting Responsibility
3. Increasing Effectiveness
4. Improving Relationships
5. Promoting Learning
6. Discipline without Stress
7. Testimonials and Research
When you make time the first thing in the morning for what
you love to do, so much that follows commences with a
Many teachers, counselors, and administrators have made
their own posters of the levels of social development. They
use their posters for the opening question with a
misbehaving student, viz., “Which level did you choose to
The effectiveness of this question to open a personal
dialogue has led to increasing numbers of requests for a
poster of the levels–the same kind that is available for
the 18″ x 24″( 46 cm x 61 cm) Impulse Management poster.
BOTH POSTERS ARE NOW AVAILABLE at
Teachers and parents: Please note that in a classroom or
home setting, the HIGHER levels should be referred to
significantly more often than the lower levels. The more
times reference is made to levels C & D, the more young
people are prompted to choose them.
PROGRAM ATTRIBUTES have been added to
The addition follows:
Using the hierarchy separates the act from the actor,
the deed from the doer–irresponsible behavior from a
good person. Separation is critical so people don’t feel
the natural impulse to defend themselves, their behavior,
or their choices.
Using the hierarchy brings attention to the fact that
people are constantly making choices.
Using the hierarchy fosters intrinsic motivation so that
young people WANT to behave responsibly and WANT to put
forth effort to learn.
Using the hierarchy fosters character development without
mentioning values, ethics, or morals.
I was recently interviewed by e-mail. Some questions and
responses delve into areas in which I have previously not
voiced my opinions. You may find the interview interesting
and perhaps enlightening. The interview is posted at a new
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
The following is a post by Kerry at
I usually post the announcement questions that our school
uses each day. Originally, about 4 years ago when we did a
book study of Discipline Without Stress, we decided to
change the format of our daily announcements to make them
more in line with the DWS philosophy.
Instead of TELLING kids things like, “Don’t run on the
pavement,” we decided we’d be more effective if we asked a
question of the students in order to get them to do their
own thinking. Nowadays, we might ask, “Why is it a smart idea
to walk rather than to run on the pavement leading to the
We use these announcements/questions to deal with problems
in the school, to review school-wide procedures, and to do
some character education. We also use them for
Each day we have one question and generally most teachers
take a minute or two to discuss the question after the
announcements are over.
Over the years we have built a bank of questions that we
repeat each year, and we continue to add more.
Originally, adults did the announcements, but for a few
years now our grade sixes have been taking turns at the
mike. We have four questions a week, except for Mondays when
we have our regular school assembly.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
Positive people are happy people. Happy people are pleasant
to be around. Being around people you enjoy improves your
own disposition and desire to put forth effort.
Being positive should not be confused with satisfaction.
Telling someone to be satisfied makes little sense to me.
For example, after a presentation I ask myself, “What did I
do that was good?” and “What can I improve?”
We always have the opportunity to learn and grow. If we were
satisfied, we would never grow. It is the feelings that
emanate from growth that bring satisfaction, joy, and
If you wish to become more effective, unload the burden of
thinking that you need to be satisfied in order to be
positive or happy.
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
If we think that life is growth and that we should strive to
grow–not only intellectually but emotionally as well–we
accept comments by others (oftentimes called criticism) as
being in our own best interest.
Accepting such comments with a positive spirit depends on
two criteria: (1) we trust the person and understand that
what the person is sharing with us is in our own best
interests and (2) the comments are specific to the
situation. Certain terms are avoided, such as ALWAYS, as in,
“You always….” or you NEVER, as in, “You never….”
Think of a physician giving you a diagnosis. You don’t react
negatively. You accept it because you have faith that what
the physician is sharing with you is in your own best
interest and you know that the purpose is to help you, not
To give you another example, can you list any of your
idiosyncrasies? If you are like I am, you would be hard
pressed to do so. But ask anyone who sees you on a regular
basis, and that person would have no problem listing one,
two, or three.
Of course, accepting any suggestion for improvement is a
choice. But I find that listening to someone else’s
perspective is often in my one best interest.
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
Thomas Friedman is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winning
journalist with the New York Times and author of the
best-selling book about globalization, “The World Is Flat.”
He recently introduced a new phrase to the English language:
CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. This was explained as, “when
you are on the Internet or cell phone or Blackberry while
also watching TV, typing on your computer and answering a
question from your kid. That is, you are multitasking your
way through the day, continuously devoting only partial
attention to each act or person you encounter.”
The August/September, 2006, issue of “Scientific American
MIND” included an article about how the brain decides on
what to focus conscious attention.
The professor asked his class to watch a short video of two
basketball teams and to count how many times the players in
white T-shirts passed the ball. The students found that it
wasn’t easy to keep their eyes on the moving ball, but most
of them believed they counted correctly.
After the show, students were asked, “What did you think
about the gorilla?” There was a shocked silence. He
restarted the video, and after a few seconds a collective
groan rippled through the room as the audience now realized
that a person in an ape costume had walked right across the
court, pausing in the middle to pound on his chest.
Psychologists Daniel J. Simons and Christopher F. Chabris
showed this film at Harvard University for the first time in
1999. They were surprised by the results: half the
observers missed the furry primate the first time they
watched. How was that possible?
The answer was noted long before the experiment was
conducted. William James, the father of American Psychology,
wrote in his 1890 classic, “The Principles of Psychology,”
that the capacity of consciousness is limited, which is the
reason that we cannot pay attention to everything at once.
Attention is much more selective. It impels consciousness to
concentrate on certain stimuli to process them effectively.
So, when a person is watching TV or listening to the radio
while studying, the multitasking splits the brain’s focus
and lowers efficiency.
Perhaps you work with someone or know someone–such as a
student–who could benefit by this awareness.
6. Discipline without Stress
In persuasion and influence, emotion takes precedence
Young people misbehave because it has them feel good;
otherwise, they would not misbehave. People don’t
voluntarily do things that feel bad.
Punishment prompts bad feelings and, therefore, is
counterproductive to changing irresponsible behavior in any
A more effective approach is to help the young person find a
response that will engender better feelings than the feeling
that comes with the misbehavior–or the imposed punishment.
7. Testimonials and Research
September 8, 2006
Dear Dr. Marshall,
About a week before school started I went online looking for
a way to provide a suitable reward system to make sure that
my classes were positive and motivated. I knew that rewards
were more effective than punishments, or so I thought.
I did a search for “Discipline Rewards” and your site popped
up. I started reading your website and I was immediately
on-board. After spending about an hour on your site, I
decided to try your system this year.
I spent the second day of school talking to my classes about
the hierarchy. Their homework was for them to go online and
research the Raise Responsibility System.
We discussed their viewpoints the 3rd day of school and the
changes started immediately.
I realized for the first time in over 25 years of teaching
that I was not having enough faith in my students. As High
Priestess of the Control Freaks, I had to learn to step back
and give them the chance to analyze their own behavior and
come up with their own responsible responses.
The entire atmosphere in my algebra class is changed to one
of maturity, self-discipline, helpfulness, and respect. I am
not exhausted by the end of the day from trying to control
all my students. No more adversarial confrontations!
I am now frequently impressed by the maturity that my
students are showing. I have gone from bossing to trusting.
I just received your book yesterday and I plan to get books
for my colleagues and also provide some staff development.
Thank you for your website and for your sound principles. I
am a much calmer and happier teacher now.