Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – October 2006

Volume 6 Number 10


1. Welcome

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

joyful outlook.


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

act on?”

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.



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

link at



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.


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.


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

hurt you.

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.


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

over cognition.


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

lasting way.

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.

Sharon Miles

Crownsville, Maryland