Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – November 2013

Volume 13 Number 11


  1. Welcome
  2. Promoting Responsibility
  3. Increasing Effectiveness
  4. Improving Relationships
  5. Promoting Learning
  6. Parenting
  7. Discipline without Stress (DWS)
  8. Reviews and Testimonials 



MONTHLY QUOTE: An Example of Positivity

Sir Winston. . . What in your school experience best prepared you to lead Great Britain out of our darkest hour?
(thoughtful pause)
It was the two years I spent in the first Form (seventh grade).
Did you fail the First Form?
No! I had two opportunities to learn to do it correctly. —Sir Winston Churchill


After having completed very successful video interactive sessions with entire school staffs, I am announcing the addition to the link – New: Unlimited interactive video conferencing with the entire staff


A Calgary (Canadian) school has decided to axe all certificates and ceremonies honouring academic and athletic achievement.

St. Basil Elementary and Junior High School is doing away with all certificates and ceremonies honoring academic and athletic achievement believing that awards eventually lose their luster to students who get them while often hurting the self-esteem and pride of those who don’t get a certificate.

There’s a difference between what psychologists call intrinsic motivation to learn which is where kids are excited about the learning itself, and extrinsic motivation which is where they do something to get a goodie—a trophy, a pat on the head, a dollar, a grade—according to Alfie Kohn, author of “Punished by Rewards.”

“It’s not just that those two things are different. It’s that they move in opposite directions, so the more you reward people for doing something the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward.”

“Rewards may motivate students to get rewards, but that’s likely to be at the expense of engagement with the learning itself. Awards are even worse than rewards because an award is a reward that has been made artificially scarce, so if I get one you probably can’t,” Kohn continued in the interview.

“The research shows very clearly that three things tend to happen when students are encouraged to focus on getting good grades. The first is that they become less excited about the learning itself. The second is that they tend to become less likely to think deeply. The third thing that happens is when you get kids focused on grades they pick the easiest possible task when given a choice–not because they’re lazy, but because they’re rational.”

Kohn says teachers and schools should instead be providing feedback aimed at helping students succeed. “If a kid clearly isn’t getting it in math, the last thing you want to do is say to this kid publicly, ‘You’re a loser,’ or put an F or a low mark on the paper. For most kids that almost guarantees continued failure in the future, Kohn said in the interview.

He concluded, “You don’t just get rid of awards assemblies because they make the kids that don’t get rewards feel bad. You get rid of awards assemblies because they’re not useful for (most) kids.

Alfie Kohn is not the only one to suggest that rewards are counterproductive to creating and maintining effort for quality learning. Many authorities have similar beliefs. Here are just a few from various authorities according to Deci and Ryan’s, “Intrinsic Motivation and Self Determination in Human Behavior,” page 247:

“When children are learning intrinsically, they tend to interpret their successes and failures as information rather than as rewards and punishments.”

“To offer a prize for doing a deed is tantamount to declaring that the deed is not worth doing for its own sake.”

“Effective learning occurs when the primary reward is one’s intrinsic satisfaction with one’s accomplishments.”

“We destroy the love of learning in children by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty rewards such as gold stars, papers marked 100 tacked on walls, and honor rolls.”


We live our lives using procedures.

Chances are that when you arise from bed you follow the same procedure every morning. If you have breakfast, you probably sit or stand at the same location.

If you brush your teeth, I would guess that you probably use the same procedure every time the brush enters your mouth.

If you are male, chances are that you put your socks on in the same order and, similarly, your pants using the same leg first every time.

As you proceed through the day, notice that so much of what you do is done nonconsciously. You just do it “automatically”—that is, without thinking about it.

With this in mind, realize that establishing a procedure can make you more efficient, as explained by the following:

She was a vibrant picture of health and an inspiring speaker. The audience was stunned to see a slide of her when she was morbidly obese. She had lost 125 pounds and spoke about how diet and exercise saved her life.

The question was asked what she did when she wanted to go off her diet and when she didn’t feel like exercising.

She described her 15-Minute Rule. She explained that when she had a craving for something she knew she shouldn’t eat, she told herself, “I CAN eat that, but I will wait 15 minutes.” (Notice her self-talk.)

Invariably, something happened during those 15 minutes that took her mind off food. She would make a phone call, check her e-mail, write a note, or get involved in some activity. Sometimes, even without getting involved in another activity, the craving went away on its own.

Whenever she didn’t want to work out, she conducted a little negotiation with herself. She told herself that she would work out for 15 minutes and then renegotiate. Ten percent of the time, she walked out of the gym after the 15 minutes. Ninety percent of the time, however, the 15 minutes of activity broke down her resistance and she ontinued her full work-out session.

So, for more responsible behavior, the next time you have a craving or are not doing something you know you should do, try the 15-Minute Rule.

From page 12 of the e-book.


Focus on the response you want to get and not just on what you want to say.

You will find this easy when using positivity, the empowerment of choice, and asking reflective questions.


Notice how the emphasis or tone of voice changes the meaning when each capitalized word is spoken. Share this little lesson by having young people say the variations out loud.

The first line has the emphasis on the first word, “I.”

I didn’t say you should leave now.

I DIDN’T say you should leave now.

I didn’t SAY you should leave now.

I didn’t say YOU should leave now.

I didn’t say you SHOULD leave now.

I didn’t say you should LEAVE now.

I didn’t say you should leave NOW.


The following one simple example is from my Discipline Online Seminar, which should be available within a month or two. Here is of the a simple procedures I used. I chose one area in my classroom that I would walk to when I wanted the students’ attention. After I did this a few times, when I was almost at the designated spot, the kids were already quiet because they knew that spot was only used to get their attention.


Charles Adams was the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain during the Lincoln Administration. He always kept a journal and taught his son, Brooks, to keep a daily journal as well.

When Brooks Adams was eight years old, he wrote in his diary: “Went fishing with my father, the most glorious day of my life.” During the next 40 years, Brooks referred to that day in his diary many times. He commented on the influence that day had on his life.

Charles Adams also wrote a note in his diary regarding that same day. It read: “Went fishing with my son, a day wasted.”

Parenting and teaching are the most influential of all callings. Everyone—regardless of the profession—has been taught by parents and teachers. Don’t you still remember something your parent(s) and teacher(s) said that had an influence on you?

While working on my masters in business administration, one day as I was walking to the parking lot with my professor, Dr. Voorhees, he asked, “You’re going to work on a doctorate, aren’t you?”

That thought had never crossed my mind, but his comment prompted a change in my life.

We can never know the full influence we have on others—especially the young.


Question = Q Response = R

Q:: Hi Dr. Marshall,

We have been implementing DWS this school year across K-5. We have had many successes but are still really struggling with a few things and I wondered if you might be able to provide us with some ideas.

First, some teachers seem to be struggling without using a rewards or consequences based system, which was causing more behaviors than they were having before, so they went back to that system.

R: Hi Karen,

The first mistake was going off the system without giving the students a choice.

The following is from my May newsletter. Hope all of the staff members have subscribed to the free monthly newsletterby entering their personal e-mail in the upper left corner.

When I presented seminars last month in Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Billings, Montana; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Portland, Oregon, many teachers told me that they were mandated to implement Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).

The question then is, “How can you use DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS while at the same time implementing PBIS?” The answer follows.

First, there is nothing in PBIS that mandates the teacher must give the rewards. Have the students perform the task. When the responsibility is handled by students, they soon realize how unfair it is to reward some students who do what the teacher desires but not reward others who behave the same way. It is impossible to find every student who deserves to be rewarded.

I learned this many years ago when my brother consulted with me. He told me that his daughter, Susan, had done everything the teacher required but did not get a reward when others did. Susan felt punished. As indicated in the WELCOME section, Alfie Kohn wrote a tome on this subject entitled, “Punished by Rewards.”

Second, once the students are put in charge and other students start to complain, simply ask the class if they want to continue the practice. Ask if they are mature enough to realize that doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do is enough satisfaction (Level D on the Hierarchy of Social Development) or if they still need to be externally motivated (Level C of the Hierarchy of Social Development).

Empowering students by giving them the choice prompts them to reflect on whether they need some external manipulation for doing what is expected.

Notice how the three practices of DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS are employed: (1) You are positive, (2) You have given the students a choice, and (3) You have prompted them to reflect. In addition, you will have taught the difference between external and internal motivation. This understanding, and being able to articulate the difference between the two types of motivation, helps young people understand their own motivation.

Learning requires motivation, and understanding one’s motivation is empowering.

Q: How do you suggest helping teachers address behaviors in a way that they don’t feel they are losing control so they continue to implement your program with fidelity?

R: Have them download the DWS Teaching Model 

This is critical for understanding how to use the system. If implemented correctly, the teacher is ALWAYS in control.

My guess is that they have not taught procedures as indicated in the first phase of the teaching model. If teachers are relying on rules, they will not be successful because if a rule is not followed, an adversarial relationship is automatically created. The teacher beomes a cop, rather than a facilitaor of learning.

Q: Second, we are really struggling with cafeteria behavior. It is very loud and our EA’s are struggling to maintain control, so they end up screaming at the kids and taking away recess time. I have tried to give them information, but I don’t feel I am being effective. Any ideas?

R: Read and teach procedures for noise levels.

Q: Last, we are struggling with kids who disrupt a lot of class time. There are too many to send to the office. Our data shows teachers are disrupted with behavior on average every 4 minutes by 3-5 kids. The behaviors can be handled but there are so many of them it is wearing the teachers down.

R. Are you sure the students understand the levels? Invest $9.99.

For the kids with poor  impulse control, see impulse control. Have the teachers learn how to speak with these students by memorizing the text in the gray box.

The Resource Guide used in my presentations will also assist. The book has suggestions on dealing with difficult students as well as forms that can be used.

Finally, unless the three principles to practice are CONSISTENTLY used with these students, the teachers who are having problems will continue to have them.

People find the greatest success when ALL phases of the teaching model are implemented.


The following is from a testimonial:

I am in my 3rd year of using the RRS in my teaching environment and am as excited as ever by the positive changes in me and my students, it has certainly taken me some time to change my own vocabulary and to use positive statements instead of commands but I am able to report significant progress. What was once a conscious thinking process is becoming the norm! “Just keep at it” is what I tell myself. –Heather Dyksma Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology New Zealand

The EDUCATION book: 

Marvin Marshall’s insights, innovative ideas, and ingenuity provide a clear plan for raising responsible children. The benefits to schools and families are enormous. –Gene Bedley, National Educator of the Year Author of Character Lessons for Life

The PARENTING book: 

Your parenting book is exactly what every parent desperately needs because it does what other discipline experts have not done: It retains the authority responsible parents need while creating the respectful relationship parents want. Your sensible strategies show parents how, while your awesome anecdotes, stories, and examples offer practical suggestions. The delightful, well-written, and enjoyable style is an added bonus. –Bill Page Author of At-Risk Students