Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – November 2014

—Volume 14 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 




“Unless we can get rid of coercion, we will never make even a dent in the problems of education.” (pp. 256, 296)
—”WILLIAM GLASSER: Champion of Choice” by Jim Roy, 2014.  

The following is my 5-star review I posted on Amazon.com.

“Jim Roy’s biography of Dr. William Glasser is fascinating, and this book is a treasure. I have known Bill Glasser for over 20 years and have presented at many Glasser conferences. Reading about Dr. Glasser’s journey and Dr. Roy’s clear explanations of Dr. Glasser’s points in his numerous books on psychology, mental health, and education rate William Glasser as a major contributor to each of these areas. Anyone who is interested in becoming more efficient, improving relationships, and living a happier life will truly enjoy and learn from Jim Roy’s biography of William Glasser.”

Sometimes we never think of the meaning behind what we like to keep. Here is a case in point.

For years I have had a little statue describing an ancient morality. The tiny statue that sat on my desk portrayed three little monkeys. One had hands over the eyes, another with hands over the ears, and a third with hands over the mouth.

The message was to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. The philosophy portrayed in the little figures is that good is found in not doing evil. I have decided that in today’s world with chaos, terrorism, and brutality this morality needs to be discarded. I trashed my little statue.

Not seeing, hearing, or talking about evil is a negative and not a very courageous approach to life. I reflected: What kind of society would we have, how progressive would we be, what kind of life/world would we have if we ignored evil actions?

The philosophy of ignoring evil and its negative morality needs to be discarded. Being positive and confronting evil will result in many more civil societies.


The following two maxims are in my head whenever I am tempted to help someone—regardless of age or stature:

(1) “Do not do things for others that they can do for themselves.”

(2) “Each time you coerce someone into doing something by using your power of authority you deprive that person of an opportunity to become more responsible.”


A few thoughts from THE END OF STRESS AS WE KNOW IT by Bruce McEwen:

“The human mind is so powerful, the connections between perception and physiological response so strong, that we can set off the fight or flight (or freeze) response by just imagining ourselves in a threatening situation.” (p.8)

This is the reason that I so emphasize visualizing, especially as it relates to the “Hierarchy of Social Development.” 

“Stress invariably creates negative emotions.” (p. 38) This is a prime reason that working collaborately and empowering people is so much more effective than employing coercion in the form of threats or punishments—or in manipulation in the form of rewards people expect but do not receive.

“Carl Young and Abraham Maslow have determined that people who seem to have positive health—who handle stress, adversity, and aging well—have certain characteristics in common. These include self-acceptance; positive relations with others; autonomy, or the ability to regulate one’s life according to personal standards (LEVEL D) and not the opinions and approval of others (LEVEL C); the ability to choose and create environments that are conducive to happiness; having a purpose in life; and a strong sense of personal growth.” (p. 185)

Understanding the Hierarchy of Social Development and practicing the three principles in the teaching model  and in the parenting model are ways to achieve the above characteristics.


“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” —Ernest Hemingway

The late Harvard professor Charles Townsend Copeland once invited some of his favorite students to his chambers. A sophomore asked, “How does one go about learning the fine art of conversation, professor?” The professor lifted an admonishing finger and said, “Listen, my boy.” After a moment’s silence, the student said, “Well, I’m listening.” And the professor said, “That’s all there is to it.” And that’s all there is to it.

One of the most pleasing feelings is being listened to with interest and attention. The opposite is also true. Have you ever had the feeling of being ignored in a conversation?

Harry Lazarus, a famous saloon keeper in the 1800’s, wrote, “One told funny stories, one danced, and one sang. One played the piano until the roof rang. One did imitations, one turned acrobatics, and one entertained with tales epigrammatic. But I, without talent or shine or amuse, was shortly the center, the focus, the fuse. Since far more important than all those who glistened, I was the one guest who stopped, looked, and listened.”


Scientists had long assumed that our left and right ears were the same and that decoding sound took place entirely in the brain with signals relayed from the ears.

We know now that the right ear is geared much more toward speech, and the left ear is tuned more to music.

Children with right ear hearing impairment have more trouble in school than those with left ear loss.

So if you are listing to music with a single earphone, you might want to put it in your left ear. But for learning a language, it might help to keep the earphone in your right ear.


One of the biggest mistakes that grown-ups tend to make in trying to parent their parents as they age and get a little shaky cognitively or physically is to treat them like a child. It’s demeaning, and it takes away that independence and respect that they need emotionally. Instead, keep in mind that just because parents are starting to need help in one realm does not mean they cannot be independent in many other areas.

The same advice holds true when parenting young people.


On October 17, 2014 National Public Radio (NPR) aired a podcast about classroom discipline on their program: “This American Life.” The program shared stories about parents and schools struggling with what to do about misbehaving kids from three (3) years of age to high school students.

This article discusses three of the incidents.

In the first story, four teachers were asked to confront a student who would not take his hat off in class—contrary to the classroom discipline rules of the school.

Each of the four (4) teachers interviewed had no specific procedure to handle the situation. All agreed that they would react in a way that they hoped would be successful. None were.

In a second confrontational discipline case, a student would not hang up his coat—again against the school’s classroom discipline code. When the student went to the bathroom, the teacher took the student’s coat and hung it up in the closet with the other coats. Upon returning to the classroom, the student accused the teacher of “stealing” his coat, whereupon he began “stealing” items from the teacher’s desk—stuffing a stapler and other teacher’s possessions into his pants.

In a third incident, students were departing a subway train on their way to a field trip. An adult shoved one of the students. Another student said to the adult, “You should apologize.” The adult said to the commenting student, “F…Y….” The school had a discipline program referred to as Restorative Justice that was based upon working with incarcerated youth. The students wanted—right then and there—to have a discussion on how to resolve the issue according to a procedure of Restorative Justice. Long story short, two students were jailed, one for a misdemeanor and the other (a female) for a felony of attacking a police officer (although no one knew that the undercover adult was a policeman).

Here is how a person using Discipline Without Stress (DWS) would have handled each situation.

Situation 1 Not taking a hat off according to classroom discipline rules:

The most effective approach to break down personal barriers is to ask for a favor. The DWS person would have said something like, “Please do me a favor and remove your hat.”

The adult would then say something like, “If you choose not to, we’ll deal with it later.” The adult would then have immediately walked away from the student in order to preserve the student’s dignity. If the teacher were to keep standing near the student, the student would have felt coerced—a mistake many teachers make. Coercion simply is not successful with today’s youth.

The idea behind the student’s not knowing what would happen is more powerful than knowing what would happen. (As an aside, teachers reduce their effectiveness when they inform students AHEAD of time what any imposed action will be.)

Situation 2 Not hanging the coat:

A DWS practitioner would not have taken any instructional time to handle this defiance but instead would have taken the same approach as in the former example at the outset when the student would not hang up his coat. (“Please do me a favor…. We’ll talk about this later.”) The teacher made a major error in removing the student’s possession without the student’s permission.

Situation 3 Subway incident:

Confrontation should be avoided. When the student suggested to the man to apologize—and the undercover policeman responded in a confrontational way—the mindset of the student should have been, “This man has a problem; it’s his; don’t let his problem become mine.” When the students wanted to practice Restorative Justice at that time, they did not realize that they were prompting COUNTERWILL—THE NATURAL HUMAN INSTINCT TO RESIST BEING CONTROLLED OR COERCED. It was inevitable that the adult would react negatively.


Schools of education do not teach what teachers need to do when they first enter the classroom. Most teachers have never been taught that they are in a MOTIVATION AND RELATIONSHIP OCCUPATION. Teachers market information; rarely do people buy from someone they dislike. Even the slowest salesperson knows not to alienate the customer, but unfortunately teachers alienate students too often. Negativity only prompts negative reactions. If a student has negative feelings toward a teacher, the relationship only prompts apathy toward learning and/or reluctance, resistance, rudeness, and sometimes rebellion or defiance.

Learning how to handle classroom discipline should be one of the last techniques new teachers learn BEFORE they step into a classroom.

As William Glasser so eloquently stated, “The ultimate issue of power should be to empower others” (WILLIAM GLASSER: Champion of Choice, by Jim Roy, 2014, p.239). This is what successful teachers do—but never by using negativity, force, or IMPOSED punishments. Glasser also said, “Not teaching students how we function is like asking them to play a game without teaching them the rules” (Ibid, p. 253).



Hello Dr. Marshall,

I have contacted you before, and we had an excellent talk on the telephone last year. I just wanted to update you on my presentations of your discipline program.

I first presented this at the Foreign Language Educators of Northeast Florida summer conference last year in August, 2013. It was very well received by the teachers. I then presented it at a Diocese of St. Augustine in-service day in the fall of last year. I then presented at the FLENEF Summer conference this past August a 3-hour workshop, and then a one-hour session. Next week, I will be attending the Florida State Foreign Language Association (FFLA) conference and will be presenting your discipline program again.

I have used your program for 4 years now, and I am convinced of its effectiveness. My students behave, speak, and converse with me so differently than with other teachers who are still stuck in the paradigm of “sage on the stage” and who believe that students should sit in chairs, in rows, and do what they are told.

I find it very challenging to see such a great program being ignored by my own peers and accepted by so many other teachers. I get calls all the time from teachers who teach Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and more with questions about ways to improve the effectiveness of your program. I always direct them to your website after we talk.

Thank you for your efforts to bring this logical and effective method of teaching young people what it is to be a responsible adult.

Nancy Valdés Department Chair, World Languages
Bishop Snyder High School
Jacksonville, Florida

Notice the strategy or asking reflective questions. The Resource Guide has pages of examples.

Landmark  EDUCATION book: 

 “Knowing that one of the principles of the system is to be positive, I knew that I had to start using the hierarchy in positive situations. Now, I not only try to use the hierarchy a lot to acknowledge higher-level motivation, but also to be proactive. In other words, I use it before a lesson, before an activity, before an event, etc. In that way the students are set up for success. They know EXACTLY what the higher levels looks like, and I find that when you have helped students create that vision in their minds, they are motivated to reach for it. That’s when teaching becomes joyous.

“You start spending a larger percentage of your time acknowledging good choices, instead of dealing with problems. That’s what makes this system so extraordinary! 

“It’s an exciting way to teach!”

Kerry Weisner
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada

Award-winning PARENTING book: 

 “This is one of the best parenting books I have read. I just wish I would have had it when my children were younger.”
Marianna Kulcsar
Cochrane, Alberta, Canada