I’ve been using Discipline without Stress for a few months now and my students seem to understand about the four levels of behavior. Generally their behavior is acceptable, but they aren’t operating on Level D all the time yet. What can I do about this?
Surprising as it might seem, having all students operate on Level D is not the goal for the teacher in this discipline system. Although the world would certainly be a better place if everyone chose to operate at Level D, it’s probably not realistic to expect that students will be able to reach that high level of conduct on a consistent basis. Rather, the teacher’s goal is to have all students operating at least on Level C, so that a civil and productive learning environment is created in the classroom. Level C is the goal for the teacher–not Level D.
Some students will certainly CHOOSE to set their sights higher (Level D), and of course this is what we hope for as teachers, but it is not something over which we have direct control. We cannot force any student to operate at a higher level, but by implementing the Discipline without Stress approach and introducing young people to the Hierarchy, we can encourage and inspire young people to WANT to act at the highest level, which is reflected in a desire to be SELF-motivated and SELF-disciplined. By definition, Level D behavior is a voluntary choice.
It’s worth noting too that we can never judge another person’s motivation with complete accuracy. Within a classroom,where all the students look as if they are doing the same thing–perhaps quietly and cooperatively completing their assignments–some will be operating on Level C and some will be operating on Level D. The teacher may have guesses about the motivation level of each student but they are only guesses.
A person’s motivation can be accurately determined only by the person him/herself. That is why it is important that teachers ask questions to promote self-reflection in students. With this discipline approach, we are not TELLING the student what we think of their actions and their motivations. Ideally, we are striving to help them evaluate what they think about their own actions and motivations.
The more attention given to concretely providing specific examples of Level D, and discussing the benefits of acting on this level, the more likely that young people will be motivated internally to aspire to these types of behaviors. This is one way in which teachers can influence young people. Paradoxically, when something is offered as a voluntary choice, it becomes all the more attractive.
With the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy, we can actually show students what it is they need to do in order to be operating at the highest level of social/personal development. In fact, this is the ONLY discipline system I have ever seen that provides such information to students. Within an environment of positivity, and with a conscious effort on the part of the teacher to find meaningful and frequent opportunities to discuss the Hierarchy, you will find that many students will CHOOSE to take advantage of that information on a more regular basis.