How can I motivate students to take more interest in their own learning?

One thing that I love about Marvin Marshall’s approach is that the results go beyond what all other discipline approaches offer.  As you inquired about, teachers can easily use Discipline without Stress to inspire students to put effort into their own learning.  I use it all the time for this purpose myself.

Here’s just one example.

Let’s say that you arrange for a guest speaker whose topic relates to some aspect of the course you are teaching. Firstly, it would be proactive to discuss how audience members should behave when a guest is addressing the class; a wise teacher would go over Level C expectations. Remember, in this approach it is the teacher’s expectation that all students operate at least on Level C–the level of cooperation and conformity.

To be even more effective, a teacher would elicit the expectations them from the students. Perhaps students might suggest that it is polite to:

• sit quietly,

• look at the speaker,

• keep hands and body still, and;

• clap at the end of the presentation.

In many other discipline systems that might be the end of such a discussion, but the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy has a built-in opportunity for teachers to motivate by pointing out that there are two levels of acceptable behavior. A teacher can go a step further and offer the class a vision of Level D:

A student who wants wants to be in charge of their own learning can choose to operate on Level D–by motivating themselves internally. Such a person might choose to go beyond the more basic expectations of Level C by:

• actively listening and making connections in their own head to what the speaker is saying,

• choosing to be curious and wonder about what they hear,

• asking a question of the speaker,

• personally thanking the speaker,

• doing some further thinking after the presentation

• looking for a book in the library or using the internet to do some research connected to the presentation.

I find that by providing a concrete picture of what Level D looks like–along with the understanding that this is a voluntary level of operation–students are motivated to be more actively involved in learning. The voluntary nature of the highest level of the hierarchy is what creates the desire to be self-motivated.

It always attractive to think of oneself as someone who chooses to operate on a level that’s beyond the ordinary!