Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – August 2005

Volume 5 Number 8 


 1. Welcome

 2. Promoting Responsibility

 3. Increasing Effectiveness

 4. Improving Relationships

 5. Promoting Learning

 6. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:

    How Your School Can Implement the System

    Your Questions Answered

    Free Mailring/User Group

    Impulse Management Posters and Cards




MODEL is the core of my writings, my personal presentations, and my In-House

Staff Development package. Please view this one-pager and share it with others,

including school administrators. The link is at



Although I have visited many museums around the world and have visited

impressive libraries such as J.P.Morgan’s

private collection in New York City, the New York City Library, and the Library

of Congress in Washington, D.C., I

was not prepared for the emotional response I had visiting the Long Room at the

Library of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

I was in this interesting city to speak at the William Glasser European

Conference on the topic, “Using Glasser, Covey, Deming, McGregor, and Maslow to

Promote Responsible Behavior and Learning.” The presentation was on my article

published in the Fall 2004 issue of the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REALITY

THERAPY. Reality Therapy is the name of the pioneering work by William Glasser.

The psychology profession categorizes his approach as cognitive psychology –a

type of therapy that is becoming increasingly popular.

Dr. Glasser, a psychiatrist by training, has had a significant impact on

education starting with his book,

SCHOOLS WITHOUT FAILURE. He took his counseling approach to schools in the form

of classroom meetings. A few

fundamental characteristics of Dr. Glasser’s approach are:

– noncoercion,

– taking responsibility for one’s behavior,

– focusing on the future, rather than spending time on determining the cause

of behavior since the past cannot be changed, and

– the critical importance of good relationships.

The Long Room in the Trinity College Library is adjacent to the display of the

Book of Kells. The Book of Kells contains a magnificently illuminated Latin

manuscript of the four gospels produced by monks on the Island of Iona off the

west coast of Scotland and sent to Dublin early in the 8th century when Vikings

invaded the island. Trinity College itself was founded by charter of Queen

Elizabeth in 1592 to establish a Protestant institution of higher learning in


The Long Room runs to 65 metres in length (almost 3/4 of an American football

field) with two floors of

stacks, each 20 shelves high. No description could do justice to my experience

of seeing so many thousands of

book, many hundreds of year old. Much of the American heritage has its origin in

the souls of these books. Perhaps

my study of Irish, Scottish, and English migrations to the U.S. Colonies made

this particular visit so meaningful to

me. But if you ever visit Dublin, treat yourself to spending time at the

University of Dublin’s Trinity College Library.


Thanks to John Esposito for allowing me to share the following

incident and story.


Our school has a 25% population of Native American students. I had a 4th grade

student in the office for a discipline issue. I work hard to be as noncoercive

as possible according to your approach. After discussing the incident and

getting to the point of doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to

do, I decided to relate the story of Two Wolves. Someone gave it to me and I do

not know of its origin. It goes like this:

An elder Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He

said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight and it is

between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret,

greed, arrogance. It uses self pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false

pride, superiority, and ego.

“The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility,

kindness. It practices benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth,

faith, and compassion.

“This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”

They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather,

“Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

To me, the message is one of positivity. Like begets like.

The student listened carefully. Then I asked, “What do you think he meant when

he said the wolf that wins is the one you feed?”

She had a little trouble articulating it but definitely got the idea that the

wolf who wins does the right thing.

She wrote a very sincere apology to the person she wronged. She drew a picture

for her, too. Then she gave a sincere verbal apology. The wronged student

clearly appreciated and accepted the apology, smiling and saying, “Thanks,”


I asked the first girl how she thought the other girl felt. She immediately

said, “Happy.” Then I asked, “How do you

feel?” She said, “Happy.” I said, “You should be proud of yourself.” I left her

smiling, too.


My Comment: Doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do feels



Never let the urgent replace the important.


 Dr. Alan R. Zimmerman, a fellow member of the

National Speakers Association, writes an electronic newsletter

and has some thoughts on forgiveness that deserve sharing.

There are times when you are just plain stuck in a situation where there is no

conflict to resolve and no problem to figure out. You’ve been wronged, but the

other person neither shows remorse, nor apologizes, nor makes amends.

To help you help yourself, a particular type of forgiveness should be employed.

Without it, you become stuck with the hot emotion of bitterness or revenge.

How do you deal at those times when you’ve been wronged? How do you get through

the hurt caused by someone else’s thoughtlessness or malicious disregard?

First, accept the fact that LOVE AND PAIN GO TOGETHER. If you love someone or

something, you are vulnerable. Love anything and your heart can be broken by it.

There’s no such thing as painless love. The closer a person gets to you, the

more the person can hurt you (even though, technically, you are allowing

yourself to be hurt).

It’s one of the sobering truths in life. Unless and until you accept that fact,

you may be riddled with unnecessary resentment and anger.

Second, UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF FORGIVENESS. It is not about letting the other

person off the hook. That person is responsible. Forgiveness is about letting go

of the negative feelings that affect you.

Captain Ahab, in Herman Melville’s book, “Moby Dick,” would not forgive. A great

white whale permanently injured him, and he spent the rest of his life seeking

revenge. It drove him until nothing else mattered except killing the whale that

injured him. This hatred cost him his soul and, in the end, his life.

More often than not, refusing to forgive someone will hurt you more than the

other person. You become like the

rattlesnake that bites itself when it becomes cornered. That is exactly what the

harboring of hate and resentment against others is–a biting of oneself. We

think that we are harming others by holding onto these negative emotions but the

deeper harm is to ourselves.

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Forgiveness does not change the past,

but it does enlarge the future.

Third, DON’T BROOD. When you’re wronged, when you feel the anger and resentment

building up inside you, deal with it as quickly as possible. Don’t think about

it a minute longer than necessary. Don’t allow yourself to sulk or indulge in


If you continue to ruminate about the situation, you will distort the situation.

The situation will grow in your mind, getting bigger and bigger, and you will

get more and more upset.

Fourth, ADOPT AN ATTITUDE. A lot of people think they can forgive someone and be

done with it. But a truly healthy, mature individual takes an ongoing forgiving

approach to life and people. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said so well,

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”

Make sure you understand what Dr. King was saying. Taking a forgiving approach

does not mean that you become a passive doormat or a pitiful victim. Dr. King

was anything but passive or pitiful. He was a champion. He was a warrior. And he

was wronged over and over again. But he didn’t let the wrongs get in the way of

his work or life.


One of the most perceptive comments ever made to me was stated in an

elevator. I was at a conference of the National Speakers Association and found

myself in an elevator with Nick Carter who had worked with the dean of personal

motivation, Earl Nightingale. During our elevator ride, Nick made a most

interesting comment to me: “We run our life by procedures.”

I immediately thought about the procedures I use in my personal life and then

reflected on procedures I used as a classroom teacher (primary, upper

elementary, and every grade 7-12). Whenever a student(s) did something that

irked me, I would establish a procedure. For example, when I suddenly heard the

pencil sharpener being used while I was talking, I taught a procedure. I simply

had the student place the pencil in a raised hand. This indicated to me the

desire to sharpen a pencil. When I was finished with the idea I was teaching, I

nodded to the student indicating that this would be an appropriate time to

sharpen the pencil. Similarly, when I heard the crumpling of paper–I know not

why I found the sound disturbing–I asked myself, “What procedure can I

establish to halt this bothersome noise?” I settled on teaching students to fold

the paper lengthwise, like a hot dog. This procedure makes no noise, takes up no

room on the desk, and takes up less room than crumpled paper in the waste paper

basket that was circulated before the end of each period.

In the realm of classroom teaching, those teachers who are most successful

establish procedures, practice them, and reinforce them to the point that they

become routines.

A major faulty assumption of many teachers–especially middle and high school

teachers–is to assume that students know WHAT and HOW TO DO what teachers

desire. The following are examples of procedures that teachers should consider

establishing. They should be prioritized and not attempted all at once, but they

should be a major part of lessons for the first few days of school. And since

many schools in the USA are starting school before the traditional Labor Day

(early September) starting date, this may be the most opportune time for

teachers to reflect on procedures to be planned and taught.

Topics that I established include:

  1. How students enter the classroom.
  2. Activities when first entering the classroom.

    (Students should ALWAYS do something that raises curiosity; piques interest;

    reinforces/reviews; or practices a skill, e.g., journal writing. DEAD TIME


  3. How to take roll while students engage in some activity.
  4. How to obtain students’ attention in 10 seconds or less.
  5. What to do when it is necessary to use the restroom.
  6. What to do when an assignment is finished early.
  7. How to find directions for each class activity center.
  8. What students do when they have questions or want assistance.
  9. How papers will be collected and where to put them.
  10. How to smoothly transition from one activity to another.
  11. How to work in groups, who has which responsibility, and how to change


  12. How and when to move around the room.
  13. How to use classroom materials and where to find them.
  14. What to do when tardy.
  15. What to do when returning from an absence.
  16. How to get materials without disturbing others.
  17. How to discard papers without disturbing others.
  18. How to get ready for the library and other locations.
  19. How to get ready for dismissal.
  20. How the class will be dismissed (bell or teacher).

A note of clarity for those using the RRSystem:

Following procedures is motivation on Level C: Cooperation, the behavior of

which is positive and expected.

6. Implementing the RAISE


How a school can conduct its own in-house staff development

is described at


Details for implementation are described on the next link at


This link describes THE MARVIN MARSHALL TEACHING MODEL. Topics include

differences between classroom management and discipline, three principles to

practice, the three parts of the RRSystem, and how the RRSystem can be used to

raise academic achievement.


Hi Marv!

Thanks for the great inservice at our school (Knights) last week. The staff is

really excited about implementing your ideas and so am I. However, I am a bit

concerned about how I go about using this with developmentally delayed 3 – 5

year olds. Basically, my class will be filled with developmental levels ranging

from 18 months to 3 yrs. Any suggestions? Thanks!


I suggest what you are already doing, viz., have patience, teach procedures,

have students practice them, challenge them to improve, and compliment them on

their actions when they do.

The one addition would be–after teaching a procedure–to ask your students to

SHOW YOU, rather than our usual inclination to just SHOW THEM.

If you have ever taken a computer course (or been coached on one, or a musical

instrument, or some athletic activity, or have had someone show you how to do

something), you have experienced what any learning involves: The activity must


Because we teach doesn’t mean students have learned. Much the same way that just

because we know what to do doesn’t mean we do it.

A wonderful school year!


You can post questions and learn more about the system at

the free user group (mailring support) at:



Learning a procedure for responding appropriately

to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link at



“I am so pleased with the program because children take

responsibility for themselves. I returned to public

education this year and was horrified by the stickers,

tickets, etc. that most teachers were using. It’s demeaning

to children.”

Megan Fettig, Pre-kindergarten Teacher Austin Independent

School District, Austin, Texas