Volume 5 Number 9
IN THIS ISSUE:
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
A Comment about the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
While presenting in Warren, New Jersey, I had the pleasure of meeting Vanita
Braver, M.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist. She recently sent me her
first two books from her planned nine book series, “Teach Your Children Well.”
Since the foundation of my approach is to foster responsibility and since I
present and keynote at many character education conferences, I was delighted
after reading these first two books from the series.
When Dr. Braver first showed me the manuscript, I sent her the following
Children who have low self-esteem are unhappy children. They are unhappy because
they think negative thoughts about themselves. An excellent approach to changing
this way of thinking is to expose them to stories that teach how doing the right
thing feels better than doing the wrong thing. Child and adolescent psychiatrist
Vanita Braver, M.D., has written a series of stories that inspire values of
character to accomplish this most challenging of tasks.
I highly recommend
“Teach Your Children Well” beginning with “Pinky Promise.”
“Pinky Promise” the first book, is a story illustrating the values of honesty.
“Party Princess,” the second book, is a story illustrating how a young girl
resolved her own conflict after getting herself into a messy situation.
Both books are designed for children from four to eight to teach values and
virtues that enhance both character development and emotional health. Part of
the proceeds for each delightfully illustrated and inexpensive book goes to the
Child Welfare League of America.
You can learn more about the books at
From an e-mail I received after presenting in Dearborn,
Michigan, last month:
Just yesterday, you taught the teachers at my school (The
Dearborn Academy) about several ways to increase
responsibility in our students. I am happy to tell you
that many teachers implemented their new skills in their
classes today. I used several myself. Two times today
students asked me what to do. I asked them what they
thought they should do. Both times they said that they
didn’t know, and both times I replied with, “Well if you
knew what to do, what would it be?”
I was happy to hear both of the students
exactly what they were supposed to do. It worked! I am
very thankful for your visit to our school. I think it
will be a great help for myself and my students.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
I read the following inscription on the back of a blouse worn by Bette
Blance, my host in the Gold Coast, Australia, while visiting Lamington National
Park on September 4, 2005:
“The success of the endeavours depends on how well
we get on together.”
William Glasser Institute
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
From a few e-mails recently received:
Your comment reminded me of a time when my son, Adam, was two years old. Every
thing out of his mouth was No, No, No! My husband had just had it with him and
said, “Adam, don’t you say ‘No’ to me again; I’ve had enough young man.” Adam
looked at him, full of steam and said, “NOT!” I couldn’t help but start
laughing. You are right. “Not” doesn’t have the same effect as “No.” Thanks for
bringing that back to mind.
As a teacher, I’ve been on a journey my whole 12-year
career and I’m finding parenting is a similar type of journey.
I am reading the book right now and have already tried some things on my 3-1/2
year old daughter this weekend. I have quite a strong-willed child who has hit
the terrible 3’s. (The 2’s were so much easier for my husband and me.) I’ve
always used choices with her, which makes life simpler, but I didn’t use
contingencies–just, “If you don’t clean up then you can’t go to the park.”
Saying, “If you clean up, you can go to the park,” sounds so much better and
works much faster with her. But I have to stop and think a great deal to decide
how I’m going to phrase things.
Just now as she sat on the floor with our pit bull–he just wants to be near her
but she treats him as a sibling–he’s touching me, he’s in my way, etc. She
started having a fit about him. I just told her very nonchalantly that if you
leave him alone you can stay in your spot. (She had a bed tray with her pizza on
it watching her favorite show.) She said nothing more and even cradled his head
and has been fine ever since. Before we would have gotten on her about being
nice to him, stop pushing him away, etc.
I told her earlier when she cleaned up her toys, we could go to the park. She’s
never moved so fast. It’s amazing!
“If I’ve told you once . . . .” Similarly, your talk
caused (MM: “prompted”) me to sit back and reflect, “Gee, now why didn’t I think
of that!” Heard that before? About a thousand times, I suppose.
Offering my 7-year old choices, rather than decrees, showed immediate positive
results! Thank you.
If you have some anecdote that I can include in my
parenting book, please don’t be shy. Share an incident with me.
I thank you–and so will readers of my future parenting book.
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
20th century parent to child:
“Eat your food; think of all the starving people in India
21st century parent to child:
“Do your homework–or someone in India or China may get
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.
I am starting this system next week. I have the ABCD poster on the wall. But
what I need is a list of verbal prompts for me to post, such as “Oops, what
shall we do now?” Otherwise, it’s easy to fall back into old patterns of
telling–instead of asking–or imposing, instead of eliciting a solution.
Anybody have such a thing? I am so excited to try this–but
From a post by Kerry:
One of the most challenging things about moving to the RRSystem is remembering
to use the three principles of being positive, asking (rather than telling), and
empowering by giving choices.
It doesn’t happen overnight, and I don’t think anyone will tell you that you can
be an expert when first starting. We’re all struggling to change previous
mindsets, to pause before we blurt out automatic phrases that are negative, to
get rid of those “old teacher stares,” and to be proactive instead of reactive.
It’s not easy, so just try to take the pressure off yourself by not expecting
perfection. That route leads to discouragement.
Instead, just set little goals for yourself. For instance, try for an hour to
always respond with a question instead of telling students things. Whenever
someone in your class wants to know something, or you want to tell them
something, or whenever someone asks you something, see if you can respond with a
For example, if a child says, “I found this staple on the floor, what should I
do with it?” Ask… “Oh, where would that go?” Or if someone leaves their shoes
on the floor of the cloakroom, bring the child over and ask, “Do you see
anything that you might need to do here?” Or if someone asks to go for a drink
right after recess time, ask, “Is this the time for us to get drinks? When was
the time for drinks?”
Try to build choice into the day. This gets you into the habit of using choices
so that it will come more naturally during discipline situations. Besides,
giving choices to students on a regular basis makes the day more interesting for
them. By engaging them through the power of making little decisions, they become
more interested in being in the classroom. When they are focused on doing
constructive things, misbehaviour is less of an issue. Because they are focused
on making choices instead of focused on, “I really don’t want to do this,” life
will be smoother for you. My partner, Darlene, is really a master at this. She’s
always finding ways to build some choice for the kids into every activity.
For instance, on the morning when it was time to make a cover for a bee report
that each child had made step by step in class, she put three colours of poster
board up on the chalkboard for the kids to indicate which colour they wanted.
She put a question above it asking, “Which colour do you want for your cover?”
The kids put up their graphing marker (just a name tag with a magnetic strip on
the back). At lunch she cut the covers according to their preferences and after
lunch they made the cover. By giving them that little choice in the morning,
they were already primed to be interested in the afternoon because they had some
personal investment in that cover. In the past, we would have had cut all the
covers in just one colour. You’d be surprised how giving them such a little bit
of power, focuses them on WANTING to do a project.
When we did a dragons and castles unit, she had them make dragons in a
particular art style. In order to introduce some measure of choice, she had them
each decide if they would make and then write about a dragon from the Eastern
tradition (from Asia) or from the western tradition. In the past, she would have
decided which type of dragon everyone would focus on. One day everyone would
have done an Eastern dragon and the next day everyone would do a Western dragon.
Because of the understandings we’re gaining from the RRSystem, this year she
discussed both types first and then offered choices. She mentioned to me how
much more the kids were interested in the whole assignment than in previous
years and how excited they were by their being able to choose one kind of dragon
or the other. Our reluctant writers were re-directed from their usual reluctance
toward writing. Instead of focusing on, “I can’t write” or “I don’t want to
write,” they were busy choosing which dragon they cared to write about. Building
in little choices engages students. Darlene always asks herself in EVERY SINGLE
LESSON now, “How can I give them some little choice?” It’s really kind of
amazing. It just takes a little conscious decision to think about giving choices
when planning lessons.
Saying things in a positive way IS a challenge! This requires discipline on the
teacher’s part, especially if you’re finding that you have a lot of negative
responses from the past glued in your brain! Make use of Marv’s impulse chart
Before you respond in any way… take a breath and THINK first. It isn’t easy at
first, but it does come more naturally once you force yourself to practice. For
me personally, this is the hardest of the three principles. Once again, set
yourself a small goal. Can I go for 30 minutes and respond with positivity to
everything that happens (even negative things)? Taking the pause to consider
what you’re going to say is the key!
A long time ago, I posted some questions that we have found successful with
various kids along the way during the “Checking for Understanding Phase” of the
RRSystem. I’ll repost them here for you, in case they’re useful to you:
Some reflective questions that we find work for us:
–Is this going to get you what you want?
–Is this going to move you forward or backward?
–What can I do to help you?
–Are you going to let this (situation, person, problem, setback,
disappointment etc.) hold you back?
–Are you going to be able to rise above this_______(situation,
–Look at _______’s face. How is he/she feeling right now as a result of
(what you have done/said)?
–Are you making a friend or pushing a friend away?
–What would a ________ (mature, kind, reliable, responsible, extraordinary)
person do now?
–Now that you’ve __________, how can you repair the situation?
–Think, when you _____________what kind of a relationship are you creating
with ________(me? the Noon Hour Supervisor? other kids? the adults in the
–What kind of impression are you making on all the people here when you
_______? Is this the impression you want to make?
–Can you picture yourself doing_______(a very specificprocedure)?
–When you __________what pictures are you creating about yourself in the
mind of your (friends? teachers? adults in our school?)
–Is what you’re doing going to make you happy in the long run? Is there a
–Here’s an opportunity for you to _____________(act on a high level, try a
new challenge, be a kind friend, show some initiative etc.)
–If you continue down this path of doing what you’re doing, what will
–Does it feel as if we’re moving forward here, or does if feel as if we’re
stuck? What would you have to do if you wanted to move forward in this
–Would you be willing to try that again at a higher level?
–Would you like another opportunity to do that again at a higher level?
–Would you be kind enough to allow ________the opportunity to try that
again at a higher level?
–Is what you’re doing __________(safe? on a high level? kind? appropriate?
–How might you feel if someone else did that to you?
–Who do you want to be in charge of you or have someone else boss you?
–Who do you want to be your boss?
–Think to yourself of someone in our class who generally operates on a very
high level. What would that person do now in your situation?
–When a child is ready to give up too soon: If you feel you can’t do any
more right now, when can you
plan to do it?
–After someone has acknowledged Level B behaviour: Do you want me to be a
Level B teacher? What would a Level B teacher probably do now? Is this what
you would like me to do? What can you do so that I don’t have to be a Level
Focusing on obedience aims at physical and superficial
aspects of behavior. In contrast, the Raise Responsibility
System aims at the brain’s cognition–which, in turn,
prompts emotion and empowerment. For example, someone
compliments you and a positive feeling follows. In contrast,
when someone blames, criticizes, complains, nags, threatens,
or punishes you, a negative feeling erupts.
Empowerment has a positive effect and can create commitment
whereas obedience rarely creates commitment. It is a simple
fact of life that OBEDIENCE DOES NOT CREATE DESIRE.
The Raise Responsibility System actuates people to WANT to
behave appropriately and WANT to put forward effort to
You can post questions and learn more about the system at
the free user group (mailring support) at:
IMPULSE MANAGEMENT POSTERS and CARDS
Learning a procedure for responding appropriately
to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link at
A Comment about THE RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
“This should be a required course of study in every
collegiate education major curriculum.”
Al Herring, Principal
Plain Dealing Elementary School, Plain Dealing, LA