Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – April 2013

Volume 13 Number 4


  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




Ninety-seven percent of what occurs in organizations cannot be measued but must be managed anyway. –W. Edwards Deming


Upcoming Public Seminars: 
April 22 Phoenix, Arizona
April 23 Denver, Colorado 
April 24 Billings, Montana 
April 25 Salt Lake City, Utah
April 26 Portland, Oregon 

Contact Bureau of Education & Research to receive a brochure and/or to register: 800.735.350.



Thirty-five Atlanta public schools educators and administrators were recently indicted in connection with alleged cheating on standardized testing.

The alleged cheating is believed to date back to early 2001, according to the indictment, when standardized testing scores began to turn around in the 50,000-student school district.

According to the indictment, the superintendent placed unreasonable goals on educators and protected and rewarded those who achieved targets by cheating. It also alleges she fired principals who failed to achieve goals and ignored suspicious test score gains throughout the school system.

A state review determined that some cheating had occurred in more than half of the district’s elementary and middle schools. About 180 teachers were initially implicated in the scandal of what was once touted as a model for the nation’s school districts after its test scores dramatically improved in some of Atlanta’s toughest schools.

The superintendent was named the “National Superintendent of the Year” in 2009, which noted her “leadership has turned Atlanta into a model of urban school reform.”

When I learned of the indictment, the following immediately came to my mind:

1. The superintendents’ association based the success of schools primarily on standardized test scores–which are neither valid nor reliable for assessing student accountability or assessment in learning.

2. The source of the problem is the system. As W. Edwards Deming, the universally renowned guru for quality has frequently noted, the cause for most of the problems is the fault of the system, rather than of the employees. The Atlanta school district is a typical example. The system prompts cheating in order for the principals to survive.

3. In the 1990’s, Houston Superintendent of Schools, Rod Paige, made principals accountable for the dropout rate and for their school’s test scores. When those two criteria did not improve, Paige fired the school administrators. Scores suddenly shot up at schools all over the district. Some schools made incredible progress with both the dropout rate and student achievement scores. President George W. Bush thought he had found “the magic bullet” to reform America’s public schools. He appointed Rod Paige as U.S. Secretary of Education from 2001-2005. However, the improvement turned out to be based on lies and fabrication. Houston had not improved its scores or its dropout rate.

4. As long as schools base success on competition, rankings, and imvalid measuremts–rather than on empowerment and collaboration–cheating will continue to be rampant. The current system promotes it.

As I reflect on my recent visit to France, a few bits of information stand out.

Although France and the United States have much in common, the cultures have many differences. Perhaps the most striking are the differences in emphasis on initiative and responsibility.

For example, here is a question that was posed in a survey: “Whose responsibility is it to pick up dog droppings?” The responses indicated that most French people thought it was the government’s responsibility.

In other words, the initiative is put on the government, rather than on individual citizens.

France has a mandated 35-hour workweek, along with 12 holidays and five (5) weeks of paid vacation–AND it is illegal in France to hold two jobs. 

France is a wonderful place to visit. If you do, put the old Roman city of Avignon, the walled medieval city of St. Paul de Vence, and the French Riviera on your itinerary.


I received the communication below. My responses are indented.

I am a school psychologist in a 750+ elementary school with 85% poverty. We have a Responsive Classroom / PBS model.

I came across your site when researching a behavior model for our behavior rooms. My only concern is that we do not use the word “bully” under the PBIS model because it insinuates the use of an inappropriate behavior.

   I also never use the term “bully.” The term “bullyING” (verbal form) is used to show that acting on this level is a choice, to indicate that this level (Level B) is not acceptable, and to avoid calling a person a “bully.

We focus on teaching the correct behavior rather than showing how the incorrect behavior looks. (I would more than likely show what bullying behavior looks like and explain it through behavior rather than labeling.) 

Can we use your model without using the term bullying?

  Sure. Use other terms, such as “Bothering Others,” “Behaving Poorly,” and “Bossing Others”–as long as the first letter is a “B.” ONCE THE CONCEPTS ARE INTRODUCED, REFERENCE IS NEVER MADE TO THE WORD–ONLY TO THE LETTER in the hierarchy.

Would this work against your research or efficacy in implementation?

   Not necessarily. But the impact would not be as significant. Since bullying is a problem, I address it to empower kids. In essence, I teach that if anyone bullies, that person has a problem. What young person wants to be know by peers as having a problem? 

   See http://marvinmarshall.com/the-raise-responsibility-system/using-the-hierarchy-to-reduce-bullying/

   From my viewpoint, your approach is missing an opportunity to address a very significant problem that young people deal with.

   I have included a few additional points that makes teaching the Hierarchy of Social (and personal) Development so empowering.

   The power of the hierarchy is that it separates the student from the behavior–the act from the actor, the deed from the doer, a good kid from an irresponsible act. As long as reference is made to the child, the youngster will naturally and automatically self-defend. How do you get around this? In the Discipline without Stress (DWS) approach, we never talk about a child’s behavior. We completely eliminate the problem by having the youngster refer to an UNACCEPTABLE level of BEHAVIOR (Level A or B) or a level of MOTIVATION (Level C–internal motivation) or (Level D–external motivation).

   (Please note that Level C and Level D are most often referred to in order to have students be aware of their motivation. This is one reason that the systen promotes motivation to improve both behavior learning.)

   Finally, DWS does not use logical or natural consequences–in contrast to your other programs. As long as a consequence is IMPOSED, it is coercive and BASED ON THE IDEA THAT THE YOUNG PERSON HAS TO BE HARMED TO LEARN. I don’t believe this. Imposing (in contrast to eliciting) also harms relationships. For a more successful approach, see http://www.Marvinmarshall.Com/eliciting/


I had previously referred to the “Alexander Technique” ttp://www.marvinmarshall.com/posture-training-and-discipline/ and have since been asked to explain more about it.

The Alexander technique is a psychophysical re-education of the body and the brain. Alexander taught that a person has to control thinking in order for the body to act at its optimum. In essence, the technique has to do with the development of conscious learning to affect the body.

His approach and technique is concerned with undoing poor body habits. He found that this requires a willingness to suspend judgment relating to his feelings.

Alexander started his movement because he felt that what he was doing with his body was incorrect. By studying his posture and movement before speaking, he discovered that his sense or FEELING WAS UNRELIABLE. He started to practice receiving a stimulus and refusing to do anything regarding an immediate response. He referred to this process as “inhibition.” He believed that OUR FEELINGS ARE NOT TRUSTWORTHY. Alexander continually referred to this as the power of choice.

Specifically, the Alexander approach–as he practiced and taught it regarding speaking–was to (1) inhibit the immediate response to speak a sentence, thereby stopping at its source any uncoordinated movement. (2) He consciously practiced projecting the direction necessary for his improvement. He would think of letting his neck free by having it go forward and upward. (Think of raising the lump in the back of your head.) When the head is going forward and up, the whole torso lengthens and widens. 

3) He would continue to practice this until he was confident that he could maintain his body control while speaking. (4) At the moment he was going to speak, he would stop again and consciously consider where he was in the process. In other words, he would leave himself free to perform another action, such as lifting an arm, walking, or simply remaining still, but whatever he chose to do he would continue to project the directions for the new pattern.

He found that by paying attention to the quality of his action, rather than to a specific goal, Alexander began to free himself from his previous movements that FELT RIGHT but were hindering his success.

Put succinctly, the key is inhibition and direction; in other words, think first to inhibit then direct.

During Alexander’s lifetime, John Dewey, George Bernard Shaw, and Aldous Huxley among many other notables of his day implemented and applauded his technique. Tony Buzan (the developer of mind mapping) was a devoted advocate, and thousands of actors train in the Alexander Technique.


Never laugh at your partner’s choices; you are one of them.


The apostles of Pavlov overlooked the fact that human beings have a far greater capacity for choice and decision-making than do members of the canine species.

J.B. Watson was the father of behaviorism. Since he could not measure intntion or motivation, he gave little attention and significance to it. Instead, Watson stressed activity–behavior itself–as an end product.

To the behaviorist, if something cannot be weighed or measured, it is unworthy of study. For example, “internal motivation” has no place in the behaviorist’s world. Even so, behaviorism in the form of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is now mandated in many U.S. schools. 

In the process of ignoring that which cannot be measured, we are also ignoring the link between values and learning. One need only think of Nazi Germany or Communist Russia to see what learning without values can lead to. 

One of the most interesting books written on the relationship between learning and values is David Patterson’s, “When Learned Men Murder,” published in 1966 by the Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation in Bloomington, Indiana.


Many parents struggle with getting younger children to sleep. Children want to stay up as late as the adults, even though their tired bodies are yearning for sleep. 

If your child is resisting bed time, try the following approach. Have the youngster talk about what was enjoyed during the day. By reflecting on something good, the child will go to sleep in a pleasant mood.

Then have the youngster talk while lying down because more effort will be exerted than if the youngster were sitting or standing up. After the child finishes, speak or read in a soft volume. Exerting effort by talking, and then relaxing by listening, prompts sleepiness.


I’m writing to you on behalf of my group members. We attend the University of Northern Iowa and are giving a presentation about how to implement your method in the classroom. We had a few questions for you if you have time to answer them.

1. What do you believe are the most important steps in your theory?

Three practices on the “Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model” that you can find at http://MarvinMarshall.com/ Click on the second blue link–TEACHING–and then print the teaching model to give to all of you fellow students.

   In a nutshell, speak to your students in positive ways; always offer them choices to reduce coercion; and learn how to ask reflective questions–since you can never change anyone but yourself. If there is going to be any change it is going to start with what you do–or stop doing.

2. When and how did you begin developing your theory?

I returned to the classroom after 24 years in counseling and administration and discovered that the current generation was not nearly as responsible as former generations. Parents were afraid of their kids, graffiti was rampant, and there was a tremendous amount of disrespect toward teachers by students. More on this is and what I did is at http://marvinmarshall.com/the-raise-responsibility-system/

3. What is the main objective of your theory?

Promoting responsibility so students WANT to behave appropriately and responsibly and WANT to put forth effort in their learning.

4. As future educators, what advice would you give us?

Go to http://MarvinMarshall.com/ and read everything under the link “TEACHING” and the link entitled “DISCIPLINE.”

   Remember to talk with students in positive and in empowering ways. Always give them at least two choices, and learn to ask reflective questions so they will self-evaluate and correct themselves.

   Always keep in mind that your success will depend upon how you motivate your students and your relationships with them.

   Congratulations on joining one of the most important of all professions. Every professional in every profession was taught by teachers.


I get refreshed and motivated each month from reading your newsletter. I value and often share the anecdotes which pepper the newsletter. It’s a continual process of reorienting students and ourselves with this reflective method. I ponder my interactions with students to see if I am helping them to be dependent or independent. Thank you. C. Hawkins Turlock, California


I first heard about your book, Discipline Without Stress, from our children’s elementary school. The first grade teacher started using it when my younger son started first grade and was having tremendous success. She sang your praises to everyone every chance she got and eventually had the whole school using the system in their classrooms. Mary Beth Cance Tequesta, Florida


The PARENTING book: 

My children are now 8 and 10 and I am looking for some new ideas for discipline at home. I remembered Marvin Marshall and his method for the classroom, so I checked the website and was very happy to find a new book on parenting as well as a newsletter. I am really looking forward to reading both and beginning to use the concepts right away. Thanks for all the great insights! Mary Beth Cance Tequesta, Florida