Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – February 2010

Volume 10 Number 2


  1. Welcome
  2. Promoting Responsibility
  3. Increasing Effectiveness
  4. Improving Relationships
  5. Promoting Learning
  6. Parenting
  7. Discipline without Stress (DWS)
  8. Testimonials and Research



Motivation for learning is voluntary.
It must be invited.
It cannot be demanded, forced, or coerced.


My blog is now fully operational. Since the article are aimed at promoting responsibility and learning, the blog carries the same name as this monthly newsletter. If you would like to have the short posts delivered to your mailbox, submit your e-mail address and follow the directions under “GET NOTIFIED ABOUT NEW ARTICLES” at http://www.Responsibility-Learning.com.


The book, “Parenting Without Stress,” is now listed on Amazon.com. Testimonials on this site are very important.

Please link to Amazon.com and search under “books.” Then enter “Marvin Marshall.” Both of my books will appear.
Please notice the number of five-star comments for my discipline book. I would like to repeat this rating for the parenting book, and this is where you can help.

Click on the link for the parenting book and then scroll way down until you come to the link “Customer Reviews” in bold print on the left. Then please submit your testimonial.

Thanks again and please spread the word.


I received an e-mail from a teacher who is starting an unconventional public high school in the Boston area.

He writes: “Students can develop their intellect so much further when their whole school is designed to nurture their curiosity. Intrinsic motivation, choice, and persuasion get the best results in young minds, especially when the whole school creates a climate that makes students happy to be there each day.”

He’s looking for people who want to join in.

You can learn more at:
http://www.callforcollaborators.com and at http://www.callforcollaborators.com/call/proposedhighschool.html


My favorite assumption story, assumption being the cause of so many failures:

Customers of a bank in Singapore began withdrawing their money in frenzy. The run on the bank was a mystery; the bank was solvent. What turned out to be the reason was a bus strike that morning that had an abnormally large number of people standing outside the bank waiting for the bus.

Bank customers saw the large number of people and ASSUMED they were withdrawing their money–and then joined them.

Here is another assumption–one that has had a devastating affect on teaching and parenting. It’s from John B. Watson, the founding father of a field of psychology referred to as “behaviorism”–the theory that behavior can be predicted and controlled. Watson’s ASSUMPTION was that all behavior can be explained by environment. This “school of psychology” was made popular by the Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner.
Unfortunately, the use of this theory is still being implemented in many schools and homes in the 21st century.

Here is what Watson believed:

“Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-informed and my
own specified world to bring them up in, and I will
guarantee to take any one at random and train him to
become any type of specialist I might select–
doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, beggar-man,
and thief–regardless of his talents, penchants,
tendencies, abilities, vocations, or ancestors. I am
going beyond my facts and I admit it, but so have the
advocates of the contrary and they have been doing it
for many thousands of years.” Behaviorism (1930), p. 82

In essence, Watson believed that environments, rewards, punishments, and positive and negative reinforcements can control the entire world. Fortunately, many are now asserting the falsity of the ASSUMPTION that behaviorism is the most effective way to induce behavior change.

I recently received the following e-mail:

Hi Marv,

I find it interesting that Daniel Pink’s new book,
“Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,”
is getting so much press, and he is speaking at all the
big educational conferences.

I think he repackaged Discipline Without Stress.

Take care, my friend, Steve

Stephen R. Sroka, Ph.D.,
President, Health Education Consultants
Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University

(Dr. Sroka delivers cutting edge research to promote responsibility so that students can learn more and live

Daniel Pink, is a former speech writer for Al Gore and author of the best sellers “A Whole New Mind” and “Free Agent Nation.” Some of Pink’s ideas from his new book:

Work isn’t always fun. That’s why it’s called work. But you might enjoy showing up at the job more if your boss did a better job of motivating you. Most managers get it all wrong. They’re still focused on the old-fashioned carrot-and-stick approach to drive employees, rewarding good work with pay, benefits or promotions.

Pink, calls this technique “Motivation 2.0” It replaced “Motivation 1.0,” the ancient human drive to merely survive.

Motivation 2.0 is based on two ideas: Rewarding an activity will get you more of it, and punishing an activity will get you less of it. Think of these motivators as “if-then.” If you make more widgets and make them faster, then you’ll get a raise. Motivation 2.0 centers on what Pink calls “Type X”
behavior where people are incentivized mostly by external rewards.

He maintains that Motivation 2.0 often is not only ineffective in today’s working world but that it can lead to bad business behavior or worse. He cites “seven deadly flaws” to using carrots and sticks at work: They can extinguish motivation; diminish performance; crush creativity; crowd out good behavior; encourage cheating, shortcuts, and unethical behavior such as the type seen at Enron; become addictive; and foster short-term thinking. He argues that Motivation 2.0 is partly responsible for the economic chaos of 2008. Mortgage brokers, for instance, were so hungry for commissions that they made improper loans, which helped bring the nation’s banking system to its knees.

Pink’s message is that it’s time for a “full-scale upgrade”
to Motivation 3.0: Intrinsic rewards that play to the inherent satisfaction of the activity.


My comment: All behavior is affected by motivation. Inducing people to motivate themselves (as I have been writing for
years) is far more effective than any form of “external”
approach. How this is done with youth is described in the Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model at http://marvinmarshall.com/teaching_model.html


I recently read about Dean Cromwell, the track coach of the University of Southern California from 1912 until his retirement in 1949. No other coach in collegiate track has ever approached his records. His teams won 21 national championships, had 13 world record holders, and at least one of his proteges won an Olympic gold medal during his 39-year coaching career.

Cromwell was a master at getting people to believe in themselves and getting phenomenal performances from his athletes.

He believed in always keeping everyone in an optimistic mood. Yet, he didn’t give fiery pep talks. He always kidded on the “upside, never on the downside.” He never made fun of anyone–never a putdown, but always a buildup.

This highly successful coach believed that all athletes (read everyone) would try harder when they are seeking to live up to someone else’s image of them. For example, one year he had champion pole vaulter named Bill Sefton. He also had an unproven sophomore vaulter, Earle Meadows. Every time Sefton improved his own mark, Dean Cromwell would tell Meadows, “You can do it if Bill can.” One day Sefton broke the world’s record. A few minutes later Meadows tied it.

The point: Pump up a person’s good feelings if you want that person to succeed.


Just a little tap on the shoulder
Just a little smile, warm and bright.
Just a little word of hope and cheer
And a heavy heart grows light.

Just a little love and affection,
Suddenly a sad heart sings.
Little things–did I say that?
There are no LITTLE things.

‘Tis true. It’s the little things in life that really mean the most to all of us.


The following is from Fiddler on the Roof:

The house lights dim, the curtain sweeps back. On the Broadway stage is a strange sight: A fiddler seated on the roof of a house. Slowly, the man begins to play a melancholy tune as he sways back and forth, balancing precariously on the high rooftop.

Tevye, the play’s main character, explains to the audience:
“Each of us is a fiddler on the roof attempting to scratch out a simple, pleasant tune without falling off.”

“It isn’t easy,” Tevye says with a shrug. “You may ask, why do we stay up here if it’s so dangerous?. . .and how do we keep our balance?”

“I can tell you in a word. . .Tradition.”

Tradition was the means by which his people coped with life.
For them, tradition extended everywhere: how they ate, slept and even wore their clothing. Tradition was their way of making decisions and solving problems. Their decisions would work as long they inherited the same problems. Tradition 1s a way of solving problems, coping with challenges, and transmitting values.

However, and here is the point, traditional approaches too often do not work in these days because we’re living in a world of new problems in a rapdily changing society.

Peter Drucker, the famous management guru once said, “People fail because of what they will not give up what has always worked–clearly after it has stopped working.”

For some interesting traditions used in homes and schools, many of which contribute to problems for youth, visit http://marvinmarshall.com/counterproductive_approaches.htm


Hello, my name is Madeline Harned and I’m a reporter for the Clayton, Missouri’s paper, “the Globe.” I’m writing an article about parent/teen relationships and I was wondering if you could answer these questions for me. Thanks!

What are healthy relationships between teens and their parents like?

Both parties have joy and little stress in the

What are some typical problems found in relationships between teens and their parents?

Too many parents try to control and make teenagers obey.
These parents aim at obedience and in return receive
resistance, resentment, and oftentimes rebellion.

What, if any, boundaries should there be between teens and their parents?

Parents should elicit the boundaries from the teen and
negotiate any disagreements.




Larry Ferlazzo has often referred to Discipline Without Stress on his website. The following link contains his recent interview with me. (It is also posted on my site at

Interview Of The Month: Marvin Marshall On Positive Classroom Management


Our elementary school uses Dr. Marshall’s method at our school, and my own three children respond to it and love it.
For that reason, I thought about buying Parenting Without Stress, and this decision was solidified when my children began talking about this method at home and explaining to me how it works. They enjoyed giving me daily updates on their behavior at school. They actually asked me if we could implement this at home! I am grateful to Dr. Marshall and Parenting Without Stress as it has finally provided something with which we parents and our children can both agree and thrive.

Lea Reed
Scotts Valley, California

Information about this transformative book is at http://parentingwithoutstress.org