Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – July 2010

Volume 10 Number 7


  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


Failure is merely an opinion that a given act wasn’t done successfully. As a natural phenomenon, there is no such thing as failure. –Michael LeBoef


The immense sculpture by Michael Pavlosvky in the foyer of the National Civil Rights Museum shows untold stories of thousands of people who lived and are still living civil rights movements.

The museum is adjacent to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The motel, the room, the balcony where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, and the building across the street from the motel where the assassin’s bullet was fired are all part of the museum.

While at the museum, I had the pleasure of speaking with the Rev. Samuel B. Kyles, pastor of the Monumental Baptist Church, who was standing with Dr. King on the balcony of the motel when Dr. King was shot.

Although the U.S.A civil rights struggle is still in some of our memories, to see all the recorded events displayed in one place in chronological order–and the struggle of peoples around the world–was a memorable experience.

When one reflects, it is almost amazing to realize how far the U.S.A has improved its race relations in just two generations.


The book that promotes responsibility and learning, “Discipline Without Stress – How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility and Learning,” will be offered at a 50% discount until the end of this month, July 31. (This does not apply to the electronic edition.)

The book is described at

To take advantage of this special offer, go to http://www.disciplinewithoutstress.com/deal/
and enter the code “DEAL” in the coupon box on the left to get your discount. NOTE: Insert DEAL in CAPITAL LETTERS.

The discounted price will show on the check-out page.

The discount is open to all (including international) readers of this newsletter.


The following is from an interview with Larry Ferlazzo http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/

You’ve been advocating for a more positive approach towards classroom management for quite awhile. What got you thinking about it originally, and how would you summarize it in a few sentences?

What had me thinking about it was that when I returned to the classroom after 24 years in counseling and administration, I realized that I was coming to school every day wearing a blue uniform and copper buttons. I had become a cop, which is not the reason I had returned to the classroom. Reflecting on how negative I was becoming, I searched for a new approach.

To summarize in a few sentences, we now know how the brain operates as it relates to emotions. First comes the cognition (input from our senses) and is then immediately asssociated with an emotion. For example, receive a compliment and you feel good. Be criticized and you feel bad. People do NOT do good when they feel bad. They do what you would like them to do when you communicate in positive terms. It is really quite simple: Let people know what you WOULD LIKE them to do, not want you do NOT want them to do.

What might be three key guidelines that a teacher could keep in mind, or on a small index card, to help remind him/her to stay more positive in the classroom?

1. Ask yourself, “Will the person hearing your communication interpret what you say in positive terms?”

2. Ask yourself, “Will the person feel as if I am using coercion in any way?”

3. Ask yourself, “What can I ASK so that the person will feel that I am giving a CHOICE and that I am prompting the person to REFLECT?

What are a few ways you think your perspective on positive classroom management distinguishes itself from many of the other “systems” that are out there?

I have a number of them that are listed at http://marvinmarshall.com/counterproductive_approaches.htm

However, if I were to limit them to two, here they are:

1. Don’t relay on rules. Rules are used to control, not inspire. I use the term “Responsibilities” because I want to promote responsibility, and this term raises expectations– something that relying on “rules” lacks.

2. Refrain from IMPOSING punishments–especially imposing the same consequence on all parties. This approach is unfair and counterproductive. ELICITING a procedure or a consequence from each participant is more fair, less stressful, and more productive for all.

You’ve done a fair amount of speaking to teachers in other countries. How would you describe the differences between how teachers in the U.S. tend to look at classroom management compared to those in other countries?

RESPONSE: Teachers in many other countries have more time to spend with each other in lesson planning. As a result, they focus on motivation and ways to have students WANT to put forth effort in learning. Teachers in the U.S. are allowed little if any of their employment time to plan lessons. They focus on what they (or the government) want taught and focus on teaching that curriculum–with hardly any time devoted to motivation. Teachers expect that it is the students’
responsibility to learn what has been presented to them.

What are a few key mistakes do you think teachers tend to make around classroom management?

1. They ASSUME students know what the teacher wants the students to do WITHOUT first modeling, practicing, and reinforcing the procedure to do what is being taught.

2. They confuse classroom management (teaching procedures to make instruction efficient) with discipline (how students behave).

3.They assume that discipline is naturally negative. Not necessarily so! The best discipline is the type where the person doesn’t even realize that discipline is being employed.

What are some of the most useful things you’ve learned recently, and how did you learn them?

1. Coercion in any form is counterproductive.

2. Anyone can learn the skill of asking reflective question to inspire self-reflection.

Is there anything else you’d like to share that I haven’t asked you about?

Understand that no one can change another person. People change themselves, and the LEAST EFFECTIVE way to have a person WANT to change is by using commonly used EXTERNAL approaches–such as relying on rules and using threats.

Change ALWAYS starts with what YOU do to INFLUENCE others in a noncoercive manner.


My pleasure!


The lesson from two lemonade stands:

The first stand is run by two kids. They use lemonade, paper cups, and a bridge table. It’s a decent lemonade stand, one in the long tradition of standard lemonade stands. It costs a dollar to buy a cup, which is a pretty good price, considering you get both the lemonade and the satisfaction of knowing you supported two kids.

The other stand is different. The lemonade is free, but there’s a big tip jar. When you pull up, the owner of the stand beams as only a proud eleven year old girl can beam.
She takes her time and reaches into a pail filled with ice and lemons. She pulls out a lemon. Slices it. Then she squeezes it with a clever little hand juicer.

The whole time that she is squeezing, she is also talking to you, sharing her insights (and yes, her joy) about the power of lemonade to change your day. She’s in no real hurry.
Lemonade doesn’t hurry, she says. It gets made the right way or not at all. Then she urges you to take a bit less sugar, because it tastes better that way.

While you’re talking, a dozen people who might have become customers drive on by because it appears to take too long.
You don’t mind, though, because you’re engaged, almost entranced. A few people pull over and wait in line behind you.

Finally, once she’s done, you put $5 in the jar because your free lemonade was worth at least twice that. Well, maybe the lemonade itself was worth $3, but you’d happily pay again for the transaction. It touched you.

Which entrepreneur do you think has a brighter future.

Thanks to Seth Godin.


After working out the resolution to a problem (which is quite easy when using solving circles), say two words to clean the air: “Fresh Start.”


The typical human brain can hold about seven pieces of INFORMATION (in contrast to experiences) for less than 30 seconds. If the information is to be remembered longer than a few minutes or even a few hours, the learner will need to be continually re-exposed to that information.
Neuroscientists refer to this as “maintenance rehearsal.”
This repetition will keep the information in short-term memory.

There are two effective ways to transfer the information from short-term memory to long-term memory: (1) elaborate rehearsal and (2) timed repetition.

1. Elaborate rehearsal is when the learner is re-exposed to the information IMMEDIATELY after the initial exposure.

2. Timed repetition is when the exposure is performed at SPECIFIC INTERVALS. The continuous repetition cycles create experiences that maintain the information.

In short, learning occurs best when new information is incorporated gradually, rather than when it is jammed all at once.



I have been reading PARENTING WITHOUT STRESS this summer and am committed to applying these techniques with my sons ages
6 and 4. My oldest son is very good at math but resistant to practicing his language arts. The source of his problem seems to be that he feels he is not “the best” or “perfect”
in this area. I explained to him that he needed to allow himself to learn using an example of how I would need to learn if I wanted to fly an airplane.

While I will continue these efforts at home, I would like to also send him to a tutor this summer who employs your techniques. Do you have a list of tutors or teachers in the metro Atlanta area who use your methods?



I do not have a list of tutors; however, a tutor does not need to know the PARENTING WITHOUT STRESS approach.

Emphasize two thoughts to your son:

1. No one can be perfect and learn at the same time.

2. A person’s self-talk is the most important factor in success. A victim’s self-talk will be something like, “I’M NOT SURE IF I CAN DO IT.” The successful person’s self-talk is, “HOW CAN I DO IT?”

Some people need to believe in someone else’s faith in them before their own faith kicks in. So keep asking your son questions that prompt him to reflect on his successes. The successes can be in any area. His positive self-talk will transfer to his language arts concern.


Kerry shared the following:

I was talking with a friend who told me this story. Recently she had been chatting with a man who coaches soccer teams of
8 and 9 year olds. He mentioned that this year he’d had a lot of difficulty in getting his players to work together as a team.

My friend, an experienced teacher started to offer some suggestions. She knew of many activities that might encourage teamwork, but the man quickly stopped her.

“Oh, you don’t understand,” he said. “It’s not the KIDS who are the problem; it’s the parents! The parents have all promised their children that they’ll get two dollars every time they score a goal. The kids are so intent on getting points–ALL ON THEIR OWN–that I can’t get them to pass the ball; it doesn’t matter what I do! It’s so bad I even had to hold a special parent meeting to say, ‘Stop paying your kids so I can create a team!'”

Apparently, it’s not just DWS teachers who recognize the negative impact of rewarding!

Rewards change motivation. It’s as simple as that!

Kerry in British Columbia, Canada


More of Kerry’s posts are available at


I purchased your book three years ago and it has changed my life. I use your techniques daily.

Laurel McNeil
Los Altos, CA