Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – November 2011

Volume 11 Number 11


  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



Pursuing perfection often impedes improvement.
–George Will

This newsletter is a week later than usual due to my travels to Berlin and Munich in Germany and to Prague in the Czech Republic.

Whereas most cities in the world dedicate public displays to heroes, Berlin has hundreds of monuments and museums dedicated to victims of the Second World War.

There is no national school system in Germany. Each of the
16 states has it’s own system, and each differs as to its organizational structure.

For example, the school I visited in Berlin is referred to as a gymnasium. It is a university preparatory high school.
Courses range in length for either 45 minutes or 90 minutes, and students’ schedules vary each day.

In contrast, the school I visited in Munich is referred to as a comprehensive school (non-university preparatory) whose students range from grades 5 – 10. This is a city-run school, whereas most schools are run by the states.

Second language instruction starts when students are 8 years old. English is taught to by all students who take at least one other language. Spanish has recently become the second “common language” to learn. One of the gymnasium (high
school) students I interviewed was taking English, Spanish, as well as French.

As with so many schools these days, Germany’s schools are struggling financially.

The Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model http://marvinmarshall.com/teaching_model.html
has now been presented in 19 countries on five continents and in 44 of the United States.


The unabridged audio book of PARENTING WITHOUT STRESS http://parentingwithoutstress.com/ is available as an 8-disc set at http://marvinmarshall.com/shop/

or as a download at the iTunes store at

and at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/drmarvinmarshall


As the upcoming holidays of Thanksgiving in the U.S.A. and Christmas approach, Piper Press is offering a substantial discount on the 2nd Edition of “Discipline without Stress, Punishments or Rewards: How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning.” The book is described at http://www.DisciplineWithoutStress.com/

This limited offer of $20.00 (a 50% discount off the regular
$39.95 price) is only good while supplies last.

I received the following e-mail from a recent purchaser of the book from Amazon.com: “Your book on Amazon has a total of 27 reviews and they are all 5 stars reviews, so you must be doing something right.”

Go to http://marvinmarshall.com/shop and scroll down to this book. Click on “Add to cart” for the laminated hardcover book, then enter coupon code “2nd-Ed” to get your discount. There is no limit on the number of discounted copies anyone can purchase but the orders must be shipped to one address for multiple copies.


Here are common ways to influence people:

1. Coercion or force
Threat or punishment is the approach here.
This works as long as the threat is more powerful than
the desire to resist it.

2. Offering an incentive or reward
With young people, the incentives are generally those
that appeal for immediate satisfaction, rather than to
those that build responsible character development and
mature values.

This approach is commonly used in homes and schools to
get the young to do what the adult wants. It promotes a
mindset of, “What will I get for doing it?” and leads to
long-term selfishness–as many studies have demonstrated.

3. Cooperation
This is how most of us live our lives most of the
time–as when we stop at red lights, stand in lines
cooperatively, and respect others’ rights.

4. Appeal to one’s own self-interest
This is the most effective approach because it promotes
enthusiasm and commitment. People are most productive
when they realize that their efforts benefit themselves.
Interestingly, the third approach is also at work here in
that self-interest also results in more cooperation and

Many educators rely primarily on the first and second approaches. Using external and manipulative approaches is so well established that many educational leaders ask teachers, “What incentives are you using to influence your students?”

But this mindset of using external incentives completely ignores the intrinsic motivational approaches of curiosity, challenge, interest in the task, and enjoyment of learning.

Hopefully, with increasing knowledge of how the brain works, those responsible for building future citizens will move away from the first two approaches and toward the third and fourth approaches that promote responsibility.


There is a classic story of two monks on a journey.

One carried a woman over a muddy path, and later, the other complained about the woman’s ingratitude.

The first said, “You’re still carrying her? I set her down miles ago.”

You become more effective when–instead of focusing on negatives–you REDIRECT YOUR ATTENTION.

You will feel better, and your pleasant disposition will have a more positive effect on others.


The following discussions are about praise and a more effective alternative.


I have a question about using praise. Are there any guidelines for what would be effective vs. ineffective praise?


Here are two guidelines:

1. If you would not use the same praise to an adult, resist using it with a young person.

2. Eliminate starting with, “I’m so pleased that….” The inference is that the youngster’s motivation is please YOU.

Here is an alternative to praise: acknowledgments. They are more effective than praise and accomplish what you want without praise’s disadvantage.

(Please keep in mind, that I an NOT suggesting NEVER to use praise; just keep it to a minimum and acknowledge more.)

Saying, “I’m so proud of you for doing your work” implies that the student is doing the work to please you. “I see you did your work” acknowledges–without your judgment or evaluation. IT IS THE RECOGNITION THAT YOUNG PEOPLE (really


Can you give some examples of good praise for students who are on Level D or who are often cooperating with classroom procedures and expectations?


Praising Level D motivation is unnecessary and counterproductive. If you do, you will never know if, in the future, the youngster is acting to please you (Level C EXTERNAL motivation)–or because it is the right thing to do (Level D INTERNAL motivation).

You can never know another person’s motivation with certainty. Relating one’s motivation perhaps is necessary if you are writing a novel or solving a crime. However, assuming someone’s motivation in real life is often a guessing game and can lead to wrong conclusions. A typical example is when a young person does not follow the adult’s directive and the adult assumes the youngster is disobedient. But the young person had no intention of disobeying; the kid’s frustration directed the action.

I resist the temptation of guessing someone’s motivation. I explain the difference between “external motivation” (Level
C) and “internal motivation” (Level D) so the young can differentiate and choose their motivation.

Whether the adult asks a child to pick up the trash and the youngster does (EXTERNAL motivation) or if the young person takes the initiative to pick up the trash without being asked (INTERNAL motivation), the BEHAVIOR is identical; the trash has been picked up. The difference is in the MOTIVATION.

Being able to articulate the difference between “external”
and “internal” motivation is empowering and increases both choice and reflection.


One thing I want is to praise effort for high quality work.
I have a smart bunch, but they don’t often seem motivated to put forth full effort on tasks.


Many suggestions for creating motivation for quality work are given in the education book:
http://DisciplineWithoutStress.com/ As a starter, focus on creating curiosity and have a short discussion about the reason for the activity or lesson.


I was thinking of showing examples of really high quality work, without names, for class discussion. Would this be appropriate?


Yes! And have a discussion of not only what quality work looks like but also how to achieve quality so that students feel proud of their work.

This should be the discussion BEFORE an activity so students have a standard to aim for.


Here are five (5) ways for creating and keeping interest:

1. Create curiosity
2. Make it relevant
3. Ask questions
4. Use variety
5. Display enthusiasm/passion


Watch the video of Daniel Pink on incentives and the surprising truth about what motivates us. If you know anyone in any management or leadership position, share it. The video illustrates the fundamental approach of this newsletter.


The following are excerpts from Larry Ferlazzo’s October blog:

Eric Skoog asked: “How can you minimize unpredictable behaviors that negatively affect your classroom?”

I’m sure we all have experienced “unpredictable” (What a diplomatic way of phrasing it, Eric) student behaviors in our classes. The key question is how can we respond to them in positive ways that are helpful to the student exhibiting the behavior, to the rest of our students, and to our own sanity?

Dr. Marvin Marshall, one of the best known proponents of positive–not punitive–classroom management strategies shares a guest response. He writes, “We teachers need to always keep this question in mind: ‘Will what I am about to do or say bring me closer or will it push me away farther from the person with whom I am communicating?'”

I’ve long respected Dr. Marvin Marshall, author of “Discipline Without Stress, Punishment or Rewards.” His message of being proactive, positive, and promoting student autonomy has been a major influence on my own classroom management philosophy. He writes:

“The only practical way to minimize unpredictable negative behavior is to be proactive, rather than resorting to the usual reactive approach of responding after inappropriate student behavior.

“It seems rather obvious that teachers should teach expectations, and most teachers try by teaching rules. The problem is that rules are aimed at obedience, but obedience does not create desire. Teachers who rely on rules place themselves in the role of a cop to enforce rules rather than as a facilitator of learning.

“Rules are necessary in games but are counterproductive in the classroom because enforcement of a rule immediately creates adversarial relationships. A much more effective approach is for teachers to list responsibilities and keep them few and positive. These become expectations, a key characteristic of all successful teachers.

“Another crucial approach is to understand the differences between classroom management and discipline. Classroom management is about teaching procedures, practicing them, and reinforcing them until they become routine. The biggest mistake so many teachers make is to assume that students know what the teacher would like students to do without first establishing procedures. This is the key to making instruction efficient and is the teacher’s responsibility.

“Discipline is about the student’s behavior, self-discipline, and impulse control and is the student’s responsibility. The easiest way to minimize unpredictable negative behaviors is to let students know your procedure for dealing with them. This is in contrast to the usual approach of announcing the outcome (consequence) ahead of time.

“Just bring to your students’ attention the fact that we are all constantly making decisions. If a student chooses to act irresponsibly, then the student will decide on the consequence–pending approval of the teacher. In simple terms, the procedure is to elicit, rather than to impose.
The student created the problem, so the student owns the solution. A prime reason that this approach is so successful is that people do not argue with their own decisions.”



I have felt that DWS has enriched my life and has made my years as a teacher more successful than they would ever have been without it.

Tanis Carter
British Columbia, Canada


The PARENTING book: 

I was thrilled to read your book. It is full of simple, practical, logical advice for parents to guide children into making more thoughtful choices and leading to less stressful family environments.

Donna Rishor
Tucson, Arizona