Volume 1 Number 3
This week’s edition is arriving a few days earlier than the usually scheduled second Friday of each month. The reason is that I will be in Kuala Lumpur as guest of the Minister of Education presenting a three-day staff development program to educators in Malaysia.
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Promoting Responsibility
- Increasing Effectiveness
- Improving Relationships
- Your Questions Answered
- Your Reaction, Please
- Public Seminars
- What Others Are Saying About The Book
“DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS, PUNISHMENTS or REWARDS
How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning”
Welcome to another academic year of test madness where children are losing their childhood and where youngsters as young as third graders are demonstrating anxiety in increasing numbers.
Business, government, and –unfortunately — even educational leaders have fallen into the simplistic approach that accountability equals test scores. Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the American who brought true quality to the workplace and who was a statistician by training, commented that the most important characteristics cannot be measured.
Here are some characteristics which make for success that high-stake testing do not measure: creativity, thinking, motivation, ambition, persistence, humor, reliability, politeness, enthusiasm, civic-mindedness, self-discipline, self-awareness, empathy, leadership, and compassion. The most important characteristic has not been mentioned — and here is how you can have some fun with it.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
(11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5) = 96,
(8+1+18+4+23=15+18+11) = 98.
Both are important, but both fall short of 100.
The most important factor, however, hits the magic mark, viz.,
(1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5) = 100.
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
The civilized world was dealt a severe blow on September 11 (911).
This is a moment of moral clarity for the United States. During the last few decades, we have been a nation that has questioned whether good and evil, right and wrong, true and false really exist. Some have questioned whether one nation’s moral values are better than another’s.
Last month, we have clearly seen the face and felt the hand of evil. Moral clarity should bring with it the responsibility to identify an evil act. Good and evil have really never gone away; we merely had the luxury to question their existence.
Although it is always interesting to analyze motives, one is judged by what one does. Judgment of behavior is critical — not the motivation, justification, or rationalization.
We should teach young people (and sometimes, ourselves) that regardless of how we feel — regardless of our emotions — we are judged on our behavior. Using accurate and precise language clarifies behavior. Call the attack what it was — evil.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
One of the most effective practices is to listen as if you were the other person who is talking.
For example, looking at a situation from my wife’s point of view benefits me. We settle what could be a disruptive situation a lot quicker and more effectively than if I looked at the situation only from my point of view.
This is a conscious choice that I make. When I do this, I get better results than when I do not. I practice an alertness to situations where I can employ this technique so that it becomes a “habit of mind,” as Dr. Art Costa refers to it.
I feel good when I take charge of my own behavior because I feel that I am more in control.
This strategy means that I set aside some of my own views and redirect some of my impulsive reactions. It means that I ask reflective questions. It means I empathize. These skills require practice. Furthermore, there is a commitment — a trying to get better at it.
After the conversation with my wife, I look back and reflect: “Did I do a good job?” “Could I have done it better?” “What might I do better next time when we have one of these situations?” “What procedure will I follow to be sure that I implement my intentions?
One of the beautiful characteristics of being human is the opportunity for continual improvement.
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
We are trained in a deficit model — to fix what is wrong. In a very real sense, our attention is geared at fixing others.
After a meeting with teachers, the student said to his mother, “Why didn’t they talk more about my social studies — what I am good at instead of what I am not good at. All they want to do is fix what is wrong with me.”
The mother responded by saying, “They are trying to help you.”
The student retorted, “No, they are trying to fix me.”
Such are the perceptions of the parent and child. What should it be for the teacher? The answer lies in the question, “What optimizes learning?”
Great teachers know that learning is based on motivation and that someone is motivated to do positive things when feeling good, not when feeling bad.
By building on interests and strengths, we tap into positive motivation. For example, the teacher acknowledges Stacey’s skill for analyzing social situations. The teacher then challenges Stacey to bring that same analytical talent to math or English and concludes with an empowering statement such as, “I know you can apply that skill in other subject areas.”
We should be building on people’s strengths as a path for their improvement in other areas.
I am not saying we should ignore the negative or not call attention to what needs improvement. But people get to success through assets, rather than through liabilities. This is especially the case with so many students at risk who have perceptions of more academic liabilities than assets.
5. YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
We have been discussing how to use the Raise Responsibility System in our classrooms and have a few questions.
First, when checking for understanding, if the student identifies the level correctly, do you still give a referral to fill out or do you only use a referral if the student does not give appropriate responses to the teacher questions?
A prime reason why the levels are taught (Phase I) is to create a benchmark or reference frame. Checking for understanding (Phase 2) is the second step of simple cognitive learning theory. First we teach (levels); then we test (check for understanding of the levels).
In checking for understanding, the student acknowledges the level of chosen behavior. By identifying a level — rather than the specific behavior — the student does not have to self-defend. By separating the two, it is easy for the student to accept responsibility for a poor behavioral choice.
Once the student acknowledges an unacceptable level of behavior by identifying level A or B, checking for understanding is completed. The teacher immediately returns to the lesson.
If the student does not give an appropriate response (acknowledging level A or B), just ask the class. By asking the short, simple question, “On what level is that behavior?” the levels of social development are being reinforced to the entire class. And class members will answer the question. Do not spend more than 30 seconds on this procedure. Remember, the purpose of phase 2 is to have the student become aware of inappropriate behavior and take ownership of it.
The third part of the Raise Responsibility System (phase 3) is employed when the student has already acknowledged inappropriate behavior and continues it.
In using phase 3’s Guided Choices, whenever possible — and this is done privately, not taking class time — elicit a consequence rather than imposing one. In this way, the student has more ownership of the consequence.
Second, after a student fills out an essay or a self-diagnostic referral and gives it to the teacher, is it best to read it right away and respond in front of the class?
Read it to be sure the student has taken responsibility. Both forms are private between you and the student. The class should not be involved in neither an essay nor a self-diagnostic referral.
Should it just be put on the teacher’s desk and an appointment made to discuss it, or is there not a discussion with the teacher?
The main purpose of Guided Choices (phase 3) is to isolate the student, give the student an assignment for reflection, and for the teacher to immediately return to teaching.
Before dismissal, ask two questions: (1) “Do you know why the form was given you?” With level B, the teacher uses authority but clears the air with the second question: “Do you think it was personal?” You want the student to understand that you have no ill feelings. You are only after more responsible behavior.
Remember, the key to the program is neither the essay nor referral form. It is having your students understand the differences between level B (unacceptable behavior), level C (conformity and peer pressure), and level D (doing right because it is the right thing to do, regardless of peer pressure,.i.e., taking initiative and being responsible).
Finally, emphasize the maxim: If you want to be proud of yourself, then do things you can be proud of.
6. YOUR REACTION, PLEASE
I recently received the following e-mail:
It would be great if somehow a chat room could be set up for like minded teachers. It could be a site for those who wish to be positive and non-punitive in their methods in dealing with youngsters, where they could share their trials, their successes and their concerns, and perhaps obtain some advice and feedback from colleagues and experts such as yourself. Dr. Marshall, do you think anybody would be interested in something like this? If so, maybe you could perhaps incorporate something like this into your web page.
First, a clarification:
A chat room is a real-time live environment that requires two or more participants to be typing back and forth, similar to an AOL chat room.
A bulletin board is a question area where people can post questions or thoughts and then others can view the postings and post replies at any time.
If you would be interested in a chat room or a bulletin board, please indicated your interest and preference by e-mail. Mailto:Newsletter@MarvinMarshall.com
7. PUBLIC SEMINARS
For Educators, Youth Workers, and Parents
DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS, PUNISHMENTS or REWARDS Ü
Promote Responsibility and Learning
SPONSOR: Staff Development Resources — unless otherwise noted.
Request a brochure for complete information. Call 800.678.8908.
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8. WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE BOOK
DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS, PUNISHMENTS OR REWARDS
How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning”
“This book delivers! It will dramatically improve the quality of your own life and make an astounding difference in your relationships with others.”
John Gray, Ph.D.
Author of MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS
National Association of Elementary School Principals
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National School Boards Association
Phi Delta Kappa International
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