Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – October 2012

Volume 12 Number 9


  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



In any situation or experience, look for the learning.


The update of my website has finally been completed.

You will find it easier to locate information on the DISCIPLINE link, and the link is now more complete. “Impulse Management” and “Eliciting Rather than Imposing” have been added.

The Raise Responsibility System has its own page where everything about the discipline and learning system is easier to find.


I received an interesting package from Iraq last week. In it was a book written in Arabic. The only words I could read on the cover were “Dr. Marvin Marshall.”

Hike Samuel Artin, a teacher in Baghdad, Iraq, has been using the Raise Responsibility System in his classes for a number of years. He had asked my permission to publish “Discipline Without Stress, Punishments or Rewards: How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning” in Arabic. Of course, I gave him permission.

The book is published by “Beit Al-Hikma,” a publishing house in Baghdad that was founded in the 16th century.

Iraq is attempting to promote “democracy,” and the highest level of motivation in the Raise Responsibility System uses this exact term. Democracy and responsibility are inseparable.

I would like to contact someone in the U.S. State Department or someone in the U.S. armed forces to inform them of the book in an attempt to spread Western values in Iraq. If you know of anyone I can contact, please let me know. We will be doing a real service to share the ideas in the book in Iraq.


I recently had another interview with Dr. Jim Sutton, psychologist, and one of the USA’s leading experts who shows how to resolve children’s challenging behaviors. My interview is entitled, “Raising Responsible Children: It’s NOT About Rules.”

You can hear AND/OR read the interview at:

Also, Dr. Sutton has a recent addition to The Changing Behavior Network (CBN). The program entitled, “When Behavior Becomes Desperate: Insights and Interventions,” is taken from the second chapter of “The Changing Behavior Book.” The program addresses the sort of behaviors that are resistant to typical interventions.

He is offering a free copy of “101 Ways to Make Your Classroom Special” (with a foreword by someone named Marv
Marshall) when you purchase The Changing Behavior Book. It’s explained in the post:

When Behavior Becomes Desperate: Insights and Interventions (Guest: Dr. James Sutton)


Following are three questions which any teacher or parent can ask that are positive, offer choice, and prompt

  1. What did you learn this week that’s valuable enough for a lifetime?
  2. What is an issue, problem, or a concern to share?
  3. What do you feel good about or proud of that you’ve done recently?


In an effort to encourage school children to eat more fruits and vegetables, some creative person decided to give colorful names to these foods. For example, instead of simply naming carrots a good food, the term “X-Ray Vision Carrots” was adopted. Result: 92% of the children asked for carrots.

As I often advise people, the brain thinks in pictures rather than in words. The more imaginative the picutres you create for others, the more effective you will be in having people do what you would like them to do.


If you drop a bumblebee into an open tumbler it will stay there until it dies. The bee keeps looking for some way out through the sides near the bottom of the glass. The bee never sees the means of escape through the top.

Similarly, if you are having a disagreement with someone and the situation is not being resolved, try looking in a different direction. Perhaps looking up–as towards the future–may solve the problem and improve the relationship.


Both the media and the critics of the recent Chicago teachers strike paid little attention to a primary reason that the teachers went on strike. Legislation passed by the Illinois legislature requires that scores from standardized tests be used for teacher accountability and performance.

To someone not in the education field, this mandate may seem reasonable. However, most people don’t realize that standardized tests were never designed to measure learning.
By their very nature, standardized tests are designed so that half of the test takers will fall below the 50 percent line. If 50 percent of students “fail” by design, how can these types of tests be justified for teacher effectiveness?

Under the Illinois law, teachers will be judged and evaluated on a measure that is not valid. Additionally, standardized tests are not reliable because they oftentimes do not show consistent results. The same students taking the same test often score differently.

Realize, too, that many bright people simply don’t do well on tests. I know several very successful adults who rarely demonstrate their competence, wisdom, or skill on a measurement instrument. The same goes for many students.

A major problem is that too often educators and legislators attempt to force the social sciences into the same precision as the natural sciences. My post-graduate experience as an economics major demonstrated this attempt. Economics is not a science–nor can it ever be. In contrast to the natural sciences, every measurement instrument in the social sciences is SUBJECTIVE. Yet we succumb to the illusion that only that which can be quantified can be true or valid.

Allow me to be clear: I am not against accountability, but I am against using instruments that are not valid or reliable.
This is the problems with using standardized tests to measure teacher effectiveness. This is especially the case since a teacher’s influence becomes known as much in the future as in the present.

Using standardized tests to measure teacher performance is invalid for at least three additional reasons:

  1. Standardized tests do not match their questions with the local curriculum or what has been taught.
  2. Standardized tests measure much of what students know BEFORE the beginning of the school year–rather than what has been taught during the year. This is especially the case when standardized test contrast students from low vs. high socioeconomic areas.
  3. If the majority of students have learned what has been taught, then that information will NEVER appear on a standardized test. The reason is that the test would not discriminate enough. Standardized tests, by their very nature, are designed to discriminate. If too many test takers answer a question successfully, then the question is not a good one for the goal of creating a bell shaped curve.

As W. Edwards Deming (the international expert who brought both improved quality and lower costs to the workplace) said, “THE MOST IMPORTANT INFORMATION CANNOT BE MEASURED; THE VARIABLES ARE TOO GREAT.”

We should listen to the cowboy who said, “When the horse is dead, dismount.” Educators and legislators should take this wisdom as it applies to using standardized tests for teacher evaluation. We should be using norm or criterion referenced measurements instead.


Self-regulation is a critical skill that should be taught if young people are going to resist constant internal impulses.

In Dunedin, New Zealand, a lovely city (and the country’s center for the Great Highland Bagpipes–my musical instrument), every other year teachers and parents evaluate each child between the ages of three and eleven on levels of aggression, hyperactivity, lack of persistence, inattention and impulsivity. These ratings, along with those from the children themselves, lead to a self-control score for every child.

Here are some interesting conclusions from their long-term study. At 32 years old, the boys and girls who had had lower scores were poorer, had worse health, and were more likely to have committed a crime than those exhibiting more self-control. Poor ratings were a stronger predictor of financial troubles than was social class or IQ. In a separate set of 500 sibling pairs, the researchers found that despite a shared family background, the sibling with lower self-control was more likely to smoke, engage in antisocial behavior and struggle in school.

The “Discipline Without Stress” and “Parenting Without Stress” books show parents and teachers how to manage impulse control. A good reason for including this important skill is verified by the New Zealand study.


Sara Dawkins has a valuable article entitled, “How to Use a Family Meeting as a Discipline Tool.” You can read it at:


C = Communication to me; R = My Response

C: I’m a high school special education teacher. My students balk at the idea of Level D behavior being at the top, and they have a good point.

R: Sorry, but they do not have a good point.

I am afraid that the Hierarchy of Social Development was not explained properly. First, Level B is about MOTIVATION, not behavior.

Second, even special education students can learn that the following word has three spellings: to, too, and two. The proper choice of spelling is used DEPENDING ON THE CONTEXT.
When levels ABCD are used in the context of the Hierarchy of Social Development, the letters are in no way connected to grading.

C: They don’t want D’s; they want A’s!

R: This statement proves my point.

The Hierarchy of Social Development is not used by the teacher to assign grades. It is a reference point for students to REFLECT on their choice of levels. Levels A and B refer to unacceptable behaviors. Levels C and D refer to motivation.

C: So I inverted the pyramid and renamed the levels with A plus the best-choice and C the worst-choice behaviors (all else remained the same). But I’m stumped on new names to describe these levels. I guess I could go with C for Chaos, B for Bullying and A for…what? (Awesome?) A plus, of course, would be A behavior that is internalized.

R: You have tangled yourself up and have lost the power and effectiveness of the hierarchy.

You and your students would be much more effective if you would read the stories and show the illustrations in the
book: http://piperpress.com/children-of-rainbow-school.php


C: I also want to say that I have seen you present at least twice over the years, and your approach has been more helpful than any other in dealing with the out-of-control kids I get each year. And once they take responsibility for their behavior, they begin to actually turn in academic work they can be proud of.

Carol Moné
Trinidad, CA

R: Thank you. In future presentations I will emphasize understanding the hierarchy better. This PDF on the Significant Points of The Hierarchy will help.


The EDUCATION book: 

This summer, I read the book and SOAKED it in as if it were manna from heaven. It WAS! I put it into action with 2nd, 3rd, and 5th graders. I read the rainbow school stories to the little ones. With the 5th graders, we just talked about the levels, and then brainstormed examples. Level A
(Anarchy) is physical, dangerous, wild behavior. Level B
(Bullying) is mental hurtfulness or annoying behavior. Level C is complying. Level D is internal, doing good for good’s sake. THEY GET IT. WHY did I not read your book sooner!

Linda Woods
Houston, Texas


The PARENTING book: 

I love this book! It makes so much sense! There are so many big “aha” moments. It is so helpful and has been magic with my daughter. She finally cleaned up her room! Thank you so much. The book has made a huge difference in my approach to parenting and teaching!

Patricia Richmond
Port Orange, Florida


The following is from a recent SEMINAR evaluation:

I truly enjoyed the message and the positivity used throughout the day.

Tim Trout
Carthage, Missouri