Volume 10 Number 9
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Promoting Responsibility
- Increasing Effectiveness
- Improving Relationships
- Promoting Learning
- Discipline without Stress (DWS)
- Reviews and Testimonials
“Why School Reform Fails: STUDENT MOTIVATION IS THE PROBLEM (caps added).” –Robert Samuleson, Newsweek, September 13, 2010, page 21:
“(U.S.) Education Secretary Arne Duncan has announced $4 billion in Race to the Top grants whose proposals demonstrated, according to Duncan, ‘a bold commitment to education reform.'” Samuelson, one of the most respected American journalists continues: “Few subjects inspire more intellectual dishonesty and political puffery than school reform.” His article concludes:”What school reform promises is more disillusion.”
FINALLY, someone has articulated the major reason that so many students are not successful in school. They simply are not motivated. Unless you are new to this newsletter, you know that increassing motivation to behave responsibly and increase learning are the core of what this newsletter and my books are all about.
The SPANISH VERSION of my new book “PARENTING WITHOUT
STRESS: How to Raise Responsible Kids While Keeping a Life of Your Own” is now available.
To order a copy, visit
Orders will be filled as they are received.
Free education books have now been distributed to 17 of the United States from the charity at http://www.disciplinewithoutstress.org/
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
In order to make the following easier to read, the inquiry I received is shown in lower case. My RESPONSES ARE IN UPPER CASE.
My school does Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS or PBS for short), which essentially gives rewards to kids for every thing they do correctly, e.g. standing in line correctly, sitting in their chair correctly, breathing correctly, etc.
I teach music, so I only see the kids 55 minutes a week. I try really hard to get them to understand why I don’t give rewards for expected behavior and why I don’t record every little expected thing they do.
Everywhere else they go they are offered rewards for everything, and punishments mean nothing to them.
When I mention DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS to other adults, they say that our whole district is going PBIS and that our kids aren’t ready for understanding internal vs. external motivation. How do I respond to that when it’s coming from my principal?
This morning I had a kid walk out of my classroom. Last year when he did this, he got 10 days suspension at home with video games as a punishment. When he came back, he would get rewards when he stayed in the classroom the whole day. How am I supposed to compete with that?
If I do give a reward, I always do it while saying, “I see some of us are using level C behavior.
THIS IS A COMMON MISCONCEPTION. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEVEL C (EXTERNAL MOTIVATION) AND LEVEL D (INTERNAL MOTIVATION) IS NOT IN THE BEHAVIOR; IT IS IN THE MOTIVATION. AS KERRY WEISNER SO APTLY PUT IT, LEVEL C IS EXPECTED; LEVEL D IS VOLUNTARY.
IN ADDITION, IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO KNOW SOMEONE’S MOTIVATION. AND MANY KIDS HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO ARTICULATE THEIR MOTIVATION. (THIS IS ONE REASON THAT ASKING “WHY?”
LEADS TO PROBLEMS.)
YOU CAN FOLLOW THE SCHOOL POLICY BY HAVING STUDENTS–IN A CLASSROOM MEETING–DECIDE WHAT SHOULD BE REWARDED. THEN HAVE THE STUDENTS PICK THE PERSON TO GIVE THE REWARD, AND HAVE STUDENTS CHOOSE HOW IT WILL BE DONE. EVERY STUDENT SHOULD PARTICIPATE.
I love that DWS teaches the kids to think about their own behavior.
I was having a discussion with the class about level B behaviors, and one of the kids said, “When a teacher makes you do something, isn’t that bullying?”
REVIEW THE CONCEPT OF LEVEL B. SOMEONE ON THIS LEVEL ONLY UNDERSTANDS A GREATER AUTHORITY. SO THE STUDENTS ARE SAYING TO THE TEACHER, “WE ARE NOT MATURE ENOUGH TO BE RESPONSIBLE SO YOU NEED TO BOSS US.”
THE MESSAGE TO THE STUDENTS IS THAT THEY DECIDE ON THE TYPE OF TEACHER THEY HAVE. IF THEY ACT ON LEVEL B, THE TEACHER ALSO NEEDS TO ACT ON THAT LEVEL BECAUSE THE STUDENTS WILL ONLY BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY WHEN AUTHORITY IS USED. (NOTICE THE PARADOXICAL APPROACH: NO ONE WANTS TO BE BOSSED.)
Our school has specific rewards to give. There is a whole team of teachers that create the rewards and decide when the children should get them. We honestly are expected to give a reward to kids that are standing in line correctly.
Classroom teachers get angry if you pass them in the hall and don’t reward their kids.
THEIR GETTING ANGRY IS THEIR “CHALLENGE”; IT SHOULD NOT BE YOURS. DWS EMPHASIZES THAT EVERYONE ALWAYS HAS A RESPONSE TO ANY SITUATION, STIMULATION, OR URGE. WHY BASE YOUR REACTIONS ON SOMEONE ELSE’S FEELINGS? THIS IS ESPECIALLY APPLICABLE HERE WHERE YOU AND YOUR APPROACH ARE MORE SOPHISTICATED AND MORE EFFECTIVE FOR PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY THAT LASTS –ESPECIALLY WHEN NO ONE IS AROUND TO REWARD THE STUDENTS.
I think it is sometimes quite easy to tell what the student’s motivation is. (KNOWING SOMEONE ELSE’S MOTIVATION IS GUESSWORK.) For example, I could have my students follow my lining-up procedure. It is something we practice for four classes. Sometimes there are classes where more than half the students aren’t following the procedure, and then I grab a handful of token rewards and all of the sudden they remember the procedure.
YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH THE SAME BY ASKING STUDENTS TO RAISE THEIR HANDS BY CHOOSING A LEVEL. FOR EXAMPLE, “HOW MANY OF YOU ARE CHOOSING TO OPERATE ON LEVEL A OR B?” “HOW MANY CAN I TRUST TO BE ON LEVEL C OR D?”
THE SOONER YOU GET IN THE HABIT OF ASKING REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS, THE MORE EFFECTIVE AND THE EASIER IT WILL BE FOR YOU–AND BETTER FOR YOUR STUDENTS.
Thank you so much for your fantastic responses! I have so much to think about of my own understanding of this process.
I know I will be re-reading your book, and I can already see wonderful results.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
After receiving the assignment, the CNN photographer quickly called the local airport to charter a flight. He was told a twin-engine plane would be waiting for him at the airport.
Arriving at the airfield, he spotted a plane warming up outside a hanger. He jumped in with his bag, slammed the door shut, and shouted, “Let’s go.”
The pilot taxied out, swung the plane into the wind and took off. Once in the air, the photographer instructed the pilot, “Fly over the valley and make low passes so I can take pictures of the fires on the hillsides.”
“Why?”asked the pilot.
“Because I’m a photographer for CNN,” he responded, “and I need to get some close up shots.”
The pilot was strangely silent for a moment. Finally he stammered, “So, what you’re telling me, is . . . you’re not my flight instructor?’
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
Too often in communications, there is an underlying negative “bite” to them. The person talking is sometimes not thinking of the negative impact such communications have on relationships.
This is more common than we would wish when children are involved. Here is a simple procedure that any family, school, or institution can use to become aware and change these negative communications:
1) Every time anyone uses a negative label when referring to someone else, that person must say two (2) nice things about the person referred to.
2) Not talking is acceptable.
3) No coercion is to be used.
After implementing this approach for 21 days, enjoy the results–which you will.
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
I am a 4th Grade teacher in Dallas, Texas. You came and taught us your program and we are implementing it this year.
The subject of late homework has come up. We are only one week into the program and my fellow teachers want to start taking points off for homework that is turned in one day late.
My responses are in CAPITAL CASE.
THE FIRST QUESTION SHOULD ALWAYS BE, “WHY AM I GIVING THE ASSIGNMENT?” THE SECOND QUESTION SHOULD BE, “WHAT HAVE I (AS THE TEACHER) DONE TO HAVE STUDENTS WANT TO DO THE ASSIGNMENT?
I thought you told us the program does not call for taking points off, but to talk to the student and come up with a solution as to how he can get his/her homework in on time for future assignments.
THIS IS A MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE APPROACH.
I have been taking this approach and I feel I am having success. My fellow 3/4/5th grade teachers want us to adopt a policy that we all take 5/10 pts off for late work.
AGAIN, ASK THEM FOR THE JUSTIFICATION. IF A STUDENT DOES WELL ON WHAT IS TAUGHT (USUALLY MEASURED BY TESTS), THEN HOW CAN YOU RATIONALLY JUSTIFY LOWERING THE GRADE? THERE IS ONLY ONE ANSWER TO THIS: THE STUDENT IS NOT OBEYING. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT TO BASE AN ACADEMIC GRADE ON?
We are only one week into the program and I feel we are reverting back to old policies. What are your thoughts on this?
REVIEW PAGES 213-215 IN THE EDUCATION BOOK:
HAVE A DISCUSSION WITH YOUR FELLOW TEACHERS ON THE PROCEDURES TAUGHT BEFORE HOMEWORK IS ASSIGNED AND REVIEW PART I OF THE TEACHING MODEL:
FINALLY, REMEMBER YOU ARE RIGHT IN YOUR APPROACH OF HELPING–RATHER THAN HARMING–YOUR STUDENTS. DON’T GIVE UP OR GIVE IN TO WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING IN USING COERCIVE AND PUNITIVE APPROACHES.
THESE APPROACHES IMMEDIATELY GIVE TEACHERS A NEGATIVE FEELING TOWARD STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT DOING THE HOME ASSIGNMENTS–AND THESE ARE USUALLY THE STUDENTS WHO NEED THE MOST ENCOURAGEMENT AND ASSISTANCE.
Inquiries are in lower case; RESPONSES ARE IN UPPER CASE.
I’ve read your “Parenting without Stress” and as I read, it frequently brought tears to my eyes because of its truthfulness. My husband is now reading it. We have three children – nearly 15-year-old girl, 12.75 year-old-boy, and
10.5 year-old-girl. My 12 and 10 year olds are familiar with this method because some teachers use it at their school.
My younger two are more pliable and seem to be more open to my attempts in using this technique at home. But our 15-year-old is determined to boycott any parenting techniques we try to employ. She says she’s moving out when she’s 18. She makes good choices on the big decisions, but she is miserable to live with on a daily basis, especially when stressed.
PERSIST IN SPEAKING TO HER IN POSITIVE TERMS.
AGREE TO HER CHOICE OF MOVING OUT WHEN SHE TURNS 18. (THIS IS A PARADOXICAL APPROACH IN THAT ONCE YOU AGREE, SHE MAY VERY WELL CHANGE HER MIND–NOT IMMEDIATELY, BUT WHEN SHE TURNS 18.)
RESIST TELLING HER ANYTHING. SHARE INFORMATION, SUCH AS “YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK OUT WHAT A MONTHLY RENTAL WILL COST AND PLAN YOUR BUDGET FOR IT.”
SHARING IN THIS SITUATION WOULD BE BETTER THAN ASKING REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS BECAUSE JUST BY ASKING SHE WILL FEEL THAT YOU ARE COERCING HER FOR AN ANSWER.
We feel we give her lots of freedoms, but she wants it all.
INFORM HER SHE CAN HAVE IT ALL WHEN SHE LEAVES HOME. AS LONG AS SHE RECEIVES SHELTER, CLOTHING, AND FOOD AND IS LIVING WITH THE FAMILY, SHE HAS A MORAL OBLIGATION NOT TO THRUST HER NEGATIVITY AND TOXIC ATTITUDE ON OTHER MEMBERS. HOWEVER, AND THIS IS CRITICAL AS OUTLINED ABOVE, RESIST “TELLING.”
If its not her idea, she resists us. She has even gone so far as to say she doesn’t like the concept of families.
SHE IS PROMPTING ARGUMENTS. DON’T ENGAGE IN ANY ATTEMPT TO INFLUENCE HER. YOU MAY WANT TO EXPLAIN TO HER AND CLARIFY THAT THE FAMILY HAS BEEN THE SOCIAL ARRANGEMENT THROUGHOUT HISTORY. JUST EXPLAIN; DON’T TRY TO INFLUENCE HER. AS LONG AS SHE BELIEVES WHAT SHE BELIEVES IN, SHE WILL JUSTIFY IT.
YOU CANNOT BE SUCCESSFUL IN ARGUING WITH PEOPLE’S BELIEFS.
JUST EXPLAIN YOUR OWN. IT IS THROUGH HER REFLECTING–IN PART WITH WHAT YOU SHARE WITH HER–THAT HAS ANY CHANCE OF HER CHANGING.
I know as a teenager the things she says may be more extreme than what she actually feels. But as the stress of school approaches again, I’m worried for us all. Can the positive outcomes I read about in your book become a reality when starting with teenagers?
ABSOLUTELY! READ ALL THE EXAMPLES IN THE BOOK. START WITH THE FORWARD WHICH CAN BE READ BY CLICKING ON “Click here to read an example” AT http://www.ParentingWithoutstress.com.
I wonder if a teenager resists it because now they no longer have anyone to blame their bad behavior on.
IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE WHAT THE MOTIVATION IS. FOCUS ON THE BEHAVIOR. NO PERSON CAN KNOW ANOTHER PERSON’S MOTIVATION WITH COMPLETE ACCURACY. AND OFTENTIMES THE PERSON IN QUESTION DOES NOT KNOW AND CANNOT ARTICULATE THE MOTIVATION.
THE COMMON THEORY THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO KNOW A PERSON’S MOTIVATION IN ORDER TO CHANGE BEHAVIOR CAN BE A “WASTE OF TIME THERAPY.” KNOWING THE MOTIVATION (WHICH IS GUESSWORK) MAY BE INTERESTING BUT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MAKING NEW NEURAL CONNECTIONS IN THE BRAIN TO CHANGE ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS.
And what if there are some things we really feel aren’t negotiable such as church attendance with the family or some family trips for example?
HEALTH, SAFETY, AND FAMILY VALUES ARE NOT NEGOTIABLE.
REGARDING CHURCH ATTENDANCE, OFFER HER A CHOICE–SUCH AS
(1) ATTEND SERVICE WITH THE FAMILY (WHEN SHE LEAVES THE FAMILY, THEN THE CHOICE IS HERS), OR (2) SET UP A PERSONAL APPOINTMENT WITH THE PASTOR OR CHURCH LEADER, OR (3) HAVE HER VOLUNTEER TO TEACH A LESSON AT THE CHURCH’S RELIGIOUS SCHOOL. (THE THIRD CHOICE CAN ALWAYS BE ELICITED–BUT REQUIRES YOUR AGREEMENT.)
Does your philosophy allow us to overrule when at an impasse?
ELIMINATE THE IMPASSE BY FOLLOWING THE ABOVE RECOMMENDATIONS. YOU CAN ALSO USE SOLVING CIRCLES ON PAGES
55-56 IN THE PARENTING BOOK AT
Thanks for your insights. You are wise and inspired by something very good! I will print this up and refer to it often (as well as re-read your book that we in the parenting group affectionately call “The Parenting Bible”).
7. DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS (DWS)
The following is from
DisciplineWithoutStress.yahoogroups.com following a discussion of how to handle primary students who want to go to the restroom:
I have taught grades K-6 for 25 years. I now teach high school and just use a variation on my original routine. What I have found to be the most cooperative and respectful way to handle this basic biological need is to have a routine. I feel strongly that PUNITIVE MEASURES ARE UNNECESSARY (capital letters added) and take you away from your focus as a teacher.
Here is the routine (PROCEDURE – Part I of the DWS Teaching Model at http://marvinmarshall.com/teaching_model.html):
When a student needs to go to the restroom, he/she stands quietly by the door and keeps his/her eyes on me. When I give the student a nod, the student may go. If the privilege is abused, I will have a discussion about how to proceed.
If a student needs to run out the door (it has happened to all of us) we talk later.
This cuts down on interruptions and the need to ever discuss children’s very private “potty” matters. Because it is respectful, students appreciate it. The few students who abuse the privilege are handled individually.
We have started our new school year off with the kickoff of your discipline program and so far it is going GREAT! It seems that the teachers have really embraced the concepts and the kids are catching on quickly. It is so nice to be in a more positive environment!
–Julie Toppins Dallas, Texas