Volume 7 Number 4
IN THIS ISSUE:
2. Promoting Responsibility
3. Increasing Effectiveness
4. Improving Relationships
5. Promoting Learning
6. Discipline without Stress
7. Testimonials and Research
MONTHLY RESPONSIBILITY AND LEARNING QUOTE:
“Although students usually comply with teacher exhortations,
they only do so to avoid discomfort or gain approval.
Marshall believes those external pressures are the main
cause of stress and poor relations in the classroom.”
–C.M. Charles, “Building Classroom Discipline, 9th
Edition, Pearson Education, copyright 2008, page 213
“TRAIN the TRAINER” SEMINAR
How much would your school be willing to invest in order to
reduce absentee rates and collect more money from your
Just consider what it would be worth to your school to have
a system in place that would do the following as well:
–reduce office referrals
–increase teacher effectiveness
–promote student effort in learning
–promote responsible student behavior
–lower teacher and student stress levels
How much would your school be willing to invest to increase
academic achievement scores?
All these results can be achieved by implementing the
teaching and learning model outlined at
Learn how to in-service your school to achieve these results
by attending the “Train the Trainer” seminar in Southern
California on June 21 and 22.
The cost of attending this seminar is only $225 more than
the In-House Package itself described at
In addition to everything included in the package for the
unusually low investment of $1,500, participants will also
receive a PowerPoint program to use in their own
presentations along with a follow-up DVD of the seminar.
This two-day seminar will be held at
The Embassy Suites Hotel
1325 E. Dyer Road
Santa Ana, CA 92705
The hotel offers a free shuttle bus from the
Orange County/John Wayne/Santa Ana (“SNA”) Airport.
The seminar will start at 8:00 a.m. on June 21 (sign-in at
7:30 a.m.) and will conclude at 5:00 p.m. on June 22. Lunch
will be provided each day.
A small block of rooms has been set aside at the Embassy
Suites for participants under “Discipline without Stress” at
a special rate of $159 plus tax per night for the evenings
of June 20 and June 21. Please make your reservations by
calling the hotel directly. The special rate will last only
until the allotted rooms have been booked.
Registration for the seminar is being handled by RDL
enterprises, a company with excellent experiences
coordinating seminars for private, educational, and
If your school is interested in sending someone to attend
the seminar (or yourself as a staff developer), contact RDL
Enterprises at your earliest convenience. Attendance is
limited. Registration is available online at:
Karl Baur of RDL Enterprises can assist in answering
questions. He can be contacted at 916.443.0218 or
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
Here is a simple question to promote responsibility:
“What will you do about that?”
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
You will notice that when you smile at someone, the
“imitation response” that neuroscientists have discovered
prompts a natural tendency for the other person to smile
back. This phenomenon indicates that the face is an
enormously rich source of information about emotion. In
fact, our face is not just a signal of what is going on in
our mind; in a certain sense, it IS what is going on in our
The expression on our face is sufficient to create a marked
change in the autonomic nervous system. You can prove this
to yourself by thinking of a sad thought. With that thought
still in your mind, look up at the ceiling and smile. Then
try to keep that sad thought.
We think of the face as the residue of emotion. But the
process works in the opposite direction as well. Emotion can
START in the face. The face is not just a secondary
billboard for our internal feelings. It is an equal partner
in the emotional process.
Little did I realize when I wrote the opening few sentences
in my book that my statements would be scientifically
proven. The first few lines are: “Life is a conversation.
Interestingly, the most influential person we talk with all
day is ourself, and what we tell ourself has a direct
bearing on our behavior, our performance, and our influence
on others. In fact, a good case can be made that our
self-talk creates our reality.”
Our self-talk become our thoughts and shows on the
expressions of our face.
Scientists are discovering that the face is governed by a
separate, involuntary system. Whenever we experience a basic
emotion, that emotion is automatically expressed by the
muscles of the face. Our involuntary expressive system is the
way we have been equipped by
evolution to signal our feelings.
The argument can be made that the
system evolved so that
parents would be able to take care of
their children whose
feelings are shown on the face.
We have no switch to turn our expressions on or off, and
this may be a good thing.
Since others can see what you feel,
since people do better
when they feel better, and since others
may involuntarily imitate your responses, having positive self-talk
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
We adults dislike when
someone uses coercion or other
approaches that prompt negative feelings in us, but too
often we use such approaches with young people.
The essence of the famed psychologist Jean Piaget’s
hierarchy of cognitive development is that children’s brains
develop at different ages but they–even infants–have
similar feelings as adults. Young people experience negative
feelings of pain, anger, and fear–all of which prompt
resentment toward the person who prompted such feelings.
Sharing information and asking reflective questions do not
carry the baggage of prompting negative emotions and
resentments as coercion does.
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
The following is from a post at
I recently observed a 3rd grade classroom and was blown away
by the children. They all paid attention. The teacher was
very positive. The whole time I was there, I kept waiting
for the kids to start going crazy or for someone to get off
task but NONE ever did! The teacher was able to do a lot of
cooperative groupings for various subjects and even played
impromptu games to review vocabulary, etc.
It was really inspiring and fun to be in this classroom. The
teacher NEVER raised her voice and kept calm and cool the
entire time. I left inspired but very confused. You see, I
am student teaching in first grade and to say the least, my
kids seem like wild monkeys compared to hers. Every time I
try to do a group activity, things spiral out of control. I
am constantly focusing on discipline in my classroom because
there will always be students off task.
During center time, I have to watch them like a hawk because
they will start talking to their neighbor. The room also can
go from quiet to very loud. It feels like a battle everyday.
In that class, the teacher was actually teaching with NO
interruptions; the students were engaged and having fun. My
confusions is this: Is it partly because of 3rd grade, and I
am teaching first grade, that there is a difference in
management? Or can it be crazy in any grade? I know in my
class in the future I will practice and model the first
month of school the rules and procedures to death. Also in
my student teaching right now, my master teacher is really
strict and frequently gets angry at the students. The
teacher has modeled a “no-nonsense, high standards, and get
them where it hurts” kind of style.
I am not complaining because we have a TOUGH class. However,
I would LOVE to be the kind of teacher that I saw teaching
that 3rd grade class–always staying calm and very positive.
With a class like my first grade class, however, would it be
equally effective or better to try to be like the other
teacher? My sense is that they would RUN right over me.
Also, I personally have high expectations regarding walking
in line/talking in line/lining up by the door. However,
the 3rd grade teacher allowed them to talk as they lined up
and they knew to be quiet once they got outside. This is
making me wonder if I am choosing the right battles to
fight? My kids will talk while waiting to leave the door but
I want it SILENT!
Any thoughts from experienced teachers or people who have
had different styles over the years?
Wow! How lucky you are to have seen two very different
models of discipline and teaching so early in your career
and how aware you are to be asking the questions that you
I personally think that that’s what separates the more
mediocre teachers from the outstanding ones. The outstanding
ones are always aware. They are always questioning
themselves and looking for ways to improve. They don’t
remain stagnant, doing the same lessons year after year or
repeat ineffective discipline strategies that don’t make
them better and more competent. They choose to learn from
Another thing they do is ASK QUESTIONS and learn from
others. If you have seen a master teacher in action, go to
that person and ask questions. Find out first hand from this
grade three teacher, whose skills you so admire, what it is
that she does differently and so effectively. Likely,
because she is talented, she will know exactly what it is
that she does to create such a wonderful learning atmosphere
in her classroom at this point in the school year. Why?
Because likely she has spent a great deal of time to analyze
her own teaching in an effort to hone her skills. Likely she
knows exactly WHY she chooses to operate as she does. She
can probably explain what she does to achieve the results
you observed. I’m sure she’ll be willing to share her
thoughts and expertise with you! In my experience, excellent
teachers like to share.
Although from year to year, any given class can be easier or
more challenging to handle than the one the year before, I
would have to say that it is the teacher that makes the
biggest difference in how settled the children become during
that year. And as you observed, that feeling of students
being settled and mature is what creates the best learning
We have a grade six teacher in my school who is a perfect
example of this. Regardless of which students she has, and
regardless of any behaviour problems they might have had in
all the previous years of elementary school, the students in
her class are extremely well-behaved, focused, and
productive. They all make incredible academic progress in
the year they are with her and they all become model
citizens in our school. It looks like magic but when you
talk with her and observe her in action day in and day out,
you know that it isn’t effortless. She is working incredibly
hard to achieve this state of affairs in her classroom.
Here are just a few of the things that she does that come to
She is always learning. She is always trying to find better
ways to teach and to get better academic results through
creative programs. She doesn’t give dull assignments. She
motivates her students by offering them interesting and
challenging work. She hooks the kids right away!
She establishes strong personal relationships with her
students. For the first six weeks of school, she spends 20
minutes every lunch hour dining with two students a day. The
two students are invited to “do lunch” with her in another
little room in the school. They bring their regular lunch
and she brings dessert. They love it!
She says that she learns so much about her students and sees
such a different side of them. She gains compassion for
those who might initially annoy her. Of course, she starts
her lunch dates in September with her most challenging
students. She knows it’s important to get them onside first.
She has very high standards for academics. The students know
that they are expected to do their best work. Their work is
expected to be neat, thorough, and the best they can
personally produce. It needs to be redone if it’s anything
less. After a while they’re so proud of their best efforts,
they don’t want to give anything less.
She has students come in before and after school for extra
academic help. She works tirelessly to help her lowest
students improve. She actively looks for ways to adapt her
teaching for the lowest students in these one-on-one times
so that they too can understand. The kids then see
improvement they didn’t know was possible and they are
encouraged. They start to take ownership of their own
progress and put in extra effort willingly. Of course, their
parents are delighted and so encourage their child to
support the teacher even more.
She treats every child with absolute and equal respect. The
kids feel elevated just by the respectful tone she uses with
them. The lowest students in the class are given the same
opportunities to be model students as the most capable. They
might not all be doing the same level of work but they are
all doing their best and that’s what is expected, honoured,
She goes out of her way to provide opportunities for all the
grade six students in our school to be good school citizens.
She sets up voluntary programs where students sign up for a
week at a time to help in the school with a particular job
such as supervising and helping younger students in the
computer lab, answering the telephone while the secretary
eats, cutting and doing other tasks for the kindergarten
teacher, reading the school announcements over the PA
system, etc. Every single student volunteers because she
treats these jobs as the most important jobs in the world.
Naturally, every student wants to contribute to the running
of a successful school!
I could go on an on, but basically what she does can be
summed up with the phrase, “holding high expectations and
then empowering kids.” She expects a lot of them and
encourages them to be the best they can be. She gives them a
vision of themselves that they might never have considered
before–that they can be model students–and she shows them
how to achieve that. Once they’ve “tasted” that experience,
why would they want to be anything less?
A number of years ago, a core group of teachers in our
school started to go in a new direction. We wanted a type of
discipline that would allow us to treat all of our students
respectfully and at the same time would help them become
SELF-disciplined. We wanted to get rid of unhealthy
competition between classrooms and we wanted kids to do
things for the right reason.
In other words, we wanted to move away from kids doing
things with the main goal being to please US and start
doing things for reasons that would make a difference in
their own lives in the long run. We wanted them to WANT to
improve their academic skills because in the long term it
would pay off for THEM. We wanted them to behave themselves,
not because it would make it more convenient for us, but
because we wanted them to experience that one can take more
pride in oneself when acting in a mature and acceptable
We wanted them to collect phone books for recycling, not
because the phone company would give us 10 cents a book or
that perhaps their class could win a movie party, but
because it was good for the environment. We wanted them to
read a lot because it’s an important skill that also gives a
great deal of pleasure, not because they were focused on
winning a free pizza coupon. We wanted the kids to collect
sponsors for the annual Heart and Stroke Skipathon, not
because they could get prizes for themselves as a result,
but because they consciously would come to know that a great
way to gain a sense of personal satisfaction is through
choosing to support a worthy cause.
What got us started in this direction was a discipline
approach that I found on the Internet, quite by accident one
day about 5 or 6 years ago and shared with others on my
staff. We ended up doing a year-long book study of Dr.
Marvin Marshall’s, “Discipline without Stress, Punishments
or Rewards” that is based on developing INTERNAL motivation
in students, rather than on handing out external rewards in
the form of points, stickers, prizes, or by punishing
students by overpowering them.
Although this type of discipline approach is not something
that I could explain in a sentence or two, I can tell you
that the results sound very much like what you described
your grade three classroom to look like. I don’t know if
that particular teacher used Dr. Marshall’s approach or not,
but I would bet that her personal teaching philosophy was
Dr. Marshall has developed a system that can be used to
TEACH kids what mature, responsible and exceptional
behaviour looks like. The focus is always positive and
always involves having the students reflect on, and then
evaluate THEIR OWN behaviour, using a four level chart
referred to as the the hierarchy of social development. I
personally find that focusing on the top two levels of Dr.
Marshall’s hierarchy motivates the kids internally–to aim
for a high level of self-controlled and mature behaviour.
With this system, it is easy to INSPIRE kids to want to be
Briefly, the TOP two levels describe two types of behaviour.
The first basically boils down to “acceptable” and the
second, the highest level, boils down to “exceptional”
although that’s not how it’s stated on the hierarchy.
Teachers using this system actually teach kids that there is
a higher level than simply “acceptable behaviour.” IN MY 30
YEARS OF TEACHING, I’VE NEVER SEEN THIS CONCEPT EVEN
MENTIONED IN ANY OTHER DISCIPLINE SYSTEM. This one, simple,
but powerful idea is what caught my eye in the first place.
Kids learn that an acceptable level of behaviour is the
level where a person is behaving appropriately but simply
to comply, conform to expectations, or cooperate with the
adult. Marshall has named this Level C. In simple terms,
this is the level of OBEDIENCE–when students are
motivated externally to behave themselves. They are behaving
themselves BECAUSE OF, and perhaps even FOR, the adult. In
all other discipline systems that I have seen, this is
typically considered the highest level of behaviour.
Marshall’s system, however, allows a teacher to help
students see that there IS in fact, a higher and MORE
INTERNALLY SATISFYING level than simple obedience. This is
what Marshall describes as Level D–the level of taking
initiative, the level of acting maturely, responsibly and
kindly–for a higher purpose than just staying out of
trouble. It is the level that offers high self-esteem as a
direct result of doing THE RIGHT THING–simply because it is
the RIGHT THING TO DO. This is the level of internal
motivation. Teaching about Level D allows teachers to
introduce this kind of thinking to students even at a very
young age. My teaching partner and I use it easily with the
grade ones that we teach and have used it when we taught
kindergartners in previous years. It’s a K-12 program. Even
adults find it personally useful.
For example, you mentioned the fact that you noticed the
grade three students you observed were able to quiet
themselves at the door before exiting. Our class is able to
do this at this time of year, but not just by luck. The
first order of business in the “Discipline without Stress”
approach is the careful, thorough and repeated teaching of
procedures, based on the teachings of Harry Wong. At this
point in the year, the kids know the routines very well and
so don’t need constant reminders of how to behave
themselves. An observer might mistakenly think that the
students didn’t need routines at all, but in fact, it’s just
the opposite case. Students need to practice teacher-set
routines for many months in the early part of the
year–until they automatically can carry out what is
expected of them. Even then, they need reminder lessons
every once in a while throughout the entire school year.
Another reason that our students can and want to quiet
themselves is that my partner and I purposely and routinely
discuss the personal benefits for people who choose to
operate at that highest level of behaviour–Level D–the
level of internal motivation. It FEELS GOOD INSIDE to be
able to think of yourself as a person who is in control.
Impulsiveness and poor behaviour signals a lack of internal
control. Even grade ones like to think of themselves as
mature and able to handle themselves well.
We use every opportunity we can in the regular course of the
day to discuss mature behaviour and encourage our students
to exhibit it by choice. When something is presented as a
choice, it is all that more attractive.
Still another secret is to be positive in the classroom. I
usually begin a trip to the door to line up, by asking a
positive question. For example: Who’s hungry and would like
to have their snack? Who can’t wait to get to music today?
Who’s looking forward to the story Mr. ___ has for us in the
library today? Who’s wondering what “Follow the Leader”
action the special helper will choose in the gym today?
After I get their attention in a positive way, I ask another
question or two, which INSPIRES good behaviour in the
line-up. What would we have to do as we come to the door so
that we could quickly be on our way to the washroom and then
snack? What would a mature student, who wanted to get in as
much fun PE time as possible, do as they left their desk and
neared the doorway?
Often, at this point in the year, I wouldn’t even need to
take an answer from a child. But earlier in the year, this
type of question might result in a two or three minute
–the fact that quiet walking through the hall is essential
so as not to disturb other classes,
–that if we talk noisily at the door, we are using up the
precious minutes of our library or music time slot or,
–that by chatting at the door we are actually preventing
ourselves from doing the very thing we WANT to do: Eating
that snack that we can’t wait to have!
With ongoing, proactive (BEFORE any misbehaviour has
occurred), positive discussions like this, combined with
using everyday opportunities to reflect on the fact that it
feels pretty good inside to have acted with maturity, the
kids indeed start to show independent signs of maturity that
often isn’t typical of young children when regular imposed
forms of discipline are used (nagging, threatening
punishments, getting mad, taking away points, offering
treats as bribes, etc.)
If you’re interested in learning more about this type of
teaching that is meant to develop SELF-discipline and is
1. being proactive and positive,
2. offering choices, and
3. using reflective questions to influence a change in
you might want to take a look at Marvin Marshall’s website:
He also puts out an extremely good monthly newsletter that’s
free. The back issues from many years are available at this
There is also a mailring to support teachers trying to learn
how to teach through internal motivation using his approach:
Good luck in your newly beginning teaching career!
Kerry in BC Canada
6. Discipline without Stress
One of the attributes of the system is the promotion of the
basic characteristic of any character education approach:
Taking responsibility for one’s behavior. Without
“responsibility” no other trait of civility would be
Perhaps this is a reason that I have again been asked to
speak in July at the largest gathering of educators
interested in promoting character education. See
George Washington and many of the other founding fathers of
the USA first focused on how one could IMPROVE ONESELF as
the first criterion to influence others. “The Rules of
Civility,” the etiquette planner that Washington copied as a
teenager, begins with the following admonition:
“Every action done in company ought to be done with some
sign of respect to those that are present.”
Perhaps the concept of “appropriate” or “unwritten rules”
should be revisited with young people. Examples abound:
wearing pajamas in private vs. in public, using certain
language in private vs.public, and doing what comes
naturally in private or in public.
Civility itself is founded on the concept of taking
individual responsibility for appropriateness and respect
The following story is about Positive Behavior(al)
Interventions and Supports (PBIS)–or just Positive Behavior
Support (PBS)–that has been discussed in recent e-zines.
We know that rewarding fosters competition to see who gets
the most number of rewards. We also know that using rewards
as incentives to young people fosters feelings of
punishments to those in school who believe they should have
received a reward, but didn’t.
The post describes how external manipulators (giving rewards
as reinforcers) do not do what adults would like them to do,
namely, transfer the desired motivation.
I have a cute story about rewards in the classroom. I teach
first grade, and sometimes just getting the kids to remember
their folders and to sharpen pencils is a chore. I usually
start out the year reminding them, nagging them, and finally
giving up. THEY don’t care if they have a folder or a
pencil. I’m the only one who seems bothered. So I put a
sticker chart in their folders and offer stickers and trips
to the treasure box if they come prepared. I KNOW it’s not
helping, and it bothers me every day as I waste time on this
activity, but at least they have pencils when we start to
One day recently I was monitoring the kids’ work. I
commented to one boy about his pencil. It was really short
and dull. He said it was all he had, but in his pencil
holder on his desk there were three long sharp pencils just
sitting there. I asked him about those. He said, “But those
are my sharp pencils! I don’t use those. Those are just for
It took me all year to realize that this kid had used the
same pencil EVERY DAY to get a sticker but never
a sharp pencil to write with! So much for external motivation
transferring to internal motivation!