Volume 8 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:
Discipline is defined as the ability to make yourself do
what you have to do or should do before you do what you want
—The National World War II Museum
New Orleans, Louisiana
Dr. George Thomas, former Phi Delta Kappa International
President and leader of the education program at Mississippi
State University in Meridian, hosted my presentation to
over 100 attendees at their Phi Delta Kappa meeting.
The university is one of only fourteen in the nation that
has a partnership with the Kennedy Performing Arts Center in
Washington, D.C. The coordination between the university’s
performing arts center and the Kennedy Center is remarkable.
Aside from local productions, professional actors teach
local teachers how to use theatre approaches to involve
students in visual, auditory, and kinesthetic experiences.
This is one of the most creative educational approaches
around. To find out more, visit www.MSURileyCenter.com
It is a real pleasure to find that an increasing number of
schools and districts are reinstating arts education.
Experiences in music, theatre, art, dance, and similar areas
of expression spark interest and stimulate the right brain
hemisphere. As such, these activities enhance and complement
the more traditional left brain hemisphere school
experiences. Thus, right brain activities have a direct
bearing on learning basic skills. For example, since music
has a mathematical base , it can prompt interest in
math–and visa versa.
The April 2 issue of USA Today concludes its editorial (page
10A) entitled, “Dealing with Dropouts,” as follows:
“In this global economy, where post-high school study is
often required even for blue-collar jobs, dropping out of
high school usually amounts to an economic death sentence.
It’s imperative to get the size of the dropout problem out
in the open and throw a lifeline to the young people at
Obviously, students who drop out of school are more likely
to lack literacy skills or become responsible citizens. This
is not only a school challenge, IT IS AN INCREASING HEALTH
AND SAFETY CHALLENGE FOR SOCIETY.
In an attempt to develop more socially responsible young
citizens and have youth find more success and satisfaction
in school, I have started a nonprofit public charitable
Any public K – 12 school in the United States in a low
economic area can apply for free assistance in the form of
books, the In-House Development package, and—depending on
location—free staff development by the author.
Application information is at
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
OR HOW NOT TO!
The following is from a mailring post
I just wanted to quickly relay a rewards-based disaster.
One of our seventh-graders, in fact, the daughter of a
teacher, recently wanted to go to the Positive Behavior
Support (PBS) reward dance. She is an A honor roll student,
never a discipline problem, and a wonderful kid. In the
haste of “bribing” misbehaving students to be good, we
neglected to “reward” her for doing what she had motivated
herself to do. Long story short, she did not have enough PBS
tickets to go to the dance. How horrible!!
Looks like rewards systems don’t quite cover the good kids
as well as they should. Good thing that they are
intrinsically motivated and feel good about the fact that
they are great kids and their teachers love them!
A response post:
Your experience really points out what I think is a big
problem with any reward based behaviour program–the fact
that the goal of the program (often not clearly stated) is
simply to get kids to behave. When the goal is obedience,
then the program isn’t truly too worried about the kids who
are already obedient. Then things happen–just as they did
in your school where a wonderful child is left feeling
terrible. Of course, no one intended for that to happen but
still that’s often the result.
That’s why I feel so strongly about DISCIPLINE WITHOUT
STRESS. The goal is to raise everyone, not just those who
are a big problem—so the program can focus on all kids.
That’s what I love: EVERY kid gains. Some gain by bringing
them up to Level C, while those who are already there gain,
too. They learn about Level D, which is such a valuable
understanding for living the rest of their lives. No other
program that I’m aware of provides this understanding.
Thanks for participating on our mailring!
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
The following is from a recent communication:
I really enjoyed your presentation in Margate, New Jersey. I
am a strong believer in positive thinking and you verified
many aspects that have been helpful to me. You specifically
spoke about a Japanese classroom during your talk.
Unfortunately, I did not hear what you said because I was
taking notes. Would you mind telling me the benefits of a
I also enjoy your newsletters. Even though I have been
teaching for over 30 years, there is still so much to learn
especially from experts like you.
The JAPANESE teaching model first aims at motivation.
Teachers start lessons by giving students some activity that
prompts curiosity, promotes a challenge, or shares something
novel. MOTIVATION IS IMMEDIATELY AROUSED because curiosity
is a wonderful motivator and because students WANT to find
the answer or solve the problem.
In the UNITED STATES, many teachers ASSUME that the students
are already motivated to learn. So they teach a lesson and
then assign follow-up work—WITHOUT GIVING ANY ATTENTION TO
Unfortunately, too many teachers do not understand that
education is about motivation.
Both students and teachers would become more effective if
TEACHERS were to first ask themselves the reason they are
teaching the lesson. Then (a) share that reason with
students, and (b) plan an activity that creates interest at
the outset of the lesson.
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
Anything that is done TO
another person (rather than WITH
the person) prompts negative feelings of reluctance,
resistance, resentment, and sometimes even rebellion and
5. PROMOTING LEARNINHAVING A SYSTEM TO RELY ON AND REFER TO IS SUPERIOR TO
HAVING A TALENT.
Working in Harlem under contract for three years with the
New York City Board of Education taught me an invaluable
lesson: Having a teaching SYSTEM is far superior to talent
when a teacher faces challenging behaviors in the classroom.
The assistant superintendent and I were very impressed while
observing a teacher one year. We agreed that the teacher was
a “natural.” However, when I visited the teacher the
following year, she told me that three boys were such
challenges that she could use some assistance.
Even teachers with a “natural talent” are challenged by
student behaviors that teachers in former generations did
not have to deal with. To retain the joy that the teaching
profession offers and to reduce one’s stress, having a
SYSTEM to rely on can help significantly. THE DISCIPLINE
WITHOUT STRESS TEACHING MODEL describes such a SYSTEM. It
contains four phases:
I. TEACHING PROCEDURES
The first phase differentiates classroom management from
discipline. CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT is about teaching,
practicing, and reinforcing procedures and is the teacher’s
responsibility. DISCIPLINE, in contrast, is about
self-control and impulse management and is the student’s
responsibility. More on this topic is available at
II. Practicing Three Principles
This second phase describes three universal principles to
inspire and induce students to initiate their own changes.
The principles are POSITIVITY, CHOICE, and REFLECTION. Using
just these three principles can change a person’s personal
and professional life. See
III. BEING PROACTIVE IN DISCIPLINE
This third phase describes THE RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM.
It starts with being PROACTIVE by teaching a hierarchy of
four (4) concepts relating to social (and personal)
development. The hierarchy inspires students to WANT to
behave responsibly. This is in contrast to the usual
approach where the teacher reacts only AFTER an
irresponsible behavior. Teaching a lesson at the outset that
has students WANT to behave responsibly reduces stress and
is both more efficient and effective. See
After teaching the concepts, CHECKING FOR UNDERSTANDING is
used when a disruption occurs. If misbehavior continues,
then GUIDED CHOICES are used to help the student develop a
procedure to help him/herself—or in severe cases, to elicit
The approach is totally noncoercive (but not
permissive) and employs internal motivation—rather than
relying on shorter-lasting external manipulations of
threats, punishments, or rewards.
IV. USING THE SYSTEM TO INCREASE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
This phase has students becoming motivated to put forth
effort to increase learning—without the teacher’s use of
any external motivators. Instead, the teacher refers to the
four (4) concepts of the hierarchy. First, pictures are
painted of the concepts in students’ minds BEFORE students
engage in a lesson or activity. Then AFTER the activity,
students take just a moment to REFLECT on their chosen
concept. Students WANT to achieve at the highest concept
level just by the nature of the hierarchy. By being
PROACTIVE BEFORE and employing REFLECTION AFTER, motivation
toward learning is significantly increased.
More explanations of each of the above are available for
further study and download at http://marvinmarshall.com.
For those who desire a more in-depth understanding and would
like to share the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM with
administrators and others, please print the pdf version of
the Phi Delta Kappan cover article at
6. Discipline without Stress
I had the pleasure of hearing you speak last weekend at the
ASCD Conference in New Orleans. Thank you for your
I am a fourth grade teacher who desperately wants to move
away from students only working for rewards that is the
nature of “behavior plans” at my school. After implementing
a few of your strategies in my classroom, I am pleased with
the way my students have responded. Because I, and all their
previous teachers, have used rewards, I am unsure how they
will react if I do away with all tangible rewards.
Use principle two, CHOICE, of the three principles to
Rather than stopping the use of rewards, give your students
the CHOICE. It sounds like the following: “For those of you
who still feel that I need to reward you for doing what you
should be doing, let me know and I will do so. For those who
believe that you are mature enough not to need such rewards,
you will find your efforts so much more satisfying.”
Once students—of any age—understand the difference between
Level C (EXternal motivation) and Level D (INternal
motivation), they quickly realize that token rewards are
given to manipulate them, and they quickly lose interest in
receiving such rewards.
The communication continued:
Do you think it is possible to make such large changes to my
classroom this late in the year? Or would I do better to
make small changes this year, and start next year fresh
without punishments and rewards?
New Orleans, LA
The only things that students need to know are the four
levels of social development. You can teach the hierarchy in
one setting by just sharing the vocabulary concepts and then
having students give examples of what each level would look
like in your classroom.
I found out about the newsletter because my fellow third
grade teacher and I have both implemented your system and
LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! It makes so much sense, and it works.
EVERYONE in the class is at ease, including the teacher,