Volume 8 Number 3
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:
The February 25, 2008 cover article of U.S.A.’s TIME
MAGAZINE was entitled, “How to Make Better Teachers.”
My thoughts after reading the article:
Great teachers understand that they are in the relationship
business. Many students–especially those in low
socio-economic areas–put forth little effort if they have
negative feelings about their teachers. Superior teachers
establish good relationships AND have high expectations.
These teachers communicate in positive ways, such as letting
their students know what the teacher wants them to do,
rather than by telling students what NOT to do. Great
teachers inspire rather than coerce. They aim at promoting
responsibility rather than obedience because they know that
OBEDIENCE DOES NOT CREATE DESIRE.
Great teachers identify the reason that a lesson is being
taught and then share it with their students. These teachers
inspire their students through curiosity, challenge, and
Great teachers are inspired teachers. Offering more pay does
not prompt them to work HARDER any more than a president
would work HARDER for more pay. They aim to increase their
EFFECTIVENESS, which may or may not result in harder work.
What will improve teaching are improved skills that prompt
students to WANT to behave responsibly and WANT to put forth
effort in their learning.
Great teachers have an open mindset. They REFLECT so that if
a lesson needs improvement they look to themselves to
change BEFORE they expect their students to change.
Unfortunately, today’s educational establishment still has a
20th century mindset that focuses on EXTERNAL APPROACHES to
increase motivation. An example of the fallacy of this
approach is the defunct self-esteem movement that used
external approaches such as stickers and praise in attempts
to make people happy and feel good about themselves. What
was overlooked was the simple universal truth that people
develop positive self-talk and self-esteem through the
successes of THEIR OWN EFFORTS.
EDUCATION IS ABOUT MOTIVATION. GREAT TEACHERS KNOW THIS.
THE HIERARCHY site has been updated. IT DESERVES YOUR
ATTENTION if you are using the Raise Responsibility System:
I have started a nonprofit public charitable organization
to assist schools in low economic areas.
The website is
If you know of such a school, suggest their visiting
the above website for the possibility of receiving
and possibly a free in-service by the
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
The following article appears in
PROMOTING DISCIPLINE & LEARNING
by Dr. Marvin Marshall
TO PROMOTE RESPONSIBILITY, ELICIT RATHER THAN IMPOSE.
Problems with students so often arise from imposing,
RATHER THAN FROM ELICITING.
When teachers IMPOSE “logical” and/or “natural” consequences
ON students, they are using their authority to impose a form
of punishment. It matters not if the adult’s intention is to
teach a lesson. IMPOSED punishments increase the likelihood
that the student will FEEL punished by the adult. Anything
that is done TO another person prompts negative feelings of
reluctance, resistance, resentment, and sometimes even
rebellion and retaliation.
In addition, when authority is used to impose, it deprives
the student of an opportunity to become more responsible.
Working WITH the student, rather than doing things TO the
student, is so much more effective. This approach avoids the
problems typically associated with IMPOSING something
because (a) students do not feel like victims when they
design their own consequence and (b) they are guided to
focus on learning from the experience. By ELICITING, rather
than by IMPOSING a consequence, the young person owns it.
PEOPLE DO NOT ARGUE WITH THEIR OWN DECISIONS.
By IMPOSING a logical or natural consequence, the
responsibility for thinking about the nature of the
consequence falls to the adult, rather than upon the
student. The STUDENT (as opposed to the teacher) should be
the one required to do the thinking.
Here is an example to help understand the difference between
something imposed and something elicited. A young student
has scribbled on a wall or an older student has vandalized a
wall with graffiti.
In a school where consequences are imposed, the adult would
think about the situation and arrive at a consequence that
seems fair and meaningfully related to the misbehavior. In
this situation, the adult would decide that as an
appropriate consequence the student should be required to
clean up the mess on the wall. The adult would impose the
consequence, thereby making it feel like punishment.
However, in a school using a COLLABORATIVE APPROACH of
working WITH the student, the situation would be handled
differently. The teacher would expect the student to do the
thinking, thus inducing the student to take responsibility.
Instead of imposing a consequence on the student, the
teacher would ELICIT an appropriate consequence from the
The student would be asked, “What do you think should happen
now that youÕve marked on the wall making the school less
attractive to everyone else?”
Because the STUDENT WOULD BE INDUCED TO THINK, you can
imagine the student might say something like, “I should
clean the wall.” The teacher would agree that this would be
a suitable consequence. Interestingly, in either case, the
consequence is exactly the same; the person who committed
the act cleans the wall.
You may ask, “What’s the big deal? If in both scenarios the
situation ends up so that the young person cleans up the
mess made on the wall, what does it matter who thought of
the idea?” THIS IS THE CRITICAL DIFFERENCE. Learning,
growth, and long-term change come as a result of reflecting
about one’s actions and about the outcomes that may result
from them. BY BEING PROMPTED TO THINK ABOUT AND DETERMINE
THE CONSEQUENCE, the student not only takes ownership and
responsibility but also is more likely to make more
responsible choices in the future.
In summary, the most effective way to promote
responsibility–be it regarding inappropriate behavior,
reducing apathy toward learning, or even with home
assignments–is to ELICIT a consequence (or a procedure to
help the student), rather than to IMPOSE one.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
If there is one area in our lives that many people struggle
with, it is that of taking a risk. The reason is that risk
creates fear, and fear prompts inaction.
Here is a simple and practical system to deal with risks.
Look at any situation where a decision needs to be made. It
makes no difference what the decision is–be it taking a
vacation, purchasing something, or some action.
Ask yourself three questions:
1. As a result of taking this action, what is the best thing
that can happen?
Then flip the coin:
2. As a result of taking this action, what is the worst
thing that can happen?
Then use some moderation by asking,
3. What is the most likely thing that will happen?
In the great majority of times, the worst thing doesn’t
happen. Since the best thing may not happen, negotiate
somewhere down the middle.
Then reflect: If the most likely thing to happen can get you
closer to what you want, and if you are willing to deal with
the worst thing that can happen for a chance of getting the
best thing that can happen, go for it.
But if you cannot deal with the worst thing that can happen,
it doesn’t matter what is the best thing that can happen.
Close the issue and move on.
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
If you don’t treat
why would you expect others to treat you well?
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
The following two posts are from the mailring/forum
You are absolutely right about developing procedures for
success in the classroom. I have been using Dr. Marshall’s
Hierarchy for several years and will never teach without it.
However, there are ways to streamline the classroom’s use of
it by stressing procedures.
Harry Wong stresses teaching procedures and PRACTICING them.
He says that if there is a procedure for doing something,
and not all children are doing it, practice it. He stresses
that procedures are different from rules. Procedures have no
rewards or punishments. You simply practice until everyone
understands them. He says that when a student asks about
something, or isn’t doing something for which you have a
procedure, you simply ask, “What is our procedure?” You put
the responsibility back on the student to think of the
procedure or to practice it after a reminder.
When I implemented that concept with Dr. Marshall’s A, B, C,
D in my classroom, it’s amazing how much simpler my life
Our classroom procedures have been thoroughly discussed,
planned with their input, and posted on the wall on a
student-made chart. We agree on our procedures, so “What is
our procedure?” is a question I rarely have to ask anymore.
When the class doesn’t do something by the procedure, we
simply stop…and practice. The next time is much better.
We have procedures for exchanging bad pencils for good ones,
for dining hall, for traveling, for turning in papers, for
EVERYTHING! I highly recommend Harry Wong’s Book about the
first days of school. You’ll even find Dr. Marshall’s
Hierarchy in there!
Part I of the DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS TEACHING MODEL is
critical to successful implementation of the whole approach.
Without taking care of classroom management (developing,
teaching and practicing procedures,) it’s very difficult to
have success in helping kids to become self-disciplined.
Once the classroom is carefully structured with routines,
THEN kids have a good shot at learning to control their own
behaviour and the teacher is in a better position to INSPIRE
THEM TO BE SELF-MOTIVATED.
Like you, I also found that Harry Wong’s book was an
excellent resource and really helped me understand classroom
Harry and Rosemary Wong write a monthly column on procedures
6. Discipline without Stress
Although procedures are the foundational step to efficient
instruction and reducing discipine problems, sometimes we
forget to be creative in their establishment.
In some cases, the teacher might create a new CLASSROOM
PROCEDURE to proactively deal with misbehavior from certain
students. In other words, rather than reacting to the same
type of misbehavior day after day, the teacher might
RESTRUCTURE THE ENVIRONMENT MORE CAREFULLY IN A WAY THAT
WOULD ALLOW IMMATURE STUDENTS TO BE MORE SUCCESSFUL.
For example, this year in our primary classroom,
we have a number of students who find it difficult to
maintain appropriate behaviour in the cramped quarters of
the cloakroom at dismissal time. To deal with this, we
simply CHANGED OUR PROCEDURES for the cloakroom. Rather than
having the whole class go into the cloakroom at the same
time (which has always worked in previous years,) my partner
divided the students into three groups (with the three most
immature students each in a separate group.) Now, each group
has a turn in the cloakroom while the other students sit at
their desks and chat with the teacher. As each group
finishes up in the cloakroom, they return to their desks and
a different group of children go and get their belongings.
OUR PROBLEM WAS SOLVED–NOT BY TRYING TO CHANGE THE
CHILDREN–BUT BY CHANGING THE ROUTINE
Another teacher has been using this system. I have observed
this classroom from the beginning of the year and was
greatly impressed by the changed behavior in the students.
She told me about your system, so I promptly got the book.
Ridgecrest, California, USA.