Volume 7 Number 11
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 following was sent to me from someone who recently
subscribed to this newsletter.
“I am a teacher candidate at York University in Toronto. We
are using your book for one of our classes.
“It is amazing! It seems so easy, it’s almost too good to be
true! Thank you.”
On October 10, 2007, I had the pleasure of presenting in
South Africa. The country is undergoing the most radical
change of any modern country as it moves away from complete
separateness (apartheid) of its various groups of people.
The traditional South African approach of dealing with
problems through consultation and bargaining and of
resolving disputes through negotiation is readily apparent
in this dynamic country. There are 11 official languages. It
is the only country with three (3) capital cities: Cape Town
(legislature), Pretoria (executive), and Bloemfontein
Challenges that other countries confront simply SHRINK when
compared to the challenges of the Republic of South Africa.
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
Each time you coerce someone into doing something by using
your power of authority, you deprive that person of an
opportunity to become more responsible.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
VERBAL messages are only one means of communicating.
MOVEMENT is another. For example, choose one place in your
classroom where you will stand when you plan to admonish
the class. (The same procedure works in the home, too.)
Before saying anything, wait until you move to that one
specific location. Young people are very perceptive. When
you start walking to that pre-selected location, the class
will immediately settle down. Reason: They anticipate what’s
GESTURES are another means of communication. An example
(slightly edited) was posted at
I introduce the hierarchy of social development using a
chart I made downloaded from the web.
I demonstrate the “picking up trash” example from the book.
My students seem to get the idea right away. I mention that
levels ABOVE the line are “THUMBS UP” BEHAVIORS, and
levels BELOW the line are “THUMBS DOWN” BEHAVIORS.
I don’t go into detail about the levels after that. When a
student is behaving inappropriately, I point to the chart
and quietly whisper, “Is that on a thumbs up or thumbs down
level?” When they answer, I say, “How can you get it to be
Now all I have to do is point to the chart and say nothing. The inappropriate
behavior is usually immediately abandoned.
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
After presenting in
Adelaide, Australia (a lovely and very
enjoyable city), I went shopping with my wife. Fortunately,
as you will read, I forgot to bring a book.
While waiting for my wife, I spotted a bookstore and
purchased a copy of Dale Carnegie’s “HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND
INFLUENCE PEOPLE.” Originally published in 1936, the book
went on to become one of the best-selling books of all time
and made Carnegie an international celebrity.
His book was used as the text in my first college speech
course, and because it had been years since I first read it,
I decided to re-read it.
Carnegie had a gift for expressing profound truths in simple
but profound ways. A perfect example is his “SIX WAYS TO
MAKE PEOPLE LIKE YOU”:
Principle 1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
Principle 2. Smile.
Principle 3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person
the sweetest and most important sound in any
NOTE: It is critical, however, to find and
call the person the name that the person WANTS
to be called. Oswald hates his name but loves
“Ozzie.” Mel feels the same way about Melvin.
Mortimer wants to be called “Mort.” Barbara
prefers “Barb.” Patricia prefers “Pat.”
POINT: ALWAYS start by asking the name that the
person WANTS to be called; if you don’t–even
with your best of intentions–you may alienate,
rather than create a positive relationship.
Principle 4. Be a good listener, and encourage others to
talk about themselves.
Principle 5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
Principle 6. Make the other person feel important, and do it
Carnegie believed that you could make more friends in two
months by becoming interested in other people than you can
in two years by trying to get people interested in you.
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
All students have two questions when they first enter any
(1) Will I fit in?
(2) Will I succeed?
Following are two simple ways to empower students so that
their SELF-TALK will be in the affirmative:
For the first, (Will I fit in?) REDUCE ANONYMITY. Start the
class by having students share the name they would like to
be called and have them share one personal fact about
themselves. It can be a hobby, a special interest, how they
enjoy spending their time, a favorite movie, a special
song–anything that others in the class can relate to about
For the second, (Will I succeed?) USE SOME EMPOWERING
APPROACH. Start an assignment or give a test with material
so EASY that students’ self-talk becomes, “I can do this.”
6. Discipline without Stress
When I recently presented in Sacramento, California, one of
the participants told me that he had attended one of my
seminars in Sacramento several years previously and that he
uses the levels of development in various situations–
including those when he assists the local police. I asked
Frank to share with attendees how he uses the program after
arresting a youth and transporting that young person to the
Frank starts by being proactive. He explains the levels of
social development, and he then informs the person that it
is the person’s choice as to how he/she will be treated upon
arrival at the destination. Frank explains that operating on
level A or B will prompt the authorities to BOSS the person
–under the premise that the person behaving on these levels
only obeys someone who has or uses greater authority.
However, if the person chooses one of the higher levels,
that person will be treated with respect. As a result, life
will be much easier for all concerned.
Frank emphasizes to the person to be aware that the level
chosen is the PERSON’S OWN CHOICE and that this choice will
have an effect upon how he/she is treated by the police
officers at the station.
Frank wrote me:
If it is a student or a subject I place under arrest, I ask
if the person is enjoying MY being in control of their
situation or whether the person would rather be in control
of him/herself. Most of the time the answer is the same: “I
don’t like this, and I want to be in control.”
I then explain each level and the consequences of choosing
When they see that their behavior is at the bullying level–
and then that the authority figure must in turn exercise
this level on them–they realize that they really want to be
at the conformity or cooperation level.
I get them to commit to that verbally and then have them
teach me what conformity/cooperation looks like to them.
I repeat to them that they admitted not liking to be
controlled by me or others. They again repeat this answer
verbally. I ask again if they are sure that they want to
control their future decisions.
At this point I ask what did they really want when they
broke the rule or procedure. The answers vary to this
question. I have heard many intimate things in this portion
of the conversation.
Before I leave them, I tell every person with whom I have
this interaction, “You are in control of your decisions. You
are in control of the outcome.”
I ask them to conform for three weeks or 21 days. Of
everyone who has done this, I never see or hear about again.
Grant Joint Union High School District
The following is from a post at
Subject: Start of the year – self-reflection from a newbie
What a difference this year! By taking this approach my
relationship with the students is incredibly wonderful. I
have always had a good connection with MOST of my students,
but there were always a few who just hated me. Those were
the kids who were disruptive. This year, it’s different. The
kids know I am about helping them, not about who’s right or
wrong, not about who said so, etc. Being new to this, I may
not do it right all the time, but the kids get my sincerity.
I had to take a medical leave and was only able to tell the
kids on my last day (due to school being canceled). Many
students voiced concern, especially because they didn’t know
it was going to happen, but one girl in particular
represents how this discipline approach has helped me with
my relationships with students.
Go back a few weeks. It was only the second week of school
and two girls were caught by the assistant principal copying
homework from my class. When they came to class, I quietly
gave them a self-reflection sheet. Since they are in
different periods, I was able to speak privately with each
at the end of the hour. In the past I would have done the
stereotypical finger wagging lecture about trust, the basic
trying to say, “I care about you,” but really just
“humiliating you” type thing.
What I did this year was to assure her that I still liked
her, that I knew she knew she made a mistake, that I wanted
to help her figure out other options she had, and I wanted
to help her move up in maturity on the hierarchy. This made
ME feel great. Those things I said were always true, I have
always felt that way, but now I have some tools to actually
make it happen. I felt caring and soft, not shaming and
Ok, now back to telling the kids I was leaving and that day
would be the last day. Guess who secretly snuck around the
room with an impromptu “We’ll Miss You” card and got
everyone to sign it? You guessed it, the girl. She presented
it to me at the end of the hour and gave me a hug. Several
other students wanted hugs, too.
What can I say!