Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – November 2008

Volume 8 Number 11


1. Welcome

2. Promoting Responsibility

3. Increasing Effectiveness

4. Improving Relationships

5. Promoting Learning

6. Discipline without Stress

7. Testimonials and Research



Our job is to teach the kids we have–
Not those we would like to have,
Not those we used to have,
But those we have right now–
All of them.

Bill Page


We act according to what we believe. In other words, what we
believe determines what we do. It makes no difference if
it’s true or not. We believe it.

We burned witches at the stake. Burning was the only way to
kill the evil spirit within the body. It makes no difference
of its truth; people believed it.

We put leeches to George Washington to suck out the bad
parts of his blood. This common practice hastened his death.
It makes no difference whether the practice of the
physicians was actually effective regarding improving
health; they believed it.

What we believe determines what we do. If we believe that
all students should come to school motivated to learn, then
why plan to make lessons meaningful, interesting, useful or
even fun? Do you think all kids come to school motivated to
learn every lesson you teach?

What you believe about your students and motivation (to
learn) will determine what you do–or don’t do. It makes no
difference about the truth. You act on your belief.

–From a DVD BY Bill Page

I have viewed Bill’s DVD’s. They are a treasure for
is now retired and selling his series of 14 DVD’s for $79,
which includes postage and handling.

If you are a classroom teacher who would like to learn some
practical, effective, and motivational strategies that
actuate even the most reluctant of students to learn, take
advantage of this very special offer. If you implement just
a few of Bill’s ideas, your teaching enjoyment and success
–and your students’ learning–will significantly
increase. Note: A few of the sessions start slowly. Your
patience will be rewarded.

You can get more details and contact Bill Page personally at


The public school in which I teach does not
even display its
name outside the building. We have one, and at times, two
police officers on duty. The school is highly gang
affiliated. The school is for students that have not been
successful in their home school or in their alternative
school. Our goal is to get the students back to their home
schools. Behavior is our first concern.

It never dawned on me to teach REFLECTING to students. Your

“Can you manage yourself even though someone beside you
is not managing too well, or would you like to move to
another spot where you can better manage yourself?”

is inspiring. We use the rewards system in several ways as
well as punishment. WOW are we off base. I need to build a
rapport with the students and ask them to reflect on their
behavioral choices.

Thank you,
St. Louis, MO


Be cautious of “Why?” questions. Asking, “Why?” is one of
the most frequently used and ineffective questions. It not
only has an accusatory overtone, it also blocks
communications because it prompts negative feelings. Let’s
prove the point. Say the following question out loud so you
can hear yourself:

“Why are you doing that?”

Notice that when you asked this question, your voice pitch
rose higher and your volume increased. Also, notice the
effect on your emotions when you asked, this “Why?”

Now, say the following out loud so you can hear yourself:

“What do you think we should do now?”

Notice that the emotional aspect was reduced because the
aim was toward a resolution–rather than on the cause. The
cause could have merely been a mistake or an accident–
something that happens to adults as well as to young people.

If you believe it was a mistake, you will address the
problem differently than if you had believed that the person
intentionally misbehaved.


A classic story that bears repeating: HOW YOU LOOK AT IT

A man pulled into a gas station on the outskirts of town. As
he filled his tank, he remarked to the attendant, “I’ve just
accepted a job in town. I’ve never been to this part of the
country. What are people like here?”

“What are people like where you came from?” the attendant

“Not so nice,” the man replied. “In fact, they can be quite

The attendant shook his head. “Well, I’m afraid you’ll find
the people in this town to be the same way.”

Just then another car pulled into the station. “Excuse me,”
the drive called out. “I’m just moving to this area. Is it
nice here?”

“Was it nice where you came from?” the attendant inquired.

“Oh, yes! I came from a great place. The people were
friendly, and I hated to leave.”

“Well, you’ll find the same to be true of this town.”

“Thanks!” yelled the driver as he pulled away.

“So what is this town really like?” asked the first man, now
irritated with the attendant’s conflicting reports.

The attendant just shrugged his shoulders. “It’s all a
matter of perception. You’ll find things to be just the way
you think they are.”


A jigsaw classroom is where students work in teams to master
an assignment on which they will be tested. Just as in a
jigsaw puzzle, each student in the group holds one piece
essential for full understanding. For example, in studying
the creation of the American Constitution each team member
becomes a specialist on one area, viz., the Southern
viewpoint, the Northeastern Viewpoint, the middle states
viewpoint. The specialists study their specific viewpoint
with students from other groups studying the same topic.
Then the specialists go back to their home group and teach
the others.

To master the subject, the whole group must listen to what
each specialist has to say. If the others heckle or tune out
the specialist, they risk doing poorly on the test that
follows. The earning process itself encourages listening,
respect, and cooperation.

Students in jigsaw learning groups quickly let go of their
negative stereotypes. Likewise, studies in multicultural
schools show that the more friendly contacts students have
across group divides, the less their bias.

Take Julio, a fifth-grader who left the school that many
Mexican-American students attend in order to be bused to a
different neighborhood. Kids in his new school were better
informed in all subjects. They ridiculed him and his accent.
Julio became an instant outsider, shy and insecure.

But in the jigsaw classroom, the same students who had made
fun of him now had to depend on his piece of the learning
puzzle for their own success. At first they put him down for
his halting delivery, making him freeze–and they all did
poorly. So they began to help and encourage him. The more
they helped, the more relaxed and articulate Jesus became.
His performance improved as his group mates saw him in an
increasingly favorable light.

Jigsaw learning prompts total participation, collaboration,
and reliance on others. The results, as can be seen by this
example, are significant. It is a total win-win situation
that can be applied to many areas–depending upon the
creativity of the teacher.

6. Discipline without Stress (DWS)


I teach 8th and 9th grades, and three of my five classes
have responded beautifully. The other two are about to make
me pull my hair out. I have a group of boys and a few girls
in each of the two classes who think it is their mission to
make me miserable.



1) As a starter, print and implement suggestions at the pdf at

2) Refer to pages 101 – 106 and pages 284 – 287 in the book.
(http://www.DisciplineWithoutStress.com/) Chose one or two
of the “ringleaders” and work with them individually .

3) Communicate with them in questions and be sure you give them
three (3) choices. One option can be their own.
(a) Have a parent in for a conference,
(b) While I am standing next to you, explain to your parents
over the phone how you have been behaving, or
(c) What do you suggest?

If they choose suggestion (a) or (b) HAVE THEM EXPLAIN

4) Remind them that if they operate on Level B, they will only
act appropriately when authority is used and that they are
asking you to boss them. Remind them that their behavior
determines the type of teacher they have. Level B student
behavior requires that the teacher act as a Level B teacher

Remember that you need to use authority with students acting
on an inappropriate level, but you do not need to be

5) Continually ask students if what they are doing is
same way that you have a reason for what you are asking them
to do. Have them reflect on the reason for their behavior.

6) The foundation of the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM (Part III
PROACTIVE by teaching BEFORE problems occur. After stduents
understand the level, then follow through as necessary with
“Checking for Understanding” and “Guided Choices.” see


Some people truly understand how teaching the hierarchy can
have amazing results. Kerry Weisner is one of those
perceptive people. SHE DOES NOT FOCUS ON “DISCIPLINE.” In
fact she never even refers to this term.
See http://marvinmarshall.com/pdf/hierarchy_significant_points.pdf

Referring to any discipline approach–and announcing
consequences for irresponsible behavior BEFORE they
occur–infers that students will misbehave. This is a
NEGATIVE APPROACH. Schools that insist on having teachers
post consequences are not doing a service to themselves,
teachers, students, or parents. KNOWING WHAT WILL HAPPEN
AHEAD OF TIME enables the student to measure in advance the
desired behavior against the consequence. “Will the behavior
be more fun than the consequence?” NOT KNOWING IS FAR MORE
in a misbehaving student’s ear, “Don’t worry what will
happen; we’ll talk about it later” immediately redirects the
student’s attention, stops the disruption, eliminates
teacher stress, and takes no time away from instruction. At
your convenience, then have a private discussion with the
student to ELICIT a procedure or consequence that will help
the student be more responsible if an inappropriate impulse
arises again.

See Kerry’s blog at http://disciplineanswers.com/

7. Testimonials/Research

I have just begun using DWS this year with my 4-year-old
special needs preschool classes. I absolutely love it. No,
my class is not perfect. No, it does not solve all behavior
problems. What it does for the first time is reward my kids
that are being good while helping the kids that are not. It
makes me view everything as a teachable moment, rather than
as a child’s attempt to undermine. I love the way it
stresses the positive and actually encourages me to pay more
attention to the children doing the right thing. I have much
to learn and need to practice many aspects but I am
extremely excited about the journey. So far, things are
going very well. I believe I would have more problems with
the personalities in my class if I were doing it the old

The idea of teaching every procedure is also a huge
life-saver. I have a mild autistic child and another that
may be autistic. The concept of 6 to 8 weeks to learn the
procedures is very hard but has reaped many rewards. It is
tough to slow down and NOT be doing some of the things I was
doing last year (and that other teachers are doing at our
school). However, I don’t believe I am behind. I may not do
as many things as the previous year, but content-wise I am
even, if not ahead! They are listening better (notice, not
perfectly but definitely better) and transitions are
smoother because we practice! I am trying not to preach too
much to co-workers, but it is hard to curtail my enthusiasm.
I definitely want to become better at this approach.

I think it has so much to offer the GOOD kids. I have always
been concerned for the good kids because we spend so much of
our time trying to offer rewards to the problem kids to get
them to be good. Finally, I believe this approach helps ALL
kids with the same approach. I’m sold!

Terri Gibson, Early Childhood Special Education, Ohio