Volume 8 Number 9
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:
Why is classroom management (procedures) so important?
1) If you don’t have good management, you will have (to a
greater or lesser degree) chaos. You can’t teach someone to
be SELF-disciplined in the midst of chaos. Simple as that!
2) The discipline approach itself is actually based on
handling most discipline problems by helping the
undisciplined students with procedures to keep themselves in
control. It’s hard to help someone else create effective
procedures if you aren’t doing it well yourself.
The foundation of the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM (Part III
of the DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS TEACHING MODEL) is to be
PROACTIVE by teaching BEFORE problems occur.
Some people truly understand how teaching the hierarchy can
have amazing results. Kerry is one of those perceptive
people. SHE DOES NOT FOCUS ON “DISCIPLINE.” In fact she
never even refers to this term.
Notice the title: The RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM.
Referring to any discipline approach–and announcing
consequences for irresponsible behaviors 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
EFFECTIVE IN PREVENTING IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR. Whispering
in a misbehaving student’s ear, “DonÕt worry what will
happen; weÕll talk about it later,” immediately redirects
the student’s attention, stops the disruption, eliminates
teacher stress, and takes no time away from instruction.
Read ineffective and counterproductive approaches at
Back to how Kerry uses the hierarchy.
She thinks of the HIERARCHY as an OPPORTUNITY for YOUNG
PEOPLE TO HAVE A RUBRIC OR REFERENCE FOR MAKING DECISIONS IN
She focuses on #8 of the “Significant Points of The
Hierarchy of Social Development.” Studying these points will
enhance your understanding and effectiveness in using the
hierarchy. You will find it worth your while to download the
NOTE: As with all pdf’s (portable document format), if you
have difficulty printing it, move the document to your
desktop; then print it.
DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS (DWS), INC. has now distributed
free books to all certificated staff members and a free
staff development package to schools in eight of the United States.
The school need not be in a low economic area. As long as
the USA school has a student who could be classified as “low
economic,” the entire school can qualify.
The application can be downloaded at
My travels the last week in August took me coast to
coast–from the Bronx Guild High School, in the Bronx, New
York to Stoner Avenue School with the Los Angeles Unified
School District, near Marina del Rey Middle School where I
I always enjoy visiting the “Big Apple” since I used to
travel there on a regular basis when I had a three-year
contract with the New York City Board of Education assisting
schools in Harlem and in Upper Manhattan. The Bronx Guild
High School is located at the Adlai Stevenson High School
building, which now has six different focused schools in the
plant. New York is not only focusing on how to differentiate
instruction, it is differentiating its schools. The Bronx
Guild High School is part of a growing network of “Big
Picture Schools” at
Returning to one of my old school areas with the Los Angeles
Unified School District is always gratifying. My most
emotional decision in education was leaving the Los Angeles
district that had given me so many opportunities–including
teaching grades 7 – 12, being a demonstration teacher,
department chair, counselor, athletic director, assistant to
the dean, instructional coordinator, and the director of a
school within a school.
I moved from Los Angeles and took on principalship
experiences at the elementary, middle, and high school
levels. Returning to the classroom after 24 years gave me a
unique perspective that led to developing my approach. The
three phases of the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM stem
directly from developing a proactive approach (TEACHING),
Checking for Understanding (ASKING, from my counseling
experiences) and Guided Choices (ELICITING, from my
Pam Williams, Principal at Stoner Avenue School, wrote after
my presentation, “Thank you again for the awesome
professional development.” Sam Decker, Principal, and Jeff
Palladino, Co-Director of the Bronx Guild High School wrote,
“Dr. Marshall’s approach helped us build our student body to
become capable of motivating themselves and taking personal
responsibility for their decisions. We have had the
smoothest opening of a school year to date; our work with
him was a key factor in helping that happen. I recommend to
anyone who works with young people that they jump at the
opportunity to work with Dr. Marshall.”
Everything I presented at both the New York high school and
the Los Angeles elementary school is in the In-House Staff
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
I have been using DWS in grade one for a year. I didn’t
quite win over the rest of the staff last year. They were
not ready to give up rewards and praise. However, my
principal is now gung ho. He is going to push it this year.
He would like to design a form for the students that
requires consequences. It is very important to him for the
parents to be kept informed of their children’s behavior at
school since we are a team with the home.
Up until now, each teacher has had their own discipline
form. My principal wants one form to be used by all staff.
He suggested that it include the offence, the student’s
response and a list of possible consequences, plus blank
lines for additional suggestions. It is very important to
him that the students learn responsibility for their
actions, and that they make good choices using INTRINSIC
motivation. He realizes that the student should suggest the
INTRINSIC motivation and having someone else discipline you
is an oxymoron, as in cruel kindness. One invalidates the
By definition, “INTRINSIC MOTIVATION” infers something you
WANT or LIKE to do. Would you WANT to have someone else
Extensive discussions on motivation occupies large sections
of the book at http://www.DisciplineWithoutStress.com/.
DWS uses “INTERNAL”–rather than “INTRINSIC”–motivation
(although technically all motivation is internal) because
taking responsibility and being considerate of others is not
something that is “natural.” These are characteristics that
are taught. Saying, “Thank you” and “Please” are not inborn
I have already alluded to how counterproductive talking
about discipline is in the “Welcome” section. I also suggest
the following for your school’s consideration.
Although consistency is important, IMPOSING THE SAME
CONSEQUENCE ON ALL STUDENTS IS THE LEAST FAIR APPROACH. When
a consequence is imposed–be it called logical or
natural–students are deprived of ownership in the decision.
A more effective and fairer approach is to ELICIT A
CONSEQUENCE OR A PROCEDURE THAT WILL HELP STUDENTS REDIRECT
IMPULSES TO BECOME MORE RESPONSIBLE. See
Being consistent is easily accomplished by asking students
if they would rather be treated as a group or as
individuals. They will have a preference to be treated as
individuals and have ownership in the decision that will
HELP them–rather than hurt them. This approach satisfies
the consistency requirement AND is in each person’s best
The same approach also works with parents if they insist on
knowing consequences AHEAD OF TIME. Parents do not realize
that IMPOSING PUNISHMENTS IS BASED ON THE ANTIQUATED IDEA
THAT A PERSON HAS TO BE HURT–TO BE HARMED–IN ORDER TO
LEARN. It is the responsibility of the teacher, who is the
professional, to teach the parents in such cases. This is
easy to do. Simply ask the same question to the parent that
was asked of students.
Try it. You will like it.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
The brain and body are an integrated system. You cannot
separate one from the other. Feelings and cognition are
interrelated and have a significant effect upon learning and
performance. If you are a parent, you know this. When your
child returned home after the first day of school, you may
have asked, “How was school?” You also may have asked, “What
did you learn?” And you most certainly asked, “Do you like
your teacher?” If the child has negative feelings about the
teacher, the entire year can become a negative experience.
An understanding of this brain-body connection is essential
for reducing stress and influencing others. THOUGHTS HAVE
DIRECT AND POWERFUL CONNECTIONS TO ALL SORTS OF
PHYSIOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS. Think hard enough about jumping out
of an airplane, and your heart will start to race and your
palms to sweat.
We know from our personal experiences and through research
on the workings of the brain that HOW WE FEEL has a
significant effect upon WHAT and HOW we THINK and BEHAVE.
Therefore, establishing positive relationships between
teachers and students while prompting positive students’
perceptions about their teachers is one of the most
fundamental steps to improve learning.
As so many have told me, just implementing the first
practice of talking to young people so that they perceive
communications in a POSITIVE–rather than in a negative or
coercive way–has significantly improved relationships,
reduced stress, and increased students’ efforts in their
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
Most successful conversations are interactive. Both
participate. Otherwise, the activity would not really be a
conversation. It would be a monologue.
However, there are times when the speaker would really like
to finish a thought before the speaking role defers to the
other person. Since humor is one of the most effective
techniques to relieve tension and get a point across, I
share with you a line I used while speaking to my wife and
daughter. It brought them laughter and allowed me to finish.
After being interrupted, I simply said, “Excuse me for
speaking while you’re interrupting.”
Feel free to make it your own.
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
Spence Rogers and the Peak Learning Systems Team suggest a
number of ideas upon which to reflect. The following are
–Hang decorative and inspirational posters.
–Plan how you will greet students as they enter the room.
–Bring plants into the classroom.
–Set up a water station or a means for students to get
drinks whenever they are thirsty.
–Set up a music system for CD’s or MP3’s with a remote.
–Select and prepare music that will create your desired
–Have upbeat music playing as they enter.
–Check for clear visibility of all visuals from everywhere.
Sit in each student’s seat and put your eyes at the
typical student eye level.
–Plan for a beginning that engages students within the
first 90 seconds after class begins.
–Begin convincing all students that each one of them will
be successful in your class.
More from Peak Learning Systems are available at
6. Discipline without Stress (DWS)
The following is from a post by Kerry at the DWS mailring:
When students are following procedures, they are at an
acceptable level of operation, Level C. YOU DON’T NEED
RULES. Procedures and expectations accomplish what rules are
supposed to do. And they do it better because specific
procedures spell out clearly and exactly what you want
students to do.
Level D is always available as a choice. You might refer to
that option a lot, but always word it as an OPTION–which is
the secret to making it even more attractive.
With VERY YOUNG STUDENTS, aim at getting them to understand
the difference in a very simple concrete way connected to
the classroom (as opposed to examples from life in general).
Describe Level C as the level where you do the right thing
or you do what’s expected by the teacher BECAUSE the teacher
is asking you to do it. BECAUSE the teacher is there,
students will do what is asked. They will pick up the
garbage when they are asked. They will walk nicely in the
hall when the teacher is supervising them. They will clean
up a mess they have made when they know the teacher is
watching. At first, they need something or someone OUTSIDE
of themselves to induce them to act correctly. This is okay,
but it’s not the highest level.
Level D is the highest level. It’s higher than Level C
because students do the right thing because they WANT to.
Level D LOOKS JUST LIKE Level C if someone is observing the
situation. At Level C a person walks nicely in the hallway
and at Level D a person walks nicely in the hallway.
The difference is on the INSIDE of the person. The
difference is that at Level D a person doesn’t need anyone
or any thing outside of the person to do what is expected.
At Level D students CHOOSE to walk nicely in the hallway
because they know it’s the expected and responsible thing to
do. They don’t want to hurt anyone accidentally so they
walk. Whether an adult is present or not, they choose to
walk; they choose to do the appropriate thing. (They know
what the appropriate thing is because you’ve clearly
outlined these things as your procedures.)
Only the person can know if the MOTIVATION is at Level D or
at Level C. How does the person know? The person FEELS it!
Level C doesn’t FEEL all that special inside. It’s just an
ordinary feeling inside.
Level D FEELS WONDERFUL, satisfying. You feel proud of
yourself. You feel capable. You feel a warmth in your heart.
This feeling is telling you that you’re doing the right
thing because you WANT to–rather than because you HAVE to.
You are feeling powerful because you are managing all by
yourself, and you are doing the right thing BY YOUR OWN CHOICE.
The hierarchy can be viewed at
Kerry’s has analyzed posts from the mailring and categorized
them at http://disciplineanswers.com/
I recently spoke with a teacher who had attended one of your
trainings a year or two back, and according to him, your
techniques had revolutionized his classroom. This is
especially significant since this teacher had previously
relied primarily on drill sergeant-like coercion to maintain
his classroom environment.
This was the second such conversation I have had regarding
your trainings with this teacher. It was interesting to me
that he was just as enthusiastic about what he had learned
during our most recent conversation as he was when we had
first talked about it about a year earlier. I’ve known this
teacher for a long time, so I know how he teaches. He
doesn’t take to new ideas or techniques very easily, so when
he endorsed your trainings, I paid attention.
–Terry Jones, Coordinator of Professional Development
Antelope Valley Union High School District,
Antelope Valley, California