Volume 9 Number 9
IN THIS ISSUE:
2. Promoting Responsibility
3. Increasing Effectiveness
4. Improving Relationships
5. Promoting Learning
7. Discipline without Stress
8. Testimonials and Research
MONTHLY RESPONSIBILITY AND LEARNING QUOTE:
He, who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek
happiness by changing anything but his own disposition,
will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the
grief which he purposes to move.
–Samuel Johnson (the literary giant of the 18th century)
from an exhibit at the Huntington Library, San Marino,
The book, “PARENTING WITHOUT STRESS: How to Raise
Responsible Kids While Keeping a Life of Your Own,” is now
taking pre-publication orders.
Following are two of the many comments received from around
the world from readers of the first draft.
“Your parenting book is exactly what every parent
desperately needs because it does what other discipline
experts have not done: It retains the authority responsible
parents need while creating the respectful relationship
parents want. Your sensible strategies show parents how,
while your awesome anecdotes, stories, and examples offer
practical suggestions. The delightful, well-written, and
enjoyable style is an added bonus.”
“I loved this book! It’s not just another parenting book,
and I was pleased to find it was much more than a book for
teachers re-worked for parents. I’m passing this book on to
my children in hopes that they will not make the same
mistakes I made with them. Bravo, Dr. Marshall!”
The book and the numerous stories and examples are
ESPECIALLY FOR PARENTS. For those interested in viewing the
UPDATED Table of Contents, link to
If you are interested in placing an order for a discount,
mailto:Marv@MarvinMarshall.com and in the SUBJECT line,
insert “Parenting Book.” You will be notified when the book
is available in early December (early enough for a Christmas
present) and how you can receive the advance discount copy.
At your convenience, invest 19 minutes to view the video by
Daniel Pink on the science of motivation:
(Be patient while the video loads.)
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
The following is from my soon-to-be-released
Carrots are no more effective than sticks for
helping young people make responsible choices and become
moral and ethical adults.
As indicated at the outset, this book is the result of
numerous requests for me to write a book especially for
parents based upon my previous book, “Discipline without
Stress¨ Punishments and Rewards: How Teachers and Parents
Promote Responsibility & Learning.” The book is used in many
college courses for those entering the teaching profession.
However, many people entering teaching are still taught that
it is essential to use external manipulative approaches in
order to foster responsible behavior. You decide if using
such Skinnerian approaches (reinforcing desired behavior by
some reward) uplifts and empowers students to behave
The elementary school hired a substitute during the
absence of the regular teacher.
Upon returning from lunch, a student asked if the class
had earned a star to put on the bulletin board for the
quiet way in which the class had returned.
The substitute didn’t understand the request and asked
about the procedure.
Another student explained that when students enter the
classroom quietly, the teacher puts a star on the
bulletin board. When a certain number of stars are
reached, the class is given an afternoon without any
The substitute asked, “But arenÕt you supposed to walk
quietly in the hall so that you donÕt disturb the other
classes? Why should you earn a star for doing what is
Students looked at each other, puzzled. Finally, one
student explained, “We always get a reward. Why else
should we do it?”
Half of all people entering teaching leave the profession
within five years. As studies have repeatedly shown, a major
reason has to do with discipline. My point, of course, is
that these external motivational approaches are not
successful enough with too many of today’s young people.
Here is a challenge: Inquire if an approach as in the above
story is used in the school your child attends. If so, take
the initiative (Level D) to make a significant impact on
promoting responsible behavior by sharing the approaches in
this book with the school.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
Kerry Weisner responded to a post on an educational mailring
that suggested having kids create rules in a classroom, as
opposed to having the teacher create procedures, is simply a
matter of semantics.
Kerry responded, “To me, semantics ARE the issue.”
Here is her post:
I can’t comment on how your approach and my approach might
be similar or different, but I can compare my OWN approach
of using DWS for the past seven years to the approach I used
Like you, every year my partner and I used to have our
students help develop classroom rules on the first day of
school. I found that this type of thinking created a
different teaching mindset than the mindset created when I
started to think about developing “procedures” instead of
rules. For me this turned out to be big. It was actually the
semantics to which you referred that MADE the difference.
I find I’m much more positive in my own mind when I
purposely view “misbehavior” as coming from “someone who
didn’t learn the procedure,” as when I perceive the same
behavior as coming from “someone who’s not following the
rules.” Having tried both ways, I greatly prefer teaching
from the “procedures” mindset. I find it a more relaxing and
positive approach to working with people. It puts me in a
“teaching frame of mind” rather than a “find a consequence
for breaking the rule frame of mind.”
Adopting a “procedures mindset” also focused my attention on
the need for repetition on any one procedure–which might
even be identical to a particular “rule” I used to have
before. With a “rules” mindset, I didn’t have a good
understanding of this issue. Although I always taught
routines, I didn’t teach them well enough or provide enough
practice to make them automatic for every child. Reading DWS
information, which referred me to Harry Wong’s book for
understanding classroom management issues, (as opposed to
discipline issues,) I found the following information.
Harry Wong quotes research by Madeline Hunter:
For a child to learn something new, you need to repeat
it on the average 8 times.
For a child to unlearn an old behavior and replace it
with a new behavior you need to repeat the new behavior
on the average of 28 times. 20 of those times are used to
eliminate the old behavior and 8 of the times are used to
learn the new behavior.
For the first time I began to see how the practice of
teaching procedures would allow me to reach every child and
especially help the most challenging students to become more
successful. (It also helped me to understand the value of
thinking out my classroom procedures CLEARLY before I
One understanding I gained from my reading of Marvin
Marshall’s book was that creating procedures and standards
(what I used to think of as “rules,”) is the responsibility
of the TEACHER, rather than the students. This was somewhat
of a startling idea for me but it rang true.
Marshall’s view is that classroom management is the
responsibility of the teacher, whereas discipline (in the
sense of a person being in charge of his/her own behavior,)
is the responsibility of the student. In DWS, the teacher
creates the procedures because that’s the job they’ve signed
on to do–to lead, to structure the room for learning, etc.
He says that this is not the job of the child. (The job of
the child is to make choices about their own behavior.)
If I think back to the days when I DID have kids help create
the rules, I realize that I never really intended to give
them the power to create the rules at all–because usually I
had several rules in my own mind already, before the first
day of school. (In fact, I often had a chart all prepared
that I could whip out once “we’d finished creating the rules
together.”) If a child came up with a rule I didn’t like, or
I didn’t think was reasonable or important, I didn’t allow
that rule to stand. I manipulated the conversation to come
around to what I had in my own mind anyway. So, when I
thought about it, I realized that if the kids didn’t really
create the rules, did I need to pretend that they did? Now
that I have this clear in my own mind, I have become a more
confident teacher with greater understanding of my role.
This is my current thinking: It’s MY job to create the
classroom procedures. By teaching the procedures well, I
instill my expectations–that is, I expect that students
will follow the procedures I have taught. By teaching
procedures thoroughly (8 or maybe more times for the most
challenging children,) I am actually teaching students how
to be well-behaved in my classroom–because without this
careful instruction some really don’t know HOW.
Now when it comes to discipline, that’s a different issue.
Kids are responsible for their own discipline. Why? Because
I can’t change another person, so it makes sense that the
students have to be in charge of themselves in this way.
That’s the goal of DWS–to promote responsibility and the
advantages of being self-disciplined. But that’s getting off
track from our conversation here!
So, in part, it might be semantics, but in part, definitely
not… in my experience anyway!
Kerry in BC
More of Kerry’s posts are at http://disciplineanswers.com
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
Robert Kennedy once remarked that Robert McNamara
most dangerous member of President John F. Kennedy’s
cabinet. The reason was that McNamara was so persuasive.
Michael Beschloss, the esteemed presidential historian,
suggested that McNamara was ill equipped to advise
presidents (both Kennedy and later Johnson) on defense
matters. McNamara’s penchant for numbers overcame his
understanding that some human motivations cannot be
Although economics was my major in one of my post-graduate
degrees, I lost interest in the subject when my professors
were teaching economic theories that were all based on
“rational” decision making and using numbers as the sole
source for prediction.
Unfortunately, the politics of education in the USA is using
the same ill-informed approach of primarily using numbers to
assesss learning. Basing educational progress on
standardized achievement test scores and also using them for
comparisons makes sense ony to those who know very little
about how such tests are constructed–or perhaps they have
some interest in perpetuating the MYTH THAT LEARNING CAN BE
ASCERTAINED BY NUMBERS.
Can characteristics such as perseverance, responsibility,
integrity, kindness, honesty, beauty, and appreciation be
quantified? Perhaps Skinnerian thinking is present: If the
behavior cannot be seen, it doesn’t exist.
In order to develop a spread of scores, all standardized
tests eliminate any item that all students can answer
correctly. So, although the intent is to measure what
students have learned, the tests measure other things, also.
They assess information that has been taught, influence from
socio-economic environments, students inherited academic
aptitudes, and a combination of these three
factors–according to W. James Popham, emeritus professor at
UCLA and one of the world’s most respected authorities on
testing and assessment.
As the American Educational Research Association and the
American Psychological Association have argued, educators
should never rely on a single criterion when arriving at any
sort of important decision. To do so is simple folly.
Using and comparing student scores on standardized tests to
assess learning–yet even thinking of such an approach to
assess teacher effectiveness–is simply not credible,
unless, of course, you want to believe they are.
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
Chronic fear can biologically diminish students’ abilities
to learn. A stressful school environment is biologically
counterproductive. Such environments destroy the neural
systems that are involved with learning.
–Dr. Robert Sylwester, Emeritus Professor of Education,
University of Oregon.
Are you putting your students in constant fear of failure?
Consider the use of IMPOSED punishments.
They give the adult all the power. The powerless child
doesn’t develop judgment, self-discipline, or self-control.
IMPOSED punishment takes ownership away from the child and
puts it into the hands of others.
For example, a 10-year-old is placed in a situation where he
is tempted to shoplift. All his friends are doing it and no
one in the store is watching. The child whose parent uses
IMPOSED punishments has an easier time of it. If the
youngster believes he won’t get caught, why not go ahead? In
contrast, the young person whose parents have encouraged the
development of self-discipline will have a more difficult
time. For that young person, getting caught, getting
punished is not the issue; using good judgment is.
For this child, the thought of how his behavior affects
others–the owner who has to pay for the merchandise, an
innocent victim who might get accused of the theft, parents
who may feel they have failed, and others involved in the
young person’s growth will be hurt by the breech of trust.
What a child will do when adults are not around–when there
seems that there will be no consequence–is the measure of
7. Discipline without Stress (DWS)
The inquiry/statements to me are in lower case. To make it
easy to separate, my responses are in capital letters.
READ SLOWLY AND DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING I HAVE WRITTEN
PERSONALLY. I AM TRYING TO BRING YOU AROUND TO THE
DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS MINDSET.
I am a third grade teacher. I have been reading your book
over the summer and have enjoyed it immensely. I am anxious
to try the plan in my room this year.
YOU WILL FIND THE MOST DIFFICULT PART REMINDING YOURSELF
(BEING CONSCIOUS) OF ALWAYS COMMUNICATING TO YOUR STUDENTS
IN (1) POSITIVE TERMS (WHAT YOU WANT, NOT WHAT YOU DO NOT
WANT), (2) GIVING THEM OPTIONS, AND (3) HONING IN ON THE
SKILL OF ASKING REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS. THE BOOK HAS A NUMBER
OF THEM THAT YOU MAY EVEN WANT TO POST AS A REMINDER UNTIL
ASKING (INSTEAD OF TELLING AND IMPOSING) BECOMES HABITUAL.
In the past, I have put different colored ovals on the
students’ desks. They start the day on green. If they
misbehave, they change their color to blue. Another
disobedience, and they move to purple. Next is yellow, and
last is red.
THE KEY HERE IS WHO DOES THE EVALUATING. IF THE KIDS DO IT,
FINE. IF YOU DO IT, YOUR ARE DEPRIVING THE STUDENTS OF AN
OPPORTUNITY FOR REFLECTION.
At the end of the day, I post the color that they ended the
WHY PLACE THE BURDEN ON YOURSELF? ALSO, ARE YOU SURE THAT
YOUR EVALUATION IS THE SAME AS THE STUDENTS? WHAT IF A
STUDENT DISAGREES WITH YOUR EVALUATION? WHAT HAVE YOU
GAINED? BUT YOU CERTAINLY CAN LOSE A STUDENT’S TRUST AND
INTERFERE WITH HOW THE STUDENT FEELS ABOUT YOU. (REMEMBER
THAT COGNITION AND EMOTION ARE INTER-RELATED. FIRST COMES
THE COGNITION, IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED BY EMOTION.)
If they are not on green, I let the parents know why.
YOU WOULD BE MUCH MORE SUCCESSFUL IF YOU HAD THE STUDENTS
If they are on yellow or red, I call the parents.
WHY BURDEN YOURSELF? IF YOU COMMUNICATE TO PARENTS WHEN
STUDENTS OPERATE ON LEVEL D AS OFTEN AS YOU COMMUNICATE WITH
STUDENTS WHEN THEY ACT ON AN UNACCEPTABLE LEVEL, GOOD. BUT
WHY ONLY BRING HOME BAD NEWS ABOUT A CHILD?
At this age, it is very important to them to be on green
SORRY ABOUT THIS, BUT ACCORDING TO WHOM? ALSO, ASK YOURSELF
WHY? YOUR ASSUMPTION MAY BE WITH THE STIMULUS-RESPONSE
BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY THAT IS CURRENT AMONG EDUCATORS BASED
ON AN APPROACH TO TRAIN ANIMALS–AND DENOUNCED BY EXPERTS ON
MOTIVATION (COVEY, DEMING, GLASSER, ETC. REFER TO THE DAN
PINK VIDEO IN THE “WELCOME” SECTION.)
We have class jobs, and if they are on yellow, they loose
their job for the week.
WHY? WHO IMPOSED THIS–YOU OR THE STUDENT? ELICITING A
PROCEDURE TO HELP THE STUDENT WILL BE MORE EFFECTIVE. SEE
PHASE 3, PAGE 100 OF THE RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM IN THE
BOOK, OR NUMBER 10 AT
That is basically the only consequence, other than
contacting their parents.
AGAIN, THE CRITICAL QUESTION IS WHO DECIDES THE CONSEQUENCE.
REVIEW THE FIRST LETTER IN THE BOOK SECTION ENTITLED,
“LETTERS WORTH READING.”
Most of the time, they get in trouble with their parents
after they see that they are not on green.
IS THIS WHAT YOU REALLY WANT? DO YOU WANT PARENTS TO PUNISH?
DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE TO MAKE A YOUNGSTER FEEL
BAD IN ORDER TO DO GOOD?
The children are much better behaved, at least for awhile.
“FOR A WHILE” IS THE KEY. NO EXTERNAL APPROACH TO BEHAVIORAL
CHANGE IS LONG-LASTING.
I have very few discipline problems, and hardly ever have to
send a child to the office.
BUT ARE YOUR STUDENTS LEARNING JUST TO BE OBEDIENT? OR
ARE YOU INSPIRING AND UPLIFTING YOUNG PEOPLE TO MAKE
RESPONSIBLE DECISIONS FOR LIVING IN A CIVIL SOCIETY?
Since I am using your plan this year, I wanted to ask you if
I should still use this system. If not, what do you
IF SCHOOL HAS ALREADY STARTED AND IF YOU HAVE ALREADY
STARTED WITH THE OLD SYSTDEM, CONTINUE IT. THEN USE PRACTICE
TWO: GIVE YOUR STUDENTS A CHOICE. ASK THEM IF THEY BELIEVE
THAT YOU NEED TO MONITOR THEM OF IF THEY ARE MATURE ENOUGH
TO MONITOR THEMSELVES.
IF SCHOOL HAS NOT STARTED, IMPLEMENT DWS AND SEE HOW
MUCH EASIER YOUR DAYS WILL BE AND HOW MUCH MORE RESPONSIBLE
YOUR STUDENTS WILL BECOME.
The parents always ask what system we use.
FOR THE PARENTS, SEE
OR USE THE SAMPLE LETTER TO PARENTS ON PAGE 283.
YOU SEE THAT “DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS” REQUIRES A
DIFFERENT MINDSET THAN WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN ACCUSTOMED TO.
TRUST THE PROCESS. YOU WILL GROW AND ENJOY IT–AS WILL YOUR
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT ANYTHING YOU DO DIFFERENTLY IS GOING TO
FEEL UNEASY AND STRANGE AT FIRST–UNTIL YOU HAVE USED IT
ENOUGH TIMES SO THAT YOUR BRAIN HAS ESTABLISHED NEW NEURAL
CONNECTIONS TO BECOME YOUR NEW HABIT.
What a wonderful session! Attendees lingered to talk and
share. You surely have discovered a way of helping all of us
respond responsibly and at the highest level in human
relations. Unforgettable! Thank you sincerely for all you
have done for us.
Marilyn J. Boyce
Facilitator, Paraprofessional Teacher Training Program
Orange County Department of Education
Orange County, California
If you are at a school in the U.S.A. and have received the
books for all faculty members and the in-house staff
development package described at
contact me for the possibility of a pro bono presentation: