Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – April 2004

Voume 4 Number 4 


 1.  Welcome

  2. Promoting Responsibility

  3. Increasing Effectiveness

  4. Improving Relationships

  5. Promoting Learning

  6. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:

    Free Mailring

    Your Questions Answered

    Impulse Management Posters and Cards


I recently asked a principal

in New Jersey to write what she had shared with her district about her

experiences with the Raise Responsibility System. I intend to submit her article

with some additions to the journal of the National Association of Elementary

School Principals (NAESP).

I will be giving two presentations at the NAESP conference later this month in

San Francisco, and the article is such a wonderful testimonial to the

effectiveness of the approach that I have reproduced it for sharing at my


You will find this short article worth your reading at


If you are an educator and have a desire to truly improve schools to make them

places were young people WANT to attend and WANT to learn, I urge you to send

the link to your school principal, assistant superintendent, or superintendent.

“Using A Discipline System

to Promote Learning,” was the featured article in the March 2004 PHI DELTA

KAPPAN. It can be read online at


The first half of the article explains the creation of the Raise Responsibility

System and how the concepts of Stephen Covey, Abraham Maslow, Douglas McGregor,

William Glasser, and W. Edwards Deming are used. In the second half of the

article, a teacher gives a first-hand account of using the system to promote

both responsible behavior AND academic improvement.

I received the following e-mail on April 8 from a new subscriber to this e-zine:

I found your website because my principal gave our team a copy of an article

about you and the theory behind your hierarchy. I went to your website and have

been busily reading everything. I taught the hierarchy to my students yesterday

and today I had different kids. The knot between my shoulders is gone, and I’m

going home happy for the first time in weeks. THANK YOU!!!! I am telling

everyone I know about you, and I’m recommending your book be on our booktalk

list next school year.

Video Preview (Video Clip)

View a ten (10) minute video presenting the three principles to practice and the

three parts of the Raise Responsibility System. The video clip is from the

90-minute video cassette included in the In-House Staff Development package

described at


The clip can be viewed from


This clip will be part of the eighth edition of C.C. Charles’ classic textbook,

“Classroom Discipline.” Since the Raise Responsibility System (RRS) is the only

discipline approach that is totally noncoercive, the system will have an entire

chapter devoted to it in the textbook. It is due for publication later this




When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,* And the world makes you

king for a day, Then go to the mirror and look at yourself, And see what that

guy has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife, Whose judgment upon you must pass,

The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life Is the guy staring back from

the glass.

He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest For he’s with you clear up to

the end, And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test If the guy in the

glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum, And think you’re a wonderful

guy, But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum If you can’t look him

straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years, And get pats on the back

as you pass, But your final reward will be heartaches and tears If you’ve

cheated the guy in the glass.

* ‘pelf’ is a derogatory or

jocular word for money or wealth (Oxford Dictionary)

© 1934 by Dale Wimbrow

1895 – 1954


If you want to appear more

confident and self-assured, then stop worrying about failure. Very few

conditions and decisions represent fatal outcomes or desperate setbacks. If you

stop focusing on failure, you begin supporting success.

Come from abundance–never from lack.


I was brought up on the

principle my mother instilled in me, “If you can’t say anything nice about a

person, then don’t say anything at all.”

This counsel grew into the first principle of my life’s practices:

positivity–described in my book as the first principle to reduce stress.

In building relationships, negativism is the biggest enemy. You don’t want it in

your mind. You don’t want it in your house. You don’t want it in your

environment. You don’t want negativism for those who may work for you, your

friends, or your associates. You don’t want anything to do with it. When you see

it, either turn around and run the other way, or ask the person how the idea can

be stated in a more constructive manner.


All attendees at the recent

conference of the The National Association of Secondary Principals (NASSP)

received the recent update of “Breaking Ranks (with the status quo) II:

Strategies for Leading High School Reform”–the association’s most recent

landmark publication. In addition, thanks to a grant from the Bill and Melinda

Gates Foundation, the publication has been sent to every high school principal

in the country.

The original publication of “Breaking Ranks: Changing An American Institution”

included “reducing anonymity” as one of six essential requirements to improve

American high schools.

Breaking Ranks II reduces essential categories to three touchstones but

continues to list the importance of relationships and their importance to

learning under “Personalization.”

Here is an easy way to implement personalization–to reduce

anonymity–in any grade level and in any subject area:

Interview every one of your students.

Even on the secondary level where a teacher may have 150 students per day, 3

minutes can be planned to interview one student each day.

An explicit message in these personal communications is one of recognition–that

the teacher wants to know the student. An interview also carries the implicit

message that the teacher cares about the student. This simple strategy

implements the old adage that the student doesn’t care what the teacher knows

until the student knows that the teacher cares.

After making a note on a

worksheet, (such as Microsoft’s Excel), you can start categories listing names

of students interested in







and then subgroups to limit the number in each category.

Set the stage by first

telling students something about yourself.

Periodically, have students interview one other student whom you suggest based

upon some common factor, such as one of the above categories.

Such activities will greatly enhance the possibility that every student will

have at least one friend in each classroom.

6. Implementing the RAISE


I currently teach at the

last stop for kids with behavioral problems along with drug abuse. Classroom

management and discipline has to be consistent and talked about on a regular

basis or the students that just arrived will not buy into the program. Your plan

on discipline appears to be working. There are a few problems that I have

noticed, such as:

  1. It is hard to break old

    habits such as yelling and


  2. Some students expect the


  3. Some teachers won’t buy in

    on this style of discipline.

  4. Some students don’t

    understand the mechanics of this

    style, especially when it works.

  5. Teachers using different

    discipline plans tend to

    confuse the students.

I would like to use your

plan as a template for classroom management and discipline. I understand the

difference between the two. I feel that it is necessary to include both. I am

looking forward to hearing from you.


When you refer to classroom

management and discipline being consistent, you are talking about two different

subjects. Classroom management (routines and procedures) should be practiced.

Discipline, on the other hand, should be invisible.

Classroom management is the teachers’ responsibility. Discipline is the

students’ responsibility. See



Superior teachers’ classroom management is so smooth that it isn’t even

noticeable. The reason is that procedures have been taught, practiced,

reinforced, and occasionally revisited. When these teachers have a discipline

problem, they have established an approach where they rarely, if ever, use

coercion with their students.

You mention that the system appears to be working but that there are a few

problems, listed below as numbers 1 – 5.

1. It is hard to break old

habits such as yelling and screaming.

Yes! That is why you need a

procedure to redirect your

habitual approach (Impulse Management)


Think of your options: your questions, your tone of voice,

and your kinesics (body language,e.g., pointing a finger vs.

an open hand).

2. Some students expect the


So what? Are you going to

allow them to direct your

behavior? Does yelling enhance learning?

3. Some teachers won’t buy

into this style of discipline.

They don’t because they

think that discipline and punishment

are synonymous. They use external manipulative or coercive

approaches in attempts to change behavior. These are very

unsophisticated and counterproductive approaches.

Manipulation is not long-lasting, and coercion NEVER prompts

a person to WANT do what you would like the person to do.

Coercive approaches are never joyful. They may be

temporarily satisfying as with punishment–which may bring

satisfaction to the punisher but has little long-lasting

effect on the person being punished. A prime reason is that

punishment is imposed. It is something done TO another

person. This is in contrast to effective discipline which is

done WITH or FOR the person. Nothing that is imposed has a

long life because the person hasn’t any ownership in it.

4. Some students don’t

understand the mechanics of this

style, especially when it works.

They don’t need to. The only

thing students need to know are

the levels of social development and that they–consciously

or not–always choose their level of behavior. No one

chooses if for them.

5. Teachers using different

discipline plans tend to

confuse the students.

This is not a problem for

students. Young people are very

perceptive. They know that all teachers are different–as

are parents.

Chances are that your students have been abused or alienated

and feel victimized by society. If teachers want to

successfully fulfill their mission at the school, they will

stop using coercive approaches and start to empower

students–rather than attempt to overpower them.

You can share and learn more about the RAISE



Return to Top


Learning a procedure to

respond appropriately to impulses is described on the Impulse Management

link at