Volume 5 Number 2
IN THIS ISSUE:
2. Promoting Responsibility
3. Increasing Effectiveness
4. Improving Relationships
5. Promoting Learning
6. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:
Your Questions Answered
Impulse Management Posters and Cards
What People Say About THE RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
I recently returned from
Seoul, South Korea (officially The Republic of Korea–as differentiated from the
People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea).
The nine presentations in eleven days kept me rather busy, but learning
different cultures has always been of interest to me, and when I present I
always learn from participants.
My presentations were to English speaking teachers and parents at international
schools. Their students are
considered Third Culture Kids (TCK). A third culture kid is a person who has
spent a significant part of his or her
developmental years outside the parents’ culture. TCKs build relationships to
other cultures while not having full
ownership in any. For example, the parents are Korean but the students have
lived in different countries, usually
because of a parent’s corporate or embassy job. There are thousands of Korean
youth who are TCKs. They have lived in a foreign country; when they return to
Korea, they are not accepted by native Koreans–hence, the label, “Third Culture
Their “home” is defined by relationships.
To illustrate the concept, here is an interview from the book, “Third Culture
Kids: The Experience of Growing Up
Among Worlds” by David Pollack and Ruth Van Reken. (Yarmouth, Maine:
Intercontinental Press, copyright 2001,
When Dave Pollack asked Ben,
a TCK from the diplomatic community, “Where’s home?” Ben replied, “Egypt.” Dave
was somewhat surprised as he had not previously heard Ben talk about Egypt, so
Dave asked how long he had been there.
“Well,” Ben replied, “I actually haven’t been to Egypt yet, but that’s where my
parents are posted now. They moved there from Mozambique right after I left for
university, so when I go home for Christmas vacation that’s where I’ll go.
Because TCKs have moved out
from their primary culture and are no longer so readily accepted by it, they
associate with others like themselves.
Having worked in urban districts (Los Angeles and New York City) and in a number
of suburban districts in Southern
California (Westminster, Norwalk, and Baldwin Park), my mind made an immediate
psychological comparison of some of the students I have worked with in these
communities to TCKs.
People in poverty value relationships more than anything else, and there is a
tendency to disparage those who want to be different from the group. Perhaps
this is most visible when the “home group” refers to others attempting to do
well in school as being “White,” “Whitey,” or as “Uncle Toms.” A prime reason is
that those who leave often do not return with the same values as the home group,
and, therefore, the relationship is diminished.
We see an increasing number of TCKs in America. One can live in many communities
in the USA and live a life without
speaking English. The youngsters who strive to speak Standard American English
and strive to learn and improve
their conditions are, in a sense, Third Culture Kids. They resist the pressure
from their peers to “keep them from
moving up and out.”
Sometimes it takes going outside a culture and looking in to understand the
pressure that so many current youth feel.
For those interested specifically in the Korean culture, an excellent book is
“Confucius Meets Piaget: An Educational
Perspective on Ethnic Korean Students and Their Parents” by Jonathan F. Borden.
Available from the author for USD $10.00 plus postage from Korea. Contact
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2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
If you reflect on your
self-talk, you will conclude that your thoughts often involve past experiences
visions. However, what you are choosing to do is often done nonconsciously.
Taking action is a current activity–not a past or future one. In addition,
action requires more than thought. For
example, if there are three frogs on a lily pond and one decides to jump, you
may conclude–in error–that there
would be two frogs left. However, deciding to jump is not the same as jumping.
In this situation, three frogs would
still be left.
More than thinking about the past or the future, it is taking action in the
present that leads to responsible
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
If you want to increase
your effectiveness with anyone–employee, spouse, child, or student–start by
stating something positive.
The famous folk hero, Will Rogers, said, “In all your life, you will never find
a method more effective in getting
through to another person than to make that person feel important.”
Find something that is deserving of recognition or some behavior or result that
you like. Then let the person know
that you appreciate it. In simple terms, acknowledge successes of a person.
When you build on what prompts a person to feel good, you will soon see how much
more effective you become.
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
A post from
I had an experience with one of my students that I call, “Level D at the Beach!”
While on a field trip, I had an
opportunity to use the hierarchy with a child who had shown a high level of
integrity. I was able to help him recognize the fact because of the RRSystem.
I recently had another situation in which I was able to use the hierarchy to
help a child feel a bit better about her
dealings with a difficult desk partner. I thought I’d share it because I think
it’s helpful to hear stories of classroom
experiences and because I want to encourage people to remember to use the
hierarchy to help children acknowledge
not only their misbehaviour, but also to become aware of their higher level
behaviour as well.
One little girl in our class this year, Deidre, is showing escalating signs of
emotional disturbance. . . and no
wonder, she’s had an extremely difficult life so far–far more difficult than
anything I’ve ever experienced. Sadly,
because of the anger and pain she has to deal with in her personal life, she is
frequently quite cold or even mean in
her comments to the other students. Although very articulate and bright, she
often speaks impulsively and without much regard for the feelings of other
people. Her classmates do their best to live with her and be kind but sometimes
her sharp tongue is just too much for them to handle.
Such was the case when I returned to the classroom after lunch, last Tuesday.
There was Sarah, at the door, waiting for me. A very sweet child who is always
smiling, she seemed near tears and was obviously worried. She explained that
Deirdre was going to “tell on her”… and that she “hadn’t done it!”
I didn’t bother to find out any more details because I believed Sarah; she’s
never given me one moment of trouble
and I knew I could trust that she was telling me the truth. If she told me that
she “hadn’t done it,” I knew that she
hadn’t–whatever it was!
I took her over to our hierarchy chart and asked her to show me where she
generally operated. She pointed to D and I said, “Sarah, you’re right. You are
generally always operating at C or D.” Then I went on to ask her about what
kind of relationships students who operate at the higher levels build with their
teachers? She was able to answer,
“good,” which doesn’t really say it all, but I knew she understood what I was
talking about. (We’ve been talking a
lot about this same topic lately because a couple of weeks ago we had an
outbreak of snapped pencils and deliberately broken pencil tips and on several
occasions have been talking about people being trusted with classroom items that
are intended for use by all.)
Then I explained further, “You’re right, Sarah. When people operate at the
higher levels, it means that other people
come to trust them. If, day in and day out, you are behaving yourself and being
honest, teachers know that they can count on you to do the right thing and to
tell the truth.”
“Now, what do you think, Sarah? If someone does come up and tattles on you, and
you tell me that you didn’t do it, will I be able to believe you?” She said,
“Yes”, and I said, “That’s right, Sarah. You have shown me day after day that I
can trust you, so if you tell me you didn’t do it, I can easily believe you.
That’s one of the great things about
operating on a high level–other people trust you and you don’t need to worry
that someone is getting you in trouble
for something you didn’t do.” And with that, the look of worry disappeared; she
seemed quite relieved as she went off to her seat.
I love that hierarchy!
Kerry in BC
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
Using the A/B-C/D’s of
the RRSystem hierarchy can be a highly effective approach to promoting learning.
Establishing expectations by prompts from the teacher, and/or eliciting
descriptors from students, BEFORE an
activity and then REFLECTING AFTER the activity increase both motivation and
Four samples are now posted at
The examples on the site can be displayed for use with overhead projections.
Although these can serve as prompts,
it would be just as effective to elicit from students their own descriptors for
Following are two samples of the posts:
LEVEL D (INTERNAL
Perseveres in spite
of a challenge
optimistic attitude toward obstacles
constant adult direction or supervision to
stay on task
for help when necessary, rather than
LEVEL C (EXTERNAL
Does all of the
above but ONLY when an adult is nearby or
when there is a desire to impress someone who is watching
On task ONLY when an
adult is directly supervising and
even then doesn’t choose to focus well
Gives up without
pessimistic attitude toward obstacles
Blames others or
circumstances as an excuse for giving up
Doesn’t ask for help
or accept help that is offered
Worries but doesn’t
choose to take action that will help
in moving forward
B) PHYSICAL EDUCATION
LEVEL D (INTERNAL motivation)
sportsmanship whether or not an adult is present
Always comes to
class dressed and prepared
LEVEL C (EXTERNAL
class as expected by teacher
properly while supervised
Helps with clean-up
when directly asked
Interrupts the focus
of others in the class
Doesn’t follow the
rules of games
Acts in a way that
endangers safety of others
Leaves clean up of
gym to others
Note: As new hierarchies
are shared they will be posted.
PLEASE SHARE BY E-MAILING YOURS TO
6. Implementing the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
The BENEFITS of a school’s
CONDUCTING ITS OWN in-service can be seen at
Details–including differences between CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT and DISCIPLINE, the
THREE PRINCIPLES to PRACTICE, the three parts of the system, and how the system
can be used to RAISE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE–are described on the next link at
Can you suggest a way to
Here is a
marvelously successful idea to have students understand the motivation of those
students who operate on
level B–in this case bullies who pick on others. I used it well in Seoul, Korea
to demonstrate how older students take
advantage of young students and thereby lose harmony in the Confucian-based
society of honoring others.
Use a ruler to demonstrate a teeter-totter (see-saw). Hold it flat and describe
that this is how it looks when it is
balanced. People who are getting along and making responsible choices keep the
teeter-totter in balance.
However, when one person starts to pick on another, the teeter-totter gets out
of balance. The person who is picked on starts to feel as if he/she is “lower”
than the other person. But, in reality, the bully is actually the one who
is feeling bad about her/himself. (Tilt the teeter-totter out of balance to show
So the bullying behavior is actually an attempt to pull the other kid down to
the bully’s level–to try to bring things
back into balance from the bully’s perspective.
People should see the bully as someone who is having a bad day or feeling bad
for some reason. Challenge students to keep this in mind as they decide how to
respond to bullying behavior.
With younger kids, prompt them to say, “Sorry you are having a bad day.” The
usual result is that the bully is left
speechless. Many times the choice is simply to recognize what is going on and
walk away, realizing that the one with
the problem is the bully.
Having youngsters understand that bullying behavior indicates that the bully is
“out of balance” with life is
empowering and very liberating.
The discussion also opens the eyes of the bully. No one wants to be known as
someone who has problems. These
students usually have never thought about their own behavior in this way.
(Thanks to Joy Widmann for posting Robert Redmond’s idea on the RRSystem
Mailring. He is a Colorado 4th grade teacher.)
You can post questions and learn more about the system at
the free user group (mailring support) at:
IMPULSE MANAGEMENT POSTERS and CARDS
Learning a procedure for
responding appropriately to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link
A Comment about THE RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
social workers, and psychologists were able to begin immediately applying the
concepts and implementing many of the strategies you taught us.”
Barbara McFadden, EH/SED Program Resources Brevard District
Schools, Viera, FL