Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – February 2005

Volume 5 Number 2


1. Welcome

2. Promoting Responsibility

3. Increasing Effectiveness

4. Improving Relationships

5. Promoting Learning

6. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:

Your Questions Answered

Free Mailring

Impulse Management Posters and Cards



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,

pp. 123-124.)

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

<jborden@sfs.or.kr> or


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If you reflect on your

self-talk, you will conclude that your thoughts often involve past experiences

or future

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



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.


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


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

the levels.

Following are two samples of the posts:




Perseveres in spite
of a challenge

Retains an
optimistic attitude toward obstacles

Doesn’t require
constant adult direction or supervision to

stay on task

Independently asks
for help when necessary, rather than

unnecessarily worrying



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
much effort

Displays a
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



LEVEL D (INTERNAL motivation)

sportsmanship whether or not an adult is present

Demonstrates effort
to participate

Always comes to
class dressed and prepared



Participates in
class as expected by teacher

Uses equipment
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

Uses equipment


Demonstrates poor

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.




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

reduce bullying?


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:



Learning a procedure for

responding appropriately to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link




“Teachers, administrators,

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