Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – July 2005

Volume 5 Number 7


 1. Welcome

 2. Promoting Responsibility

 3. Increasing Effectiveness

 4. Improving Relationships

 5. Promoting Learning

 6. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:

    How Your School Can Implement the System

    Your Questions Answered

    Free Mailring/User Group

    Impulse Management Posters and Cards



This month’s newsletter is

originating in Dublin, Ireland,

where I had the pleasure of presenting at the European

Conference of the William Glasser Institute of Ireland and

celebrating the 80th anniversary of Bill’s birth.


In the epilogue of my book, I quote the comic character

Dagwood Bumstead when I refer to using a business model for

education. His quote: “You know that makes a lot of sense if

you don’t think about it.”

The United States is operating under a federal “mandate”

entitled, “No Child Left Behind.” The essence of the

legislation is to blame schools for their poor performance

and uses a negative approach with schools that do not meet

the mandate’s requirements. Rather than going into the

details of why the legislation is doomed to inevitable

collapse, I share with you the famous “Red Bead Experiment”

used by W. Edwards Deming. This management guru was the man

who introduced quality in the workplace.

To give you an indication of Dr. Deming’s approach, ask

yourself if you own any product manufactured by a Japanese

company. If you were to choose one adjective that indicates

why you do, the word, “quality,” immediately pops up. Some

may remember how Japanese products were labeled before World

War II. Adjectives such as “cheap” and “shoddy” were apt

describers. Today, the highest award given in Japanese

manufacturing is the Deming Award. A fundamental approach of

Deming was to EMPOWER those involved in any endeavor.

The lack of empowerment and the negative “consequences

if a school doesn’t ‘measure up'”–are two fundamental

defects in the federal legislation.

Dr. Deming used a little experiment to show how the system

itself–rather than the people working within it–was the

major cause of problems. Here is how Deming conducted his

experiment to make his point in his seminars.

Ten attendees are picked and assigned jobs by Deming. Six

are what he called “willing workers,” one was a chief

inspector, two were regular inspectors, and one was a


Deming explained that the company had received orders to

make white beads. Unfortunately, the raw materials used in

production contain a certain number of defects–or “red


Both the white and red beads were in a plastic container.

The six willing workers were given a paddle with 50

indentations in it and were told to dip the paddle into the

container, shake it, and pull it out with each indentation

filled with a bead. Then the workers were instructed to take

the paddle to the first inspector, who counted the red

beads, or “defects.” The second inspector did the same, and

the chief inspector checked their tally, which the recorder

then recorded.

A worker who drew out a paddle with 15 red beads received a

merit raise.

In the next round, the worker who had six red beads drew out

eight, and the worker with 15 drew out 10 .

Deming played the role of the misguided manager and thought

he understood what had happened. The worker who received the

merit raise was getting sloppy; the raise went to his head.

Meanwhile, the worker on probation had been frightened into

performing better.

And so it continued–a cycle of reward and punishment in

which management failed to understand that defects are built

into the system and that workers have very little to do

with it.

No one suggests that the public school system has no room

for improvement or that schools should not be accountable.

But, as Dr. Deming would point out, the system (read

legislation) would be much more successful if it were to

take a POSITIVE approach of EMPOWERING–rather than its

current negative approach of engendering a climate where

superior teachers are leaving education and third grade

students are developing anxiety attacks.


Schools use detention in an attempt to promote responsible

behavior. The premise is that punishment redirects

irresponsibility. (I wish I would think that the rationale

is not for retribution.)

When giving public seminars, I would often ask how many of

the attendees were in schools that had detention. Most

attendees raised their hands. I then asked how many found

that very often the same students were serving detention.

Inevitably, the same hands were again raised. I then would

comment, “Doesn’t that say something about the

ineffectiveness of detention?”

Perhaps the best paragraph I have read on the issue is from

LouAnne Johnson in her book, “The Queen of Education.”

   Using detention as a catchall cure for student

   misbehaviors is like using one medicine for every

   physical ailment. We would not expect a single

   prescription medication to cure a cold, flu, broken

   bone, ulcer, headache, heart attack, and cancer–

   yet we expect one punishment to address tardiness,

   aggression, bullying, emotional illness, inattention,

   fear, anger, laziness, excessive talking, defiance,

   childness exuberance, alcoholism, daydreaming,

   forgetfulness, profanity, truancy, immaturity, drug

   abuse, cheating, lying, stealing, and extortion among

   schoolchildren. (page 65)

I believe that one can say with great confidence that

detention does not serve its intended purpose. Implementing

“Guided Choices”–the third phase of the Raise

Responsibility System–by ELICITING a procedure or

consequence from young people to help themselves become more

responsible is such a simple and common sense approach that

one wonders why, in the 21st century, schools are still

resorting to such counterproductive approaches as detention.


A poster I had in my classroom:

   “I would rather try and fail than not try and succeed.”


people will try. If they do not believe success is possible,

regardless of how easy the task or how smart the person, the

goal will not be attained.

One of the most enduring comments people say about others

who have influenced their lives is, “He/she believed in me.


It is a hard fact but a true one: We can outgrow friendships

just like we outgrow shoes. Understanding this concept can

significantly help young people who have a strong desire to

want to be like others and want to feel that they are their

friend’s “best friend.” It is often “painful” for a young

person to see their “best friend” associate more with

others than with themselves.

Some good advise for young people (and for older ones, too)

is to find new interests, make new friends, and find fun

things to do. By being your own best friend, you will always

have one friend you can rely on. Learning to like


of the most important bits of wisdom anyone can learn.


In the following article I refer to the idea that most

things in life are understood in their context. The

following statement may help make my point–and offers

examples showing that English is not the easiest second

language to learn.

 1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

 2) The farm was used to produce produce.

 3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

 4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

 5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

 6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

 7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it

     was time to present the present.

 8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

 9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.

19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.

20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend

6. Implementing the RAISE


How a school can conduct its own in-house staff development

is described at


Details for implementation are described on the next link at


Topics include differences between classroom management and

discipline, three principles to practice, the three parts of

the RRSystem, and how the RRSystem can be used to

raise academic achievement.

“Building Classroom Discipline” by C.M.Charles is perhaps

the most widely used college text in courses preparing

prospective teachers for necessary classroom skills. The

RRSystem was included in the 8th edition published this

year. The following comment appears on pages 106-107:

   “Marshall’s Raise Responsibility System has major

   strengths beyond those found in other systems of

   discipline. It makes sense and rings true for teachers.

   It focuses on developing responsibility, an enduring

   quality that remains useful throughout life. It removes

   the stress that students and teachers normally

   experience in discipline. It is easy to teach, apply,

   and live by. It is long-lasting because it leads to

   changes in personality. Educators find these strengths

   especially compelling, hence, the surge of interest in

   Marshall’s model.”

In preparation for the 9th edition, Dr. Charles contacted me

for any changes I would like to make. In my remarks

clarifying the RRSystem, I included the following–appended

to Dr. Charles’ remarks:

   Marshall notes two commonly raised questions and one

   technical question that are appropriate at this point:

   (1) Although some teachers initially think that students

   will get confused with D, B, C, A levels since many

   schools use A, B, C, and D for grading, that this

   reversal will confuse students. Experience has shown that

   even very young students understand the context of levels

   of social development and are not confused because grades

   use the same letters. He notes that context determines

   meaning, such as when to use “to, “two,” or “too.”

   (2) As the term, “discipline,” seems harsh to some, so

   some people initially resist the vocabulary terms of

   “anarchy” and “bullying.” However, students have no

   difficulty with these terms nor do parents when the

   entire Raise Responsibility System is explained to them.

   3) The technical question: On a rare occasion someone

   will state that anarchy is the highest form of

   government, not the lowest. Without realizing it, the

   person is referring to “anarchism,” not anarchy. Anarchy

    means chaos, lack of order, and without rule (a = lack

   of, archy = rule). Anarchism is a theory that all forms

   of government interfere unjustly with individual liberty

   and should be replaced by the voluntary association of

   cooperative groups.

   Marshall makes clear that the hierarchy does not teach

   either anarchy or bullying–quite the contrary. The

   hierarchy explains that when anarchy and chaos exist,

   someone or some group will take control and make the

   rules for all others.

   He contends that this is how societies operated before

   1776 when the American Declaration of Independence

   articulated a new world view, viz., “We hold these truths

   to be self-evident . . . . That to secure these rights,

   governments are instituted among men, deriving their just

   powers FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED.” Before this

   concept became operational and spread around the world

   after the American Revolution and the creation of the

   United States of America, societies were granted their

   rights from the person who held power.

   This is the concept behind level B. Once parents

   understand that anarchy and bossing/bullying/bothering

   levels are unacceptable, they become supporters and

   particularly appreciate teaching the differences between

   external and internal motivation, levels C and D,


   Marshall used the following letter when he developed and

   used the system as a classroom teacher:

   Dear Parent(s) or Guardian(s):

   Our classroom houses a small society. Each student is a

   citizen who acts in accordance with expected standards

   of behavior.

   With this in mind, rewards are not given for expected

   behavior–just as society does not give rewards for

   behaving properly. Also, irresponsible behavior is

   seen as an opportunity for growth, rather than for


   Our approach encourages students to exercise

   self-discipline through reflection and self-evaluation.

   Students learn to control their own behavior, rather

   than always relying on the teacher for control.

   We want our classroom to be encouraging and conducive

   to learning at all times. In this way, young people

   develop positive attitudes and behavioral skills that

   are so necessary for successful lives.



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 at



“I am so pleased with the program because children take

responsibility for themselves. I returned to public

education this year and was horrified by the stickers,

tickets, etc. that most teachers were using. It’s demeaning

to children.”

Megan Fettig, Pre-kindergarten Teacher Austin Independent

School District, Austin, Texas