Volume 3 Number 6
IN THIS ISSUE:
2. Promoting Responsibility
3. Increasing Effectiveness
4. Improving Relationships
5. Your Questions Answered
6. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:
Your Questions Answered
Impulse Management Posters and Cards
7. Promoting Learning
“DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS,
PUNISHMENTS, OR REWARDS – How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility and
Learning” will be the textbook for an innovative distance-learning, 3-credit
graduate course offered by Performance Learning Systems (PLS) with graduate
credit granted through The College of New Jersey.
Three nine-week courses are scheduled:
Summer course: July 17-September 8, 2003
Fall course: September 15-November 17, 2003
Winter course: November 24, 2003-January 26, 2004
The course utilizes an interactive CD-ROM and an online participant discussion
list to facilitate sharing. Dr. Brenda Barkley will teach the course and can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This is a public service announcement. I receive no remuneration of any
kind except for the personal satisfaction of sharing the information and having
received many positive communications from people who have completed the course.
A number of school districts
have been ordering the book for both their new teachers and their entire staffs.
If you are a primary
teacher, download the primary poster at
If you are an educator,
parent, and/or in any leadership position, you owe it to those with whom you
relate to practice three principles that promote responsibility, increase
effectivenss, and improve relationships.
The keys to all three are in chapter one, which–even if none of the other five
chapters were to be read–would make a wonderful father’s day gift. See
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
Living is an art, and we
have a responsibility to enjoy it.
An artist cannot be continually wielding the paintbrush. The painter must stop
at times to freshen the vision of the object, the meaning of which the artist
wishes to express on the canvas.
Living is also an art. We dare not become so absorbed in its technical process
that we lose our consciousness of its general plan. We should pause every so
often in our brushwork to reflect and refresh our vision. Having done so, we
will take ourselves back to our objective with clarified vision and renewed
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
Do you compare crayons?
Comparing is such a natural activity that we become a victim of its effects.
Every time you compare yourself with another and think lesser of yourself, you
fall into the abyss of a useless activity. Your feelings fall with you, and you
have gained nothing.
On the other hand, the opposite occurs when you feel better because you think
you are better than the other person. Your feelings soar. But to what avail?
Does it add to your humanity to know that you are “better” than someone else?
We may never break the “comparing” habit, but a start would be to put some money
in a jar every time you compare yourself with someone. You may find that in a
very short period of time you will have accumulated a small fortune. (Now, that
could be useful.)
Think “different”–not better or worse. (This, by the way, is what diversity is
As youngsters use crayons, they should be taught that, although all are
different, they all make contributions. We pick and choose because of the
differences, but this does not mean that one is better than the other.
Which is a better color: red, blue, purple, green, orange, yellow, etc? Because
I have listed red first, does that mean I believe red is a better color than the
As the artist uses colors for different purposes, learn from others, but refrain
from comparing–unless you want to start a savings account.
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
I will be giving a keynote
in Montana on June 18 and plan to refer to one of its native sons, Buck
Brannaman. He was the horse trainer who advised and worked with Robert Redford
on the film, “The Horse Whisperer.” Brannaman trained Redford and first doubled
for him in the critical scene when the horse was gently taken to the ground so
that the teenager could (if she would) mount the horse.
Brannaman is one of the more enlightened trainers who has discovered that
training with noncoercive approaches is significantly less stressful and more
effective than using coercive approaches.
The following is a thought from Brannaman’s 2001 book, “Faraway Horses” (pp.
Did you ever wonder how a mare can get her colt to follow regardless of whether
he’s hungry or not. She doesn’t own a halter or rope, and she doesn’t pull on
him or otherwise force him to submit. Instead, she uses the herding instinct in
both herself and her colt. She gets behind him and nudges his hindquarters–a
little on the right, a little on the left–and all with just a gentle touch of
her nose. Once the colt’s feet are moving, she slips in front in order to “draw”
his energy with her.
This technique is very useful in a variety of circumstances. You don’t have to
pull or try to dominate. You can apply a little pressure without being
domineering or physical. Once you’ve created the energy, you can then draw it in
the direction you want to go.
If you have not read how
Monty Roberts (a more famous “horse whisperer” trains a wild mustang in less
than 30 minutes in front of hundreds of people click on
5. YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
This is an embarrassing situation for me. I have a strange problem with my son
that I have never heard about before. He is fifteen years old and has been
stealing my clothes or his sister’s clothing and cutting them up into little
pieces with scissors or cutting our underwear into a thong. We have had him
seeing a psychiatric therapist for over a year, with no
resolution to this problem. He seems to do this without any warning or reason. I
can’t link it to anger at us, although he may just not be expressing his anger.
It seems like an act of anger. He doesn’t talk or express his emotions much at
I have required him to earn the money to buy us new clothing to replace the
items he destroyed, but that has not stopped him from doing it again. Is there
anything you can suggest?
The embarrassment should be his, not yours.
First, go to
http://www.MarvinMarshall.comand click on “Tips for Parents.” Print it and
refer to it often.
Completely stop all forms of
coercion. Have a conversation with your son letting him know that when he feels
pressure from you, he is to let you know–so you will be aware of it.
But keep your standards. When he does something that is not acceptable, simply
say in a calm voice and relaxed body, “That is not acceptable. What do you
suggest we do about it?”
Notice that rather than imposing a consequence you are eliciting one. Also,
focus on a procedure he can use in case he gets the urge again–rather than
focusing on punishment.
If he says, “I don’t know.” Replay with, “As capable as you are, we both know
better. What would an extraordinary person do?”
If you are still not successful, encourage him to share with one of his friends
or counselor what he has done and suggest that they may help him come up with a
procedure (not punishment) which may assist him.
He won’t want to take you up on this. But notice that you have employed the
second principal of “Tips for Parents”: the empowerment of choice.
Good luck and persevere in being positive, offering choices, and asking
questions which will prompt him to reflect.
6. Implementing the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
You can share and learn more about the
RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM at
I have really enjoyed your book, “Discipline Without Stress, Punishment or
Rewards,” and I have partially implemented it this year, as I didn’t receive the
book until the end of the school year. I plan to implement it fully in my
classroom next fall. However, I have a question. I had so many students who lied
this year. What do you do in situations where the child refuses to admit what he
They lied to protect/defend themselves.
A foundational characteristic of the Raise Responsibility System is that the
deed is separated from the doer, the act from the actor, a good person from an
inappropriate or wrong action. Therefore, reference is NOT made to the behavior.
Reference is made to the LEVEL of behavior.
Referring to a level is “outside” of oneself, thereby negating a feeling or
“need” to self-defend.
This concept of referring to levels needs to be revisited when first starting to
use the system. So is the second part of the system, ASKING REFLECTIVE
QUESTIONS. It is your asking the question that will prompt reflection. And it is
reflection that will prompt behavior changes.
When you have created an atmosphere where students know and feel that they can
trust you–that no harm to them will be forthcoming, that your interest is
solely in their accepting responsibility for their action–the sun will shine,
the birds will sing, and your students will desist from lying.
See number 4 above:
IMPULSE MANAGEMENT POSTERS and CARDS
Learning a procedure to respond appropriately
to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link at