Volume 4 Number 6
While in Austin, Texas Friday morning, I watched the events of the national day of mourning for former
President Ronald Wilson Reagan, the United States of America’s 40th to be honored in that position.
Anyone watching the events of the last few days and especially Friday’s ceremony at the the Washington National Cathedral would have been truly inspired. Eulogies from former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain, Brian Mulroney of Canada, former President George Herbert Walker Bush, and President George Walker Bush were eloquent in their description of how Ronald Reagan lifted the nation and the world by his infectious positivity and firm belief that mankind is capable of living free in democracy.
PROMOTING DISCIPLINE & LEARNING was created with a similar mission. The three principles to practice begin with positivity, and the hierarchy of social development has democracy as its highest level.
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
tangibles–led and fed the economies in the 19th and 20th centuries.
There were a few originators, but most people were followers. Obedience,
implementation of rules, and top-down management were the orders of the day.
What drives our 21st century? The creation and distribution of information.
Rather than compliance, initiative is required.
People rarely will work for one company all their lives. Increasingly, many
people are now working as independent contractors instead of working for others.
The number of individual entrepreneurs is continually growing.
People in their twenties are planning their retirements forty years in advance
because they no longer believe that traditional retirements will suffice in
their older years. The society of the 21st century requires initiative–not
merely following someone else’s plans for you.
Society is involved in complex social relationships–both personal and
professional. Work and social interactions are increasingly collaborative.
Authoritarian approaches no longer work. The bride’s reciting the traditional
matrimonial ritual of promising to obey the husband is rarely heard. Compliance
is out; collaboration is in. And this requires new ways of dealing with others.
The overriding characteristic of the 19th and 20th centuries revolved around who
made the decision. Similarly, the overriding characteristic of the 21st century
revolves around who makes the decision. A prime difference is that the THE
DECISION-MAKER HAS CHANGED.
Too many schools and parents are still using an obedience model – Level C of the
social development hierarchy.
Society has moved to Level D and we as teachers, leaders, and parents have a
responsibility to prepare the younger generation for the society in which they
are now residing.
Below is an example of this preparation.
A Junior High School
Newsletter Article (Emphasis added)
By Joel Hollingsworth, Principal
Selah Junior High School
Junior High School is a time for adolescents to make choices, but also to rely
on the guidance and counsel of adults who are important in their lives. At SJHS,
we use FOUR LEVELS OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT to help us DISCIPLINE, or TEACH, our
students how to SUCCEED AT SCHOOL AND IN LIFE.
The first two levels are not acceptable at school. ANARCHY is the absence of
order and is characterized by chaos. Next is BULLYING or BOSSING which is
characterized by bothering or bossing others and breaks our standards at school.
The top two levels are both acceptable at school. COOPERATION is when a person
is considerate and complies with requests, but the MOTIVATION IS
EXTERNAL–either from peers or adults.
DEMOCRACY is our goal for all students. This level is characterized by
SELF-DISCIPLINE, INITIATIVE, and displaying RESPONSIBILITY because it is the
right thing to do. A person’s MOTIVATION IS INTERNAL, and this is the highest
level on the social development continuum.
By teaching students what it means to function in a democracy, we believe that
we are supporting students in LEARNING HOW TO MAKE GOOD CHOICES, as well as
SUPPORTING THE GOALS OF OUR SCHOOL, COMMUNITY, AND NATION.
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
Truancy and school dropouts
are an increasing problem for schools and school districts.
Last month I gave a keynote in Baltimore to personnel involved in this arena. I
opened with a story from an experience Dr. William Glasser once told me he had
encountered while working with incarcerated girls.
INCIDENT: It was the girl’s first day at the youth facility. She was called for
The teenager would not make her bed. It was a rule that beds were to be made
before breakfast. The housemother reminded the girl of the rule. The girl called
the adult every name in the book and refused to make her bed.
QUESTION: At this presentation, I asked the 300 counselors, psychologists,
social workers, truant officers, administrators, police officers, and others in
attendance how any of them would have handled the situation.
No suggestions were forthcoming.
HOW THE SITUATION WAS RESOLVED: Here is what the housemother did using a
She gathered her charges around her and said, “You know what is going on here.
Who is going to volunteer to go to her bedroom and help her out?”
One of the girls volunteered.
When the volunteer reached the new girl, the volunteer said, “We know what you
are trying to do here. Every one of us was just like you when we first arrived.”
The volunteer continued, “Making the bad is no big deal. I’ll do it, and then we
can go to breakfast. The other girls want to meet you.”
What do you think the new girl did when she saw her bed being made by another
Correct! The new girl helped the volunteer make her bed, and they went to
MORAL: Before deciding on a solution to a challenge of promoting responsibility,
ask yourself if your approach will be interpreted as authoritarian. Expect
resistance if you
Using a little creativity to employ a noncoercive approach will reduce stress
and increase your chances of achieving your objective.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
You don’t necessarily like
someone because who the person is; you like the person because of the person’s
effect on you. Bennett Cerf, the well-known wit and much invited guest, once
said that if you desire to be invited back, rather than saying, “What a
wonderful party,” instead
comment, “You were a most gracious host.”
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
The first sentence of the
previous section bears repeating:
You don’t necessarily like someone because who the person is; you like the
person because of the person’s effect on you.
Following are three questions which any parent can ask–or any teacher can ask
students to record in a diary or share in a class meeting.
1. What did you learn this week that’s valuable enough for a lifetime?
(Remember: we find what we look for.)
2. Do you have an issue, problem, or a concern you would like to discuss?
3. What do you feel good about or proud of that you’ve done this week?
(Note: If you are a parent asking a BOY, don’t expect him to open up by just
engaging in conversation. Get him involved in some activity (walking qualifies)
before engaging in such talk.)
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
Elicit and discuss examples
validating the following statement:
“Effort becomes a reward, not just a way to a reward.”
Have students draw from their personal experiences where exerting effort became
as much if not more satisfying than being given a compliment or some tangible
(Note: the purpose is not to lesson the importance of external acknowledgments
but rather to demonstrate that external receivings are not nearly so satisfying
as exerting effort to achieve a goal or to do that which is right.)
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6. Implementing the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
This has been my most challenging year of teaching ever. I have been at the end
of my rope many times. I have looked all year for something new to help me and
my students. I was very excited to learn about your ideas at the IRA
(International Reading Association) convention. I know good
classroom management begins on day one, but do you have any survival tips for
the end of year? I really want to end the year positively so that we all feel
good on the last day. It seems impossible as the problems have been worsening
all year–everything from no supplies and tardiness to flat refusal to follow
even simple directions like, “Please come here.” I would be so grateful for even
one idea that would make my classroom a better learning environment.”
I would not say, “Please come here.” In the situation you
described, students may interpret it as demeaning in front
of their peers. Instead, go over to the student and say,
“Don’t worry what will happen later. We’ll talk about it
When it comes to changing
behavior, not knowing what will happen is far more effective than knowing what
will happen. Young people (really, most people) have a difficult time handling
This statement will
immediately stop the misbehavior because it will redirect the student’s
attention. After class or at a quiet moment, elicit a consequence fostered by
the misbehavior, e.g., “Shall we have you call a parent and explain your
behavior?” “Shall we have you report to the principal and have you describe your
level of behavior?” “Or perhaps you have a better idea to control your impulses
next time you get an urge to do something you know you should not do.”
It is never too late to teach procedures or to introduce the hierarchy of social
development. In fact, introducing (or reviewing) the levels can be an excellent
approach to end the year and to prompt reflective thinking over the summer.
Read “A Letter Worth Reading at
You have the right attitude that will carry you far. But you need a system. The
RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM will do it for you–along with next year your
structuring and practicing your procedures so that they become routines to the
point of even becoming rituals.
With good classroom management and THE RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM as your
discipline and reflective foundations, next year will truly bring the joy that
this wonderful profession
has to offer..
You can share and learn more
RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM (RRS) at
IMPULSE MANAGEMENT POSTERS and CARDS
Learning a procedure to
respond appropriately to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link