Volume 4 Number 3
IN THIS ISSUE:
2. Promoting Responsibility
3. Increasing Effectiveness
4. Improving Relationships
5. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:
Your Questions Answered
Impulse Management Posters and Cards
In order to make access
easier, the website at http://www.MarvinMarshall.com has been completely
revised. The number of navigation links has been reduced, and information on
text pages and articles have been made easier for online reading.
The PHI DELTA KAPPAN has a
readership of over 100,000 and is the most quoted journal in education. The
featured article in this month’s March, 2004, issue is entitled, “HOW TO USE A
DISCIPLINE SYSTEM TO PROMOTE LEARNING.”
In the article, I describe how I developed the Raise Responsibility system (RRS)
using my experiences as a teacher, counselor, principal, and district director
The article explains how theories of experts complement the system. Some
viewpoints of the following well-respected authorities are described: Stephen
Covey (his first habit of highly effective people: proaction), Abraham Maslow
(hierarchy and autonomy), Douglas McGregor (Theory X and Theory Y),
William Glasser (taking responsibility for one’s own behavior, noncoercion,
investing little if any time in determining the reason for behaviors, and
establishing a safe environment), W. Edwards Deming (collaboration, continuous
improvement, and empowerment).
Kerry Weisner then shows how she uses the system to promote responsible behavior
as well as to improve academic achievement. She explains the use of three
principles (positivity, choice, and reflection) and gives an example of how
internal motivation promoted learning in a way that external approaches could
You will enjoy the article that you can read online at http://www.pdkintl.org.
Click on the second link: Kappan Magazine and then the current edition.
Please share it with others you believe may enjoy it or
learn from it.
Correction regarding the
amygdala that I referred to last month:
What I wrote:
The amygdala (Latin for
almond) is composed of two almond-shaped emotional storage areas above the brain
stem. It developed before the thinking part of the brain developed and prompts
immediate reaction–the so-called “fight or flight” syndrome.
What I received:
I bear great respect for your work, as known to me through your newsletter
and your book. I have to make this little remark: “Amygdalon’ (plural
“amygdala”) is a Greek, not Latin, word. The selfsame word has been used in our
language from Homer to nowadays.
Thank you, Georgia from Athens, Greece
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
When a person subscribes to
this newsletter, the automated system prompts an inquiry as to how the person
found out about it. Responses range from parents seeking ways to reduce their
stress and promote responsible behavior, to a search under “metacognition”
(awareness of one’s own thinking), and to the following response I received
I was led to your site via-
I recently received this
response from Tom W.
I am an online student that
does research from the net and just came across your site one day. I found it to
be very enlightening and have decided to use it for personal development.
Thanks for taking the time to respond.
You are very perceptive. When you use the approaches, you are engaging in a
paradigm shift. To quote Stephen Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,
1989, p. 125), “A paradigm is like a new pair of glasses; it affects the way you
see everything in your life.”
Being positive with oneself and others, being aware that we ALWAYS have a choice
in our responses, and using reflection to actuate behavioral change is, for most
of us, a paradigm shift. Practicing these three noncoercive principles promotes
responsibility, increases our effectiveness, improves our relationships, and
In a way it is, as Covey says, like being fitted for and wearing new glasses. It
takes a little getting used to, but the brain adapts by making new neural
connections. The more we practice, the stronger the reinforcement, the more
glial cells our brain manufactures, and the easier and more creative we are in
the use of the principles.
So as not to fall back on previous habits and approaches, it is necessary always
to be AWARE of our choices. This is what is meant in the expression, “Live in
the present.” You can do this very simply by saying to yourself before any
action, “I am choosing to . . . .”
Teaching young people–and yourself–to start with this internal dialog, “I am
choosing to . . . , ” is perhaps the most effective way to live a more
fulfilling life. The reason is that awareness is the first step toward being in
control and changing unsuccessful habits.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
There’s an old story of a
young lady who was taken to dinner one evening by William Gladstone and then the
following evening by Benjamin Disraeli, both eminent British statesmen in the
late nineteenth century.
“When I left the dining room after sitting next to Mr. Gladstone, I thought he
was the cleverest man in England,” she said. “But after sitting next to Mr.
Disraeli, I thought I was the cleverest woman in England.”
Disraeli obviously had a knack for making the other person
the center of his universe, if only for the evening. If you practice
attentiveness to others, you’ll find it does wonders. They will enjoy it, and so
will you. You will accomplish much more.
Make a conscious effort to focus on others–their opinions, experiences, and
stories–before you share your own. Then train yourself to focus on what unites
you, rather than on what separates you.
William James, the father of psychology said, “The art of
being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” If you focus on others in
terms of uniting, which means focusing with positive perceptions, your canvasses
will provide satisfaction for both the artist and the viewer–you and the other
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
Relationships can come with disappointments.
Suppose for example that as a subscriber to this electronic newsletter, you are
inspired to write me prompted by something I wrote. Suppose also that I did not
respond when you expected a response. Your natural reaction to my non-response
is a “turn-off” towards me.
Cognition and emotion (as discussed in a previous e-zine –
See March, 2003) are so integrated in the functioning of the brain that they
cannot be separated. Cognition prompts emotion, and here is a simple example. My
lack of a response prompts a negative emotion that generates negative thoughts
about the “total me.” I am “written off.”
It is possible that I never received the e-mail–that it is
out in the Ethernet someplace, that my filters considered it spam because of the
title the writer put on the subject line, or perhaps the subject line was left
blank and one of my filters categorized it as spam.
Just choosing to change your thoughts and reflect on what is positive about the
person can immediately put a negative emotion in proper perspective.
If you dismiss people who disappoint you, the loss may be yours.
5. Implementing the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
You can share and learn more about the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM (RRS) at
This month’s question and
response are from a post and
response taken from the mailring (with very slight modifications).
I am considering a “rough draft” to modify the description
of the levels, which seem unclear to me.
My “rough draft” follows:
Level D – Democracy – Shows caring, kindness, respect, responsibility, and
honesty because of INTERNAL motivation.
Level C – Compliance – Shows caring, kindness, respect, responsibility, and
honesty because of EXTERNAL motivation.
Level B – Bothering – Bothers others which is neither appropriate nor
Level A – Anarchy- Absence of order; aimless; procedures are not followed.
Neither appropriate nor acceptable.
The above is my understanding and modification of the
Is this correct?
Additionally, I am somewhat bewildered why there is a
defined difference between anarchy and “bothering others” because, to me, both
bothering and anarchy are both indicative of “out of control” behavior and
should therefore be placed into one category.
Any positive clarification would be greatly appreciated.
I think you do understand the differences between Level C
and D. The main difference between the two lies in the difference in motivation,
just as you mentioned. An action at Level C and D can look identical. It is only
the difference in the MOTIVATION that identifies one person’s action as being at
Level C and another person’s as being at Level D.
Here is an example to clarify this point:
Students at Level C do home assignments–but only after
being reminded by a parent. At Level D, students complete
home assignments simply because they know that this is something that is
expected. They don’t wait to be reminded before starting. Either way, the action
is the same; the home assignments are completed. Only the MOTIVATION is
Level C is an acceptable level of operation but it is
important for students to understand that it is not the
highest level to which a person can aspire. At Level C, the motivation for
acting appropriately is EXTERNAL. In other words, the young person does the
correct or right thing but is motivated from a desire to please, impress, or
avoid the disapproval of an authority figure. At this level, people need
something outside of themselves to motivate them to do the right thing.
At Level D, the highest level of social development, the motivation is INTERNAL.
The student does what he/she knows to be the correct, right, kind, or
responsible thing. The person does so out of a genuine desire to do the right
thing. THE RIGHT THING IS DONE WHETHER OR NOT AN ADULT OR ANY ONE ELSE IS
Here are some more concrete examples of Level and C and D
Level C – Cooperation/Conformity
-Cooperating with the teacher when the teacher is present
in the room
-Fulfilling requirements, but doing little more
-Being kind to others only when an authority figure is
-Relying on a parent to give reminders to complete
chores, return library books, fulfill obligations, etc. -Doing something helpful
specifically to impress others -Basing decisions on an outside influence
-Acting cooperatively and compliantly but showing
little initiative without direction
Level D – Democracy
-Acting with self-control and discipline whether or not an
adult is present
-Participating with the group in an appropriate manner out
of respect for others
-Choosing to be responsible by fulfilling obligations
willingly and without being reminded
-Befriending a peer simply because he/she seems lonely -Volunteering to help
simply because it¹s obvious that help
-Showing initiative in one’s learning
-Choosing to come to class well prepared
-Independently seeking help when necessary
-Deciding to speak up in defense of another who is being
-Seeking to be of service to others out of a genuine desire
-Relying on one’s own judgment, even when others make the
suggestion to do something inappropriate, unkind,
-Taking responsibility for some unkind words by choosing to
-Sincerely thanking someone without being reminded
I purposely give you more examples of Level D than Level C, just as I do when I
work with students to encourage you to focus most on this level in your
teaching. Although the students must understand the key points of every level,
DWELLING ON THE LOWER LEVELS WHEN TEACHING THE HIERARCHY IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.
I personally find that the more attention given to
concretely providing specific examples of Level D, and discussing the benefits
of acting on this level, the more likely that young people will be motivated
internally to aspire to these types of behaviours. This is one way in which we,
as teachers, can inspire young people. With the RRSystem we can actually show
students what it is they need to do in order to be operating at the highest
level of social development.
It’s worth noting that we cannot judge another person’s motivation with complete
accuracy. Within a classroom– where all the children look as if they are doing
the same thing, perhaps cooperating with the teacher and quietly doing their
assignments–some will be operating on Level C and some will be operating on
A person’s motivation can only be accurately determined by
that person himself/herself. That is why it’s important that
as teachers we ask questions that promote self-reflection in our students. With
the RRSystem, we are NOT TELLING the student what WE think of their actions and
their motivations. Ideally, we are striving to have them think about what THEY
think about their own actions and motivations.
It is this inner thinking and SELF-evaluation that lead to change and a higher
level of behaviour. As an aside, it is just as important to help students
reflect on their behaviour when they are acting at the higher levels as it is
when they are operating on the lower levels.
As teachers, our goal is to have all students operating at least on Level C so
that the classroom provides a civil and productive learning environment for all.
Some students will choose to set their sights higher (Level D), and of course
this is what we hope for as teachers, but it is not something over which we have
direct control. We cannot force anyone to operate at a higher level, but by
implementing the RRSystem and introducing young people to the hierarchy we can
inspire them to WANT to act at the highest level, which is to be SELF-motivated.
The other important difference between Level C and D lies in the results.
Consciously choosing to operate on Level D automatically results in great
feelings of self- satisfaction. Such feelings significantly improve self-esteem.
This sense of self-satisfaction does not accompany Level C in the same strong
way as it does Level D. You might be interested in reading the following article
People operating on Level D develop a strong sense of self-esteem and personal
power. Through the hierarchy we can teach students that when they consciously
take charge of themselves (making responsible decisions, making appropriate
choices), good feelings are a direct result. In fact, nothing feels better than
to be in charge of yourself and know that you can depend upon yourself to do the
right thing simply because it is the right thing to do!
Another result of operating on the highest level is that
your relationships with other people improve as well. People operating on Level
D inspire others to act in a similar way. They gain the trust of others and find
that others return their kind, (respectful, friendly, etc.) actions.
As for your other question about the reason for having two levels of
inappropriate behaviours rather than just one, you might be interested to look
back in the RRSystem Archives to some previous posts that discuss this exact
topic. The Message numbers are: 476 and 478
Kerry in BC
Kerry’s explanation is right
on target. My only addition is that Level C describes obedience, which is a
necessary characteristic for a civil society.
Unfortunately, however, obedience does not create desire.
You can share and learn more
RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM (RRS) at
IMPULSE MANAGEMENT POSTERS and CARDS
Learning a procedure for responding appropriately to impulses is described on
the Impulse Management link at
IMPULSE MANAGEMENT POSTERS and CARDS
Learning a procedure to
respond appropriately to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link at