Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – March 2004

Volume 4 Number 3


 1. Welcome

 2. Promoting Responsibility

 3. Increasing Effectiveness

 4. Improving Relationships

 5. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:

    Free Mailring

    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.


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


In the article, I describe how I developed the Raise Responsibility system (RRS)

using my experiences as a teacher, counselor, principal, and district director

of education.

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

never accomplish.

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:

Good day!

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


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.

I responded:

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

reduces stress.

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.


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



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.



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




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

(positive or


-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

is needed

-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

treated poorly

-Seeking to be of service to others out of a genuine desire

to help

-Relying on one’s own judgment, even when others make the

suggestion to do something inappropriate, unkind,

dangerous, etc.

-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,



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

Level D.


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


self-esteem: http://www.nathanielbranden.net/ess/exc04.html


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

about the






Learning a procedure for responding appropriately to impulses is described on

the Impulse Management link at




Learning a procedure to

respond appropriately to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link at