Volume 5 Number 3
IN THIS ISSUE:
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
Impulse Management Posters and Cards
A Comment about the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
February found me in
Alberta, Canada, giving a keynote entitled, “Four Practices of Superior
Teachers,” followed by a “Discipline without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards”
workshop to the Calgary Teachers Association. I think I also had the most
humbling experience of my life.
I have been honored to speak in various locations around the world. Certainly
presenting in Kuala Lumpur at the behest of the minister of education of
Malaysia was an honor and a most gratifying experience. And I look forward to my
May visit in Beijing where I will be presenting with a Chinese translation of
the book. But what I witnessed the evening of February 17 was overwhelming.
Fifty members of the Calgary Teachers Association had formed a Marvin Marshall
Book Club, and I was the invited speaker for their second meeting.
I know that various schools have met to discuss the book. Kerry Weisner of
British Columbia may have been one of the first to have a morning “Muffins with
Marv.” But the privilege of having a personal interchange with people who are
already familiar with the book was an evening of joy that I do not expect to be
One attendee apologized when I signed her book. She had numerous notes affixed
to various pages. This was not the first time I had seen the book with numerous
Post-its attached. Once I received an e-mail from someone telling me that it was
the person’s third reading and notes were still being affixed.
I thank all of you who have purchased the book and have found it to be both
professionally and personally enriching.
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
Although fear is usually
self-talk, there are times when it is most difficult to think that it is not
real. So rather than attempting to eradicate it, warm up to it.
We can learn from our children. Children don’t say, “I can’t because I’m
afraid.” For example, a youngster will get on a high diving board and dive off
even though she has never done it before. She’ll run to the parent with a great
smile, and the parent will ask, “Weren’t you afraid?” She’ll respond, “Yes, I
was afraid; I was really scared.”
But a grown-up won’t do the same thing. If you say to a grown-up, “Are you going
to dive off the board?” the adult will say, “No, I’m afraid.” The mental talk of
the adults is, “If I’m afraid, I can’t do it.” But the truth of the matter is
that you can do it even if you are afraid; it’s just less comfortable than doing
something you are not afraid to do. But if you do it a couple of times, you
won’t be afraid to do it anymore, and it will become more and more comfortable.
Rather than saying, “I can’t do it,”–whether it is learning a new computer
program, get going on the treadmill, or just acknowledging someone instead of
evaluating the person–you can do it by easing into the task.
The Japanese have a word for it: kaizen. It comes from the words “kai” meaning
school and “zen” meaning wisdom. Its core: Continuous progress comes from making
small improvements towards a goal. “SMALL” is the key word. Just take one step
at a time when trying something new. This “warming up” to the task will have you
feeling competent and successful in a shorter period of time than you would have
When promoting responsibility in ourselves or actuating responsibility in
others, take small steps–instead of large leaps.
The familiar aphorism states this idea succinctly: Small strokes fell great
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
Rejection does not prevent success; fear of rejection does. You should keep in
mind that there is no rational reason to fear rejection. Reject the rejector,
and go about your affairs.
The high school student applied to a prestigious university but was not
accepted. The student was not accepted before the application was submitted and
was not accepted after the application was submitted. In reality, the student is
no worse off than if the application had not been submitted at all.
A few years ago when I was presenting for university extension programs around
the country, one university where I had a desire to present did not hire me. My
mentor in this endeavor was a psychologist who is an expert in
“passive-aggressive” behavior–now referred to as “oppositional defiant
disorder.” (Dr. James Sutton http://docspeak.com)
When I informed Jim of the university’s decision, his remark to me was, “That’s
their loss.” I took his approach; I rejected their rejection.
Interestingly, the same university now uses the book as their core text in a
Treat the negative response as it deserves to be treated; reject it.
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
The church gossip and
self-appointed arbiter of the church’s morals kept nosing into other people’s
business. Several church members were unappreciative of her activities but
feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being a
drunk after she saw his pickup truck parked in front of the town’s only bar one
afternoon. She commented to George and others that everyone seeing it there
would know what he was doing.
George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and then walked away. He
didn’t explain, defend, or deny; he said nothing.
Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of her house . . .
and left it there all night.
This reminds me of what someone once said, “Assumption is the mother of all
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
A few years ago, the
former Secretary of Education, William Bennett, was asked by a 7th grader, “How
can you tell a good country from a bad one?”
Dr. Bennett replied, “I apply the ‘gate’ test. When the gates of a country are
open, watch which way the people run. Do they run into the country or out of the
The question was an excellent one and prompted an excellent response. I think
the same question could be applied to parenting, teaching, and any organization.
If the people you deal with were exposed to other possibilities or
opportunities, and if all other things were equal, would they stay with you–or
would they leave you?
Consider taking an inventory. Are the people acting more like pioneers or
prisoners? Are they more upbeat or downcast? Your inventory will tell you if
your dealings are positive or negative.
Then, if you don’t like the results of your inventory, select one thing at a
time you can do to change. Don’t wait for others to do something. Just focus on
what you can do. Use the kaizen approach. Focus on one change at a time.
Another way of looking at it is to find what de-motivates. Then see what you can
do to remove one of the de-motivators. You’ll see instant results.
6. Implementing the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
The BENEFITS to a school
CONDUCTING ITS OWN in-service can be seen at
Details–including differences between CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT and DISCIPLINE,
THREE PRINCIPLES to PRACTICE, the three parts of the system, and how the system
can be used to RAISE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE–are described on the next link at
I attended your session at
the Brain Expo in San Diego two years ago. I have put your ideas into practice
in my classroom and am now researching the pitfalls of behaviorism and rewards
and consequences for my Master’s Degree.
I am looking at the variables of an autocratic classroom that uses rewards and
consequences and a democratic classroom that uses expectations, choice, and
reflection in classroom management.
I shy away from describing a classroom as “democratic.” I use the term,
“Democracy,” for level D because democracy and responsibility are
inseparable–and the prime purpose of the hierarchy is to promote
responsibility. I know that some teachers use the phrase, “democratic
classroom,” but I think it carries the implicit message that the students,
rather than the teacher, are the the primary source for directing the learning.
There is also a little confusion in the second paragraph above regarding the
comment of “… EXPECTATIONS, CHOICE,
and REFLECTION in classroom management.”
CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT has to do with structure, routines, rituals, and
procedures. In contrast, the RRSystem hierarchy promotes EXPECTATIONS; offering
CHOICES increases effectiveness and improves relationships; and prompting
REFLECTION is the most effective approach to promoting change in behavior. But
they are not part of teaching procedures, which is the foundation of classroom
Harry Wong and I both gave presentations last month in Chicago at the annual
convention of the Association of Teacher Educators. This is an association of
college and university professors who teach future teachers. Dr. Wong’s entire
keynote had to do with teaching procedures. One comment he made should be heard
by every teacher who assigns homework. As an award-winning and nationally
recognized outstanding classroom teacher, he never assigned homework (home
assignments) until the third week of school. His students were taught procedures
regarding how to set up the homework and how to do it. After students knew
precisely how to “attack” the challenge, had practiced doing homework in class,
had reinforced the procedure–only then was homework assigned. The result:
Rarely was a homework assignment not turned in. WHAT A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS
AND NUMBER OF PROBLEMS THE VAST MAJORITY OF TEACHERS HAVE WITH THIS ASPECT OF
Read the article entitled, “Curriculum, Instruction, Classroom Management, and
The link at the following site will also assist:
You can post questions and learn more about the system at
the free user group (mailring support) at:
IMPULSE MANAGEMENT POSTERS and CARDS
Learning a procedure for
responding appropriately to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link
Return to Top
A Comment about THE RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
“Your ideas about what
motivates us have had a profound impact creating a positive environment for our
Child Care, Murrieta Valley Unified School District, CA