Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – May 2002

Volume 2 Number 5


 1. Welcome

 2. Promoting Responsibility

 3. Increasing Effectiveness

 4. Improving Relationships

 5. Teachers.net: PROMOTING LEARNING:

    Using Breath Management to

Promote Learning

    and Saving and

Improving Your Voice

 6. The Failings of Punishments and Rewards – Tips

for Parents

 7. Your Questions Answered

 8. What Others Are Saying About The Book
How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning”


My website at

http://www.MarvinMarshall.comhas been on the

Internet since 1995. Time has come for an upgrade.

You will find

articles easier to locate and download.


pertains to PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY. These articles

explain my approach and give suggestions for

empowerment –rather than overpowerment. Simply

stated, when you empower people by INFLUENCING THEM

TO BE MORE RESPONSIBLE, your stress is reduced and

you chances of obtaining what you desire is

significantly improved.

This path follows

the approaches of Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly

Effective People), W.Edwards Deming (Quality),

Albert Ellis (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy),

William Glasser (Choice Theory), Alfie Kohn

(Punished by Rewards), Douglas McGregor (Theory X

and Theory Y), and Monty Roberts (Join-Up, the

approach of this famed horse whisperer). It is the

path of noncoercion.

The paradox with

this approach is that most people are concerned

about giving up control–not realizing that the more

control you give to others, the more effective you

become. The conditions, however, are that the

control is given with high expectations, in a

positive manner, with options available, and with

the encouragement of reflection.


ARTICLES offer suggestions for PROMOTING LEARNING.


PAST E-ZINES are also easier to locate.

I hope you will

find the redesigned website

http://www.MarvinMarshall.comof value to you

and will share it with others.

An added note:

Having worked in many industries and possessing a

masters in business administration, I know that the

approach is equally effective in all theatres of

relationships. If you know people who want to

increase their effective in influencing others

without using coercion and in a positive way, please

share the site with them. They may appreciate your

effort to share with them.


You have a

responsibility to yourself to think and participate

in those activities that bring you a fulfilled life,

one that brings you happiness.

Robert Louis

Stevenson, the Scottish-American writer wrote,

“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty

of being happy.”

Here are a few

thoughts that may assist in this most important


What is important

is how FREQUENTLY, not how intensely, you are happy.

The thrills of winning in Las Vegas, an intense joy

of a personal encounter, or having a peak of ecstasy

are wonderful moments. But happiness comes from

being content most of the time. This occurs when you

have thoughts and feelings of well being, an inner

sense of balance and purpose.

Good news such as

getting a promotion or winning a lottery prompts

happiness for a while. Then we adapt.

Bad news such as

ending a relationship or losing a job brings sadness

for awhile. Then we adapt.

Adaptation explains

why people can be happy after physically disabling

accidents and tragedies.

Adaptation starts

with an aim to be happy. This sounds obvious, but

often we don’t make happiness a priority. Here is a

simple procedure. Write the words, “I intend to be

happy today,” on a piece of paper and stick it on

the bathroom mirror. When you look at it in the

morning, stop and reflect. Ask yourself, “What can I

be happy about today?” Vary your answers for a week.

Posting the note

and taking time to reflect will remind you to be

grateful during your day for that which contributes

to happiness–be it joking with a co-worker,

stopping to gaze and smell the splendor of a flower,

drinking your favorite cup of coffee, or spending a

special moment with a child.

Happiness hides in

life’s small details. If you’re not looking, you

will not see them.

As a youth growing

up in Hollywood, California, I would hear Al Jarvis,

a disk jockey on radio station KFWB, often say,

“It’s the little things in life that mean the most

to all of us.” I was lucky. I listened and learned

this wisdom at a young age. And I am grateful for



The brain thinks in

pictures, not words.

Not that you

remember your last dream, but if you asked yourself

whether you visualized the dream in words–as you

are reading now–or you visualized in pictures

(images), you will conclude that you dreamt in

visuals. (Remember that in human history reading is

a relevantly recent development, and only in very

recent times has the printed word become available

to the “common folk.”)

Being aware that

people think in pictures–that they construct

visuals in their minds–can help you become more


When recently in an

airport and hearing the gate agent say to a young

boy, “Don’t go down the ramp,” I knew a problem had

been created. Just a few minutes after the airport

official finished his sentence, I saw him chase

after the youngster down the ramp.

Can you picure


Think of the parent

who has a challenge with the child who wets his bed.

After tucking him in, the parent said, “Don’t wet

your bed tonight.” What will the child visualize

upon falling asleep?

How much more

effective would be the statement, “Let’s see if you

can keep your bed dry tonight.”

Which statement

conjures up the image the parent wants?

Chances are the

airline gate agent would have had less stress and

more success saying to the youngster who was curious

to go down the ramp something like, “You need a

special pass to go there.”

While waiting in

the office to present a seminar to a middle school

faculty recently, I glanced at the school rules–all

phrased in negative terms. My mental exercise was to

immediately rephrase them in positive terms. The

process is so easy once you become conscious of it

and practice changing negative pictures into

positive ones.

My experiences have

taught me that people do better with positive images

rather than with negative ones.

Let’s not forget

that we adults are grown-up kids in this regard. We

also communicate and process information best in

picture form. Communicate your message by painting

the picture you WANT to have created, not the one

you don’t want.


Attentive listening

is the most valuable tool we have for enriching the

quality of relationships. Yet, it is often


Attentive listening

means listening WITHOUT DISTRACTION. I have met very

few people who have practiced this approach to the

point of making it a skill.

My financial

planner was one such person. Cory had the knack of

conveying the feeling that, when you were with her,

you had her undivided attention. I don’t know if she

learned the skill or if it was just natural with

her. But I remember the charismatic impression it

made on me.

On the other hand,

I also remember the negative feelings engendered

while attempting to converse with a principal with

whom I once worked. I felt I had just 30 seconds to

get my point across; after 30 seconds, his attention

went elsewhere.

I know of one

person who was constantly interrupted whenever she

was with her boss. One day she simply said, “Could

you give me 10 minutes of uninterrupted time?” After

the meeting, her boss told her that it was the best

meeting they ever had. She agreed.

As the chair of an

accreditation team representing the Western

Association of Schools and Colleges, I was sitting

in the principal’s office. The meeting was in a

large urban high school in the second largest school

district in the nation. That year the school was

celebrating its 100th anniversary. As I was

conversing with the principal and the accrediting

team, the principal kept answering the telephone.

Aside from the rudeness, the implicit message was

that the accreditation team’s evaluation of the high

school was less important than his compunction to

answer the phone.

We send implicit

messages by the way we listen.

If you have a

tendency to wander after listening for a few minutes

but want to improve you relationships, use this

technique: Listen as if you were going to repeat

back what is being said to you. This technique can

help you resist any tendency to multitask–and that

includes interrupting.

A novel technique

to help you is described in my article this month on


It is important to

give young people your undivided attention when

conversing with them. It sends the message that you

acknowledge them. Almost above anything else, young

people want to be acknowledged–especially

teen-agers. Don’t lose precious few moments of

connection. In addition, your modeling will help

them learn this important communication skill.

With young

children, if you are playing with them, let them

know that you may have to take an urgent phone call

so they will understand ahead of time that their

time with you is not secondary.

When it comes to

listening, walking the talk means being conscious of

and practicing the skill of attentive listening.


   Use the Language You Want Learned –    “Responsibilities


<teachers.net/gazette> for this month shows how teachers can have students

become better listeners. The approach also shows teachers (really, anyone who

uses the voice a great deal) how to speak so that there is less strain on the

vocal chords.



The failings of

using coercive and manipulative approaches–such as

punishments and rewards–are described at:


The first link is a

one-pager of “Tips for Parents.”



I heard your

presentation at the California League of Middle

Schools conference in March.

I concur with your

ideas. I have applied many of your concepts during

my long coaching tenure without any formal system

like yours. However, I have been labeled as having

“suspect discipline.”

How do I counter

claims from traditionalists who believe punishment

is mandatory? They believe that if a coach does not

punish, a coach doesn’t have any discipline.

I would appreciate

hearing from you.




Great question and


Standards must be

kept. However, I focus on the positive and use

contingencies–rather than focusing on punishments,

which are negative.

As a former

athletic director of a large urban high school, here

is how I approached it: It is a privilege to be on

an athletic team. Membership on a team can be one of

the greatest experiences a young person can have.

Second point to

students: This is a team endeavor. The team comes

first. Therefore, only those things that add to the

team’s best interests are allowed.

Here is the kicker

and what a contingency looks like: You may continue

to participate if you. . . . (to be completed).


thinking imposes punishments. Contingencies, in

contrast, focus on the positive and put the

responsibility on the youth.

If a person does

not live up to the contingency, the follow-up action

begins. It is not the action but rather the

positive, internally motivational approach that is


Note also that with

a contingency, the responsibility is on the

youngster. With punishment, the responsibility is on

the enforcer.

Now, if the problem

has to do with regular physical education classes,

rather than athletics, we are in a different


First, the

curriculum needs to be looked at, viz., are

athletics the focus or physical education the focus?

Although not mutually exclusive, they are not


If a student

refuses to dress or participate, the student has a

very personal reason for it. Forcing obedience will

not be successful with a person whose personal

feelings and beliefs are more important than a

teacher’s request. In such cases, a student will

chose defiance.

Using reflective

questions and then empowering and encouraging will

go further than forcing obedience.

Finally, you have a

personal and professional decision to make. You know

from your experience how to build youth. Let your

fellow coaches get on your train. Don’t leave yours

to join them.


“Dr. Marshall has

provided both new and experienced teachers with a

comprehensive and thought-provoking resource–one

sure to be used with great frequency. The breadth of

information covered might prove daunting were it not

for the practical and concise nature with which it

is delivered. This text should prove to be an

invaluable tool for educators.”

Marti Pogonowski,

Staff Development Specialist Anne Arundel County

Public School, Gambrills, MD



National Association of Elementary School Principals

National Association of Secondary School Principals

National School Boards Association Phi Delta Kappa

International Performance Learning Systems The Brain