Discipline Without Stress Newsletter – November 2002

Volume 2 Number 11 


  1. Welcome
  2. Promoting Responsibility
  3. Increasing Effectiveness
  4. Improving Relationships
  6. Your Questions Answered
  7. Teachers.net: PROMOTING LEARNING
    GIVEN NAMES – When NOT to Use Them and when TO Use Them
  8. Discipline Chat Room for Teachers
  9. What Jim Cathcart, author of “The Acorn Principle: Know
    Yourself—Grow Yourself” says about the Book:


In our shrinking world of globalization and problems associated with different languages, the European Union commissioners have announced that an agreement has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for European communications–rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, the British government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phased plan for what will be known as EuroEnglish.

In the first year, “s” will be used instead of the soft “c.” Sertainly, sivil servants will resieve this news with joy. Also, the hard “c” will be replased with “k.” Not only will this klear up konfusion, but typewriters kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced by “f.” This will make words like “fotograf” 20 per sent shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of silent “e”s in the languag is disgrasful, and they would go.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” by “z” and “w” by “v.”

During ze fifz year, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou,” and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozerkombinations of leters. Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst place.

With thanks to Anne Louise Grimm


The old story told of a banker who often dropped a coin in a beggar’s cup bears repeating.

Unlike most people, the banker would insist on getting one of the pencils the beggar had with him. The banker would say, “You are a merchant, and I always expect to receive good value from the merchants with whom I do business.”

That daily routine went on for some time, but one day the poor street beggar was gone. Time passed, and the banker forgot about him.

Years later the banker walked by a little store, and there was the former beggar, now a shopkeeper. The shopkeeper said, “I always hoped you might come by some day. You are largely responsible for my being here. You kept telling me I was a merchant. I started to think of myself that way–instead of as a beggar looking for handouts. I started selling pencils, lots of them. And today I’ve got a little business. You showed me self-respect. You influenced me to look at myself differently.”

Can people change? Of course they can. But the change is often preceded by your expectations for them.

But how do you develop expectations which will empower people when some people aren’t very nice or very likeable. The answer is to use response-choice thinking. Whatever the situation, stimulation, or urge, you can choose your response. Don’t allow someone else’s negative attitude to determine yours. Be a Johnny Appleseed. When some seeds take hold, you will enjoy the taste of your planting.


Andrew Carnegie, the first great industrialist in America, at one point had 43 millionaires working for him. A reporter asked him how he hired all of those millionaires. His answer was that none of them were millionaires when he hired them.

The reporter inquired, “Then what did you do to develop them so they become millionaires?”

Carnegie responded that you develop people the same way you mine gold.

He said, “You go into a gold mine and you expect to remove tons of dirt to find an ounce of gold. But you don’t go into the mine looking for the dirt; you go in there looking for the gold.”


In August, 1986, Lee Iacocca, then President of Chrysler, addressed the company’s car dealers at their annual convention held that year in Atlantic City, NJ.

Iacocca’s message was to tell his dealers how they could increase their business in the next year. To succeed, he said, “All you have to do is memorize four words. Here they are: ‘Make someone like you.'”

Jim Cathcart’s book, “Relationship Selling,” was a forerunner and still a best seller on the importance of this concept. You see, even the slowest salesperson realizes that you can’t make the customer angry and sell him something at the same time.

Here are some questions to ponder in your relationships with others:

   If I were a child, would I want me as a parent?

   If I were a student, would I want me as a teacher?

   If I were an employee, would I want me as a boss?

   If I were married, would I want to be married to me?


Each time you coerce someone into doing something

by using your power of authority, you deprive

that person of an opportunity to become more responsible.


I’d appreciate your advice on handling a few children who persist in behaving at Level B, even after I have “checked for understanding” and have proceeded with “guided choices.”

Today I told one of my students who hit another child, “I want you to stay in our classroom, but if you act on Level B again, you are telling me that you want to keep on making your own rules for the class.”


Next time, ASK the student if he would like to stay in the classroom. Then ASK him on what level he would need to behave to remain in the class.

Follow this up by ASKING him what he will do when he gets the same impulse again. Elicit–and you can help him develop–a PROCEDURE he can follow when the same impulse occurs again. The procedure needs to be simple. He can stand and sit, rub his ear, frown and smile, or tap his toe five times–anything he can remember to do.

Role play with him by having him practice the procedure with you.

Ask him to periodically think about and practice the procedure again so that when the impulse arises he will be in control, rather than being a victim of his impulses.

If he has difficulty, keep on asking him if he want to continue to be a victim.

Notice how reflective questions work. They

empower by implying

the person is capable, they are noncoercive–so the person is not

defensive, and they encourage better choice-making.

Establishing, practicing, and reinforcing  a procedure for

redirecting impulsivity also assists.



Dear Dr. Marshall,

I stumbled upon an article entitled, “Reducing Perfectionism,” and it was enlightening. I am a principal of two rural buildings and I often direct my teachers to articles and readings that will promote success in the classroom.

I was wondering if you had any ideas or strategies for a child we would like to help. His teacher is frustrated because he takes so very long to complete his work. He is very neat, precise and there is no issue with his learning. He is successful, but his tendency is to be perfect. It must look right, by his perception, before moving on….it’s this moving on that we need to trigger.

I am open to any strategies that may get him to move on and quicker, but still be conscious of doing a good job.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We have tried the timer, to no avail. We have also accomplished getting him to stop making a meticulous darkened circle and an exact curve to make commas…whew!

Thank you for your time.

P.S. We have parents working on steps toward a neurological or psychiatric work-up so we are moving in the right direction, but the teacher has only so many minutes in a day. She is utterly patient, and doing a fine job building his self esteem. He is a new student to our school.


“Reducing Perfectionism” is a section in Chapter 4, PROMOTING LEARNING, in my book and is posted on my website.

Give the student an assignment. Have him explain the following aphorism, “You cannot be perfect and learn at the same time.”

A few examples may help. (1) Have him assume that he is playing the piano and makes a false note. Ask him if he will conclude that he has no musical talent? (2) Have him assume he is playing baseball and strikes out. Ask him if he will assume that he has no athletic skills? (3) Have him assume that he misspells a word on a spelling test. Ask him if he will assume he has no writing skills?

Let him know that PERFECTIONISM is a burden no one is strong enough to carry without permanent damage to the body, mind, and spirit. Many young girls make themselves victims of anorexia nervosa because they think they have to be perfect in order to be accepted.

Aiming at EXCELLENCE is worthwhile, but it also has its price–if it is at the expense of some other experience or learning that would be just as valuable (i.e., the next activity you want him to do). Make the point that a WISE person decides WHEN the QUALITY is excellent enough to move on.

When a person does not make such decisions, the person becomes a victim of an impulse. Only the person who responds to impulses in advantageous ways is in control–and thereby remains the victor.

ASK him which he prefers to be–the victim or the victor.

Teach the following procedure. Before starting any assignment, (1) have the student anticipate the length of time he anticipates the activity to take and (2) decide on the next activity he will do.

Then, set a timer. At the end of the anticipated time, let him know that he has enough control over himself to stop the first activity and start on the second. When the anticipated time for the second activity has expired, have him revisit the first activity and determine how much more time still would be necessary for it to be of quality work. The process continues for each activity.

Next assignment: Have him outline a typical day in 15 minute blocks. After reviewing it, make the point that successful people have developed decision-making skills for time management. Time management requires setting priorities.

Have him go through his list and list priorities of 1, 2, and 3.

1 = essential like eating and sleeping, 2 = what’s really important, and 3 = what he would like but is not as important as 1 or 2.

Ask him to list his priorities for one week using small cards that will fit into his pocket for easy reference.

Periodically, ask him how his decision-making is going.

Let him know that unless he starts to focus on QUALITY, rather than on perfection, his performance will lead to his not handing assignments in on time. There will be too many assignments to do. When an assignment is handed in after the due date, his grade will be lowered resulting in the exact opposite of what he desires, viz., getting a good grade.

He needs to start NOW. Ask him if he wants to replace his desire to be perfect with a better choice of doing QUALITY LEARNING.

Help him in this regard. Role play the situation. Give him an assignment with a time deadline. Let him know that it would be purely practice and you would be willing to invest your time to help him ONLY if he wants you to. If he says no to your offer, let him know that he has the option of changing his mind.

Finally, have a discussion with him letting him know that he is trying to be perfect to please the teacher, to receive a good grade, or to be liked. (EXTERNAL motivation–Level C of the Raise Responsibility System).

It is more important for him live a balanced life so that his performance is a combination of both external motivation AND INTERNAL motivation (doing all the assisgnments and his own value of being pleased with quality performance). (Level D in the Raise Responsibility System)


My PROMOTING LEARNING article on <teachers.net/gazette> for this month is about motivating students so they WANT to learn.

We often assume that students want–or should want–to learn.

Based on this mindset, teachers present information and just expect students to be interested in the tasks presented to them. It is important to remember that expecting students to do what the teacher presents lacks some key motivational strategy of ENTICING students to WANT to learn.

8. Discipline Chat Room for Teachers

This month’s chat room on discipline will be held on Wednesday,

November 27 (last Wednesday of the month) from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 Pacific Time at


Although I will answer any questions on discipline, the first few

minutes will be devoted to the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM.



How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning”

“Discipline is not easy in our culture. Our Puritanical past has led to many wrong assumptions about how to channel behavior. In this book, Marvin Marshall shows us how to overcome these counterproductive patterns while promoting responsibility and growth in young people. It is an important work, and I highly recommend it.”

Jim Cathcart

Author of “Relationship Selling” and “The Acorn Principle: Know Yourself—Grow Yourself”