Volume 4 Number 11
IN THIS ISSUE:
2. Promoting Responsibility
3. Increasing Effectiveness
4. Improving Relationships
5. Promoting Learning
6. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:
Your Questions Answered
Impulse Management Posters and Cards
What People Say About THE RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
I presented two sessions at
the annual conference of the
National Middle School Association in Minneapolis last week.
The day after the first presentation, an attendee related
the following to me:
I used your approach on my
daughter last night. She had
often picked on our cat in a rather mean way and was doing
so again. I ASKED her if she was bullying the cat OR being
After what seemed a long
period of reflection, my
four-year-old responded, “Bullying.”
I then asked her what we
should do? After more reflecting,
my daughter suggested that we get rid of the cat so that
she couldn’t bully it any more.
The mother will not get rid
of the cat, but she was so
pleased because it was the first acknowledgment by her young
daughter that being mean to the cat was not the right way to
treat the family pet. It was the youngster’s first
acknowledgment that a change in her behavior was necessary.
The link on my website to
the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
has been refigured. In case you have not reviewed the
website recently, here are the links with descriptions:
A LETTER WORTH READING
Read the letter originally posted at “Yahoo/Raise
Responsibility System group” that shows how a teacher uses
the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM to reduce discipline
problems while also significantly increasing academic
A MIDDLE SCHOOL LETTER
Read a letter from an award-winning teacher whose
frustration with traditional discipline approaches almost
drove him from the profession that he loves.
A JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL
NEWSLETTER FOR PARENTS
Read how the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM is described to
This place is reserved for a
high school teacher who will
send me a letter or article.
A PRINCIPAL’S EXPERIENCE
Read how the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM changed a
principal’s professional and personal life.
THE SUMMARY QUOTE FROM THE
PUBLICATION “BUILDING CLASSROOM
Marshall’s Raise Responsibility System has major
strengths beyond those found in many other systems of
discipline. It makes sense and rings true for teachers.
It focuses on developing responsibility, an enduring
quality that remains useful throughout life. It removes
the stress that students and teachers normally
experience in discipline. It is easy to teach, apply,
and live by. It is long-lasting because it leads to
changes in personality. Educators find these strengths
especially compelling, hence, the surge of interest in
–C.M.Charles, Building Classroom Discipline – 8th
Ed.(Boston: Pearson, 2005) pages 106-107
IN-HOUSE STAFF DEVELOPMENT FOR SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS
See how a school can conduct its own staff development in
the use of the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM for an extremely
VIDEO PREVIEW (VIDEO CLIP)
View a ten (10) minute video showing the three principles to
practice and the three parts of the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY
SYSTEM. The video clip is from the 90-minute video cassette
included in the In-House Staff Development package described
Download a one-page summary (Instructional Model) of the
RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM along with how teaching the
concepts can be used at any grade level, in any course, and
with any subject area. Primary teachers will enjoy the
poster (Primary Poster).
RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM USERS GROUP (MAILRING)
You can share and learn more about the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY
FAQ’S (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)
FAQ’s contain responses to questions and comments about the
RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM. It is a joint effort between
Marv Marshall and Kerry Weisner.
IMPULSE MANAGEMENT CARDS & POSTERS
The procedure described on the impulse management poster and
the impulse management card has been found to be amazingly
effective in redirecting impulsivity. (The four levels of
social development appear on the reverse side of the card.)
Read what district; primary, elementary, middle, and high
school teachers and administrators; university professors;
parents; students; and others people say about the RAISE
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
After winning the Academy
Award for best female actor, Helen
Hunt was asked, “How do you know which scripts to choose?”
Her response: “I always go with the one that scares me the
most; it’s the one with the greatest potential for growth.”
This is a valuable concept to promote. Taking responsibility
can also be scary–but with it comes growth.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
ALWAYS ask, “Can you do
This question will prompt students to increase their effort
and improve their quality of work.
Asked by parents, this question will prompt their children
to reflect on their behavior.
Asked by you at a hotel registration desk may often result
in an upgraded room. The same works with rental car agencies
and people working on commission.
Can you do better?
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
This country has a serious
I share with you a little of what I shared in my keynote on
November 1 at the International Association for Truancy and
Dropout Prevention Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Every September about 3.5 million young people enter the 8th
grade. After four years, about 505,000 drop out. That’s an
average of about 2,800 per day. Picture this: Every school
day, more than 70 school buses drive away from schools
filled with students who will never return.
Not returning to school is not an event; it is a process.
Show me a school dropout, and I’ll show you a young person
who has not established positive relationships at school.
Many dropouts start negative self-talk early in their school
careers. I submit that this negative approach has many
causes–among which are (1) using competition (rather than
collaboration) and (2) emphasizing what is wrong (rather
than first pointing out positives and, thereby, fostering
However, the desire to belong is so strong in young humans
that without some positive relationship, it becomes the
overriding reason for truancy and school dropouts.
Here is a simple strategy that teachers and parents can
implement to build relationships: INTERVIEW.
In the classroom, this means setting some time aside for the
teacher to interview students and for students to interview
each other. At home, this means setting aside time for
parents to interview their children.
We know that cognition cannot be separated from emotions.
The simple approach of learning about someone else prompts
positive feelings–on the part of both parties.
A teacher can interview a student during the five-minute
activity once a week–while students are interviewing each
A parent can plan five minutes a week to sit with or walk
with a young person to listen, not to grill but just to
listen–without comment, without judgment, or criticism.
That’s what effective interviewers do. They ask interesting
questions. For example asking, “What was one thing that you
liked or was good about school this week?” will give a
parent insight into the child’s world and even prompt good
feelings about school.
Amazing relationships will result.
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
A teacher recently shared a
few thoughts with me.
This year is a surprise for me. I thought I had my
revelation last year when I discovered RRS at the California
League of Middle School Conference. This year I have
implemented the system from the beginning and the painful
revelation this year is just how wrong I have been over the
last 13 years. It is almost painful to reflect on who I used
to be. I was so caught up in getting students to obey that I
lost sight of the humanity of this profession. I was
overpowering them rather than being flexible, understanding,
Here is an example: I have a student who doesn’t do his
homework and who struggles in the class. Last year he would
have had several detentions from me and a failing grade. I
would have forced him to come in to do his homework and we
would have been in a power struggle. This year I purchased
several school supplies for him and have always had a kind
word for him. I recently found out he is actually homeless
and that he and his dad are living in a cheap motel.
Recently he has started spending his break time in my class,
by his own choosing, doing his math homework. He also drew
me some pictures on binder paper that he wanted me to have.
It breaks my heart to think of all the opportunities I have
missed for this type of relationship with students.
6. Implementing the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
QUESTION- from a posting at:
I need your help! I have already started using the RRS in my
classroom, and I gave my principal the handout explaining
the levels of behavior. She told me that she will not
support my using the RRS. She told me that anarchy was too
big of a word for Kindergartners and that they wouldn’t
understand. She told me that behavior shouldn’t be
compartmentalized–and that is what this system promotes. I
explained how the RRS focuses on internal motivation and
self reflection. She still would not hear of it! We went
around and around for quite some time. Does anyone have any
advice or suggestions for me? Thanks for your help!
RESPONSE – from a posting by Kerry:
What a shame! I’ve met a number of cynical people who
didn’t think an approach based on inner motivation would
work because they felt it was too idealistic, but at least
they’ve all been able to see the value of what is trying to
be achieved with the RRSystem. Most principals would at
least support a teacher in TRYING it for one year. You would
think she would WANT kids to be encouraged to follow their
consciences, which is essentially the essence of Level D.
It wasn’t clear if your principal had actually told you that
you can’t use the RRSystem or if she simply prefers that you
not use it. In the first case, I would imagine that you
don’t have any options but to comply with her wishes. In the
second case, you would have an option, but only you could
make the decision based on how strongly you feel about
continuing with disciplining through internal motivation.
I really feel sad about the reaction you received from this
lady! The children have so much to gain from this system.
How unfortunate if you weren’t able to provide them with the
understandings of the hierarchy now that you know about the
Today I had a glimpse of how the RRSystem has affected just
one child and given him the opportunity to think about how
he wants to live his life.
First just a little background into our classroom situation
at the moment.
Yesterday and today, the first two days of school, the
students in our school went back to their teachers from last
year. For the past several years we have followed this
format, so that when we finally move the children into their
new classes, we can be fairly certain that they will stay
there for the rest of the year. We do this to avoid the
upset and tears (on the part of both students and parents!)
that were often part of our previous routine when we tried
to form class lists in June, and then had to reorganize all
the classes on the second or third day of school.
Most years by the second day of school we’re up and running
with our new students but this year we had an extra day “on
hold” because a new teacher was added to our staff due to a
big increase in student numbers. So, today, with our “old”
children, we did a lot of back-to-school review–some
reading skills, some math skills, and we went over the
RRSystem hierarchy. We were discussing the bottom two levels
and mentioning that they were unacceptable. Several children
explained that it’s not nice to be around others who operate
on these lower levels and a couple of kids said that
sometimes they felt bullied at home by an older brother or
bigger kids on their street. We talked about how they might
choose to respond when this happened. Several kids mentioned
that they would get help if the bullies didn’t stop and a
number of kids said that they would ignore things that
others did if they weren’t too bad. Greg said that he had
actually made his own ABCD chart at home to show his brother
when he was bullying him.
That’s when Cameron put up his hand. Here’s what he had to
say. Knowing the quiet contemplative nature of this little
boy, it was obvious that he had been thinking about this in
his own little head, quite seriously, long before today’s
He said that his dad has told him that when other people do
things that are mean, he should do the exact same mean thing
BACK to them. I didn’t really say anything except “Hmmm” and
he continued, “I DON’T do that though,” he said, “because if
I did the same thing that they were doing, I would be on a
low level too–just like them.”
When people try to tell me that little children can’t
understand the hierarchy enough to use it, I just let those
comments go in one ear and out the other! Little
conversations like this one today with Cameron, prove to me
that sometimes, kids, who have only been exposed for just
one year to the RRSystem, have a better understanding of the
concepts of social and personal development than some adults
will ever have!
Through the RRSystem, kids come to realize that they have
the powerful ability to be in control of their own lives. At
every moment of the day they are making decisions. I feel
privileged to be be able to introduce them to the four
levels of the RRSystem and in so doing, give them something
upon which to consciously base their decisions.
Kerry in BC
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
What People Say About THE RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
“This is the best year I
have had in the 25 years of being a principal. Behavior has not been a problem
this year. Our students are learning to solve their problems in a positive way.
We find that with the proper instruction, students can monitor their own
behavior and make responsible choices without the use of punishment and
Phelps Wilkins, Principal
Eisenhower Elementary School, Mesa, AZ
A descriptive table of
contents of the book describing the approach, three selected sections, and
additional items of interest are posted at: