Volume 2 Number 9
IN THIS ISSUE:
2. Promoting Responsibility
3. Increasing Effectiveness
4. Improving Relationships
5. Your Questions Answered
6. Teachers.net: PROMOTING LEARNING
The Power of Hierarchies – What They Are and What They Do
7. The Shortcomings of Punishments and Rewards – Tips for Parents
8. What Gordon Cawelti, Educational Research Service, and
former Executive Director, Association for Supervision and
Curriculum Development (ASCD), says about the Book:
“DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS, PUNISHMENTS or REWARDS”s
The U.S.A. has long been privileged to have
peace as our normal
state of affairs.
This month marks the first anniversary of the attack on our
continental homeland–striking at the symbol of capitalism and
commerce (World Trade Centers) and the symbol of our defense
(Pentagon). Although the terrorism has prompted immense sadness,
hopefully it will prompt us to be wiser.
We often look at a person’s motivation to justify action. One’s
motivation, however, is no excuse for destructive behavior.
Look on the backside of an American dollar bill. On the right
side, you will see the great seal of the United States of
America. If you take a close look at the seal, you will see the
motto of our country on the banner: E PLURIBUS UNUM–out of many,
Notice that above the eagle’s head are 13 stars representing the
original 13 states. Notice that the shield in front of the eagle
has 13 stripes representing the 13 original states. Look at the
13 leaves in the branch of peace in the eagle’s right talon–and
then the 13 arrows in its left.
Notice that the eagle is facing toward peace.
We are a peaceful nation but must recognize that people ought to
be judged on their behavior–not their motivation.
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
A man pulled into a gas station on the
outskirts of town. As he
filled his tank, he remarked to the attendant, “I’ve just
accepted a job in town. I’ve never been to this part of the
country. What are people like here?
“What are people like where you came from?” the attendant asked.
“Not so nice,” the man replied. “In fact, they can be quite
The attendant shook his head. “Well, I’m afraid you’ll find the
people in this town to be the same way.”
Just then another car pulled into the station. “Excuse me,” the
driver called out. “I’m on my way into town. I’m just moving to
the area. Is it nice here?”
“Was it nice where you came from?” the attendant inquired.
“Oh yes! I came from a great place. The people were friendly,
and I hated to leave.”
“Well, you’ll find the same true of this town.”
I travel to New York City once a month were I
work with schools
in Upper Manhattan and Harlem. Before I started to travel to
the Big Apple on a regular basis two years ago, I had heard that
people there were rude, abrupt, and not very friendly.
You probably know by now that my neural connections have been
established to the point that before I react, I reflect: “How can
I turn this into a positive?”
I find New Yorkers friendly, conversational, and delightful.
Myron Tribus, a renowned expert on improving quality, put it
aptly when he said, “There is no such thing as immaculate
perception. What you see depends upon what you thought before
A key strategy in influencing others is to be a
But there is a paradox to this skill because in order to have
influence with another, the influencer needs to be influenced.
Simply stated, the more a person is open to others, the greater
is the ability to influence them.
Listening can also refer to oneself. Warren Buffett, the ace
stock picker and empire builder, gives credit to his partner,
Charlie Munger, for the Orangutan Theory:
If a smart person goes
into a room with an orangutan and
explains whatever his or
her idea is, the orangutan just
sits there eating his
banana, and at the end of the
conversation, the person
explaining comes out smarter..
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
The idea of communicating a caring interest to
those with whom
we work was first documented in a classic study on human
relations and is known as the “Hawthorne Effect.” It emanated
from a study that took place in the late 1920’s at Western
Electric’s Hawthorne plant near Chicago.
Researchers went into the factory to see if, by increasing room
lighting for a group of employees, the productivity would
increase. Improvements did indeed seem to boost worker output.
But much to their surprise, when the researchers analyzed a
comparable group with no change in the lighting, the productivity
Further study and analysis of this puzzling result showed that
productivity increased because the workers were delighted that
management was showing some kind of interest in them. The very
fact that workers knew they were receiving attention motivated
them to try to improve. The workers felt that management cared
about them and that they were valued.
Similarly, any person, regardless of age, who feels valued reaps
the benefit of the Hawthorne Effect.
5. YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
I recently read your book and I plan to try it this year with my
Previously, I taught 6th grade and used an assertive discipline
system. I teach in a Success for All school which requires
teachers to award team points for appropriate behavior. Students
are rewarded based on the number of points their team earns each
week. How do you think the Raise Responsibility System will work
if I have to give rewards for expected behaviors?
Thank you for your help!
First, a comment about assertive discipline: As you may have
discovered, a fundamental characteristic of this coercive
approach is to overpower when the student does not obey. The
RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM is 180 degrees in the opposite
direction. It sets up expectations and then prompts youngsters to
This approach separates a good person from inappropriate
behavior. Because of the separation, the person does not have to
self-defend, thereby creating a safe atmosphere. Because students
understand that the objective is to have them become more
responsible, rather than to change them, it is easy for a student
to admit to an inappropriate behavior–and change it.
The system is based on the simple truth that you cannot change
another person. People change themselves, and the most effective
way to influence a person to change behavior is to get them to
WANT to change. The most effective way to do this is though a
Regarding “Success for All,” continue to do
what the program asks
Once you explain the difference between level C, external
motivation, and level D, internal motivation, students quickly
realize that external rewards are used to reinforce desired
behavior–and they begin to realize that it is manipulative. No
one likes being manipulated–not even young kids.
Once students reach this realization, many lose interest in the
external reward. They realize that the feelings of success
leading to increased self-esteem are more satisfying than any
Let the students decide. For those who want to continue receiving
rewards, give it to them. For those students who tell you not to,
follow their wishes.
Regarding working in teams, once you have
established the synergy
of students working in collaboration–rather than in competition
–quality of learning will dramatically increase. Friendly
rivalry for short periods is fun. If learning is based on
competition on a regular basis, however, it is counterproductive.
The epilogue in my book shows how educational leaders have lost
faith in their own leadership and have been led by business and
government leaders to use a business model for learning.
Using a model of accountability and inducing competition for
learning by comparing test scores (as if all learning can be
quantified) is counterproductive. The comic strip character,
Dagwood Bumstead, eloquently described this approach when he
said, “You know, that makes a lot of sense if you don’t think
You will be amazed at how your youngsters will do what you want
if you have good classroom management (teach procedures for
everything you want them to do) and then teach the hierarchy of
6. TEACHERS NET: PROMOTING
The Power of Hierarchies – What They Are and What They Do
My PROMOTING LEARNING article on
<teachers.net/gazette> for this
month is about the power of hierarchies–not only what they are
but what they do.
The article is at:
7. THE SHORTCOMINGS OF PUNISHMENTS AND REWARDS and Tips for Parents
The shortcomings of using coercive and
–such as punishments and rewards to manipulate behavior and
telling people what to do–are described at:
The first link is a one-pager of “Tips for Parents.”
8. WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE BOOK:
“DISCIPLINE WITHOUT STRESS, PUNISHMENTS OR REWARDS
How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning”
“For those teachers and school leaders who want
to get serious
about improving student achievement, this book will be very
helpful. Its attention to classroom management skills, motivating
students, and establishing a positive relationship with students
are key ingredients to ensuring that students aspire to great
things starting with academic accomplishment.”
Gordon Cawelti, Educational Research Service and
Former Executive Director,
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
A descriptive table of contents, three selected sections, and
additional items of interest are posted at: