I’ve heard you describe the Discipline without Stress approach as “simple-to-implement.” I personally find that it takes continuous effort when I’m teaching to deal with classroom management and at the same remember to be positive, offer choices, and ask reflective questions. I wonder if others find the implementation of this discipline approach to be simple?
DR. MARSHALL’S RESPONSE:
SIMPLE does not mean EASY – at first.
Learning how to drive an automobile is SIMPLE, but it only becomes EASY after you have driven for awhile.
This discipline approach is simple in that there are ONLY four parts to the Teaching Model–not a dozen or so. The third part, The Raise Responsibility System which is used to deal with classroom discipline issues, has only three phases–TEACHING the concepts, ASKING reflective questions, and ELICITING a procedure to redirect impulses.
Deciding ahead of time not to eat dessert at a banquet may be simple. But when the plates from the main course are removed and the cheesecake is placed in front of you, your original decision may not be so easy to implement.
When I first decided to run in the mornings—rather than in the evenings—I found the decision quite SIMPLE. I set the alarm for an early morning rise. As expected, the alarm rang early the next morning and I heard my self-talk: “Getting up this early is crazy.” I went back to sleep.
At the time, I was a high school assistant principal with a student body of 3,200. Since I was in charge of all student discipline as well as all co-curricular activities, I would arrive home at various late hours. Knowing that if I were to continue running regularly, the running would have to be done in the mornings, that evening I again set my alarm for an early morning rise. I awoke and ran. That was years ago. I have never returned to running in the evenings. My original decision was simple but getting up earlier than to what I was accustomed was not easy. Still today, I would not have it any other way.
When I present Discipline without Stress to a school or district, people leave with a four-part Teaching Model. The implementation is up to them. I never say it is easy. I do emphasize that the more they practice the principles and implement the system, the easier it becomes and also the more responsibility they will promote, the more effective they will be, the more improved their relationships will become, and the less stress they will feel. And I point out that they WILL see success from the beginning.
However, it is important to understand that there must be conscious awareness in implementing this discipline approach. It is simple; but it’s not necessarily easy for a person to change approaches (in other words, “habits.”) It takes conscious awareness to be alert to our options.
We don’t teach the Ten Commandments and from then expect people to implement them consistently all the rest of their lives. The Commandments need to be regularly revisited.
We don’t practice a set of procedures one time and then expect them to be set in place to run themselves. When dealing with humans—as opposed to machines—constant awareness and practice are necessary. As we (or others,) practice, new neural connections are made and implementation does become easier and simpler.
People who reflect, evaluate, and are conscious of their practices are engaging in one of life’s greatest joys—striving for improvement and reaping the satisfactions that result.