Switching from Imposing Discipline to Promoting Responsibility

No one has an inherent desire to obey—to be told what to do—not even children. However, when responsibility is promoted, obedience follows as a natural by-product.

Of course, learning how to promote responsibility in others takes practice and patience. Going from the mindset of imposing discipline to one of promoting positivity, asking reflective questions, and offering guides choices takes time. No matter how long you’ve been teaching, making the switch to the new methodology will be fraught with ups and downs. The key is to be persistent, no matter how many setbacks you encounter.

To illustrate how unrealistic it is to expect yourself to make an overnight transformation in your approach, consider this story:

A rich woman walked up to the golf pro at an expensive resort and said, “I’d like for you to teach my friend here how to play golf.”

“Fine,” said the pro, “but how about you?”

“Oh, I learned yesterday!” she replied.

I share this rather humorous story with you to illustrate that learning to promote responsibility in others—rather than obedience—is something like learning to play golf. You can’t master it all in one day. But I can tell you that, like golf, prompting people to act responsibly by focusing on the three principles mentioned above is a skill you can learn and master.

1 Comment
  1. It did take me a little while to become skilled at the DWS approach, but I stayed with it. Now I can sincerely say that it’s transformed my class for the better.