Posts Tagged levels of development

Using the Levels of Development with Very Young People

The Levels of Development uses just four (4) concepts, or vocabulary terms, to describe two unacceptable behaviors (Level A and Level B) and two other terms to describe the concepts of external motivation (Level C) and internal motivation (Level D). The use of these terms leads to improved self-discipline.

Some primary teachers feel uncomfortable using the terms associated with unacceptable behaviors—anarchy and bullying. Rather than ignoring these negative concepts, young people are empowered when they can identify, articulate, and resist them.

The way to learn a concept is to have a way to describe it. This is the reason that one of the most fundamental approaches to … >>>


The Broken Window Theory and Levels of Development

James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling made the Broken Window Theory famous in their 1982 ATLANTIC MONTHLY article:

“The unchecked panhandler is, in effect, the first broken window. Muggers and robbers, whether opportunistic or professional, believe they reduce their chances of being caught or even identified if they operate on streets where potential victims are already intimidated by prevailing conditions. If the neighborhood cannot keep a bothersome panhandler from annoying a passerby, the thief may reason, it is even less likely to call the police to identify a potential mugger or to interfere if the mugging actually takes place.”

By the same reasoning, when a discipline problem is demonstrated in a classroom and if the teacher does not attend … >>>


Bullying and How Not to Stop It

A teacher recently ordered the poster containing the Levels of Development. When she hung it in her classroom, the school principal asked her to take it down. Why? The poster contained the word bullying.

I developed the hierarchy around of the thinking of Stephen Covey’s first habit of highly effective people: Be Proactive. 

The Levels of Development places “Anarchy” at the bottom level of unacceptable behavior. In a classroom this would be exemplified by such behaviors as leaving materials around, pushing others, throwing paper airplanes, and other unacceptable and unsafe behaviors.

The next level up the ladder refers to “Bullying” and bothering others. Examples are making fun of others, not being kind, and other activities where a child … >>>


Extending theLevels of Development into Learning

Gradually, as I experienced continued success with using Dr. Marshall’s Discipline without Stress approach to help students develop self-discipline and a sense of responsibility, I realized that there was enormous potential and value in using his Levels of Developmentto inspire young people in all areas of their lives.

One day I decided to have a discussion with my grade one students about how they could use their understanding of the four levels to help themselves become better readers. We talked about the “Whole School Read” session in which we participate each morning. I asked the youngsters to describe hypothetical behaviors of students operating at each of the levels during this daily reading time.

Using their own words,they were able … >>>


Using A Butterfly Analogy to Explain the Levels of Development

Using A Butterfly Analogy to Explain the Levels of Development

The four levels (concepts) can be taught using examples from home, school, and/or personal experiences—as well as from stories and events around the world. Sharing examples of each level increases understanding and makes the concepts more meaningful and personal. Following is how a teacher introduced the concepts.


I began by reminding the students of the life cycle of a butterfly. They recalled that there are four stages of development: egg, caterpillar, pupa, and butterfly. We talked about how all butterflies are in some stage of this process but have no control over their movement through the process.

We then moved on to comparing the butterfly’s life cycle to >>>


The Levels of Development in High Schools

I’m a teacher at a suburban Atlanta charter high school. As a member of the discipline committee for the high school, I am involved in the rethinking/restructuring of our discipline system and, of course, you and your Levels of Development came to our attention.

We have perused the “Quick Explanation” on your “Summary” link of your web site and have ordered your book. We are very interested in the “Raise Responsibility System.”

We have considered having posters with the A, B, C, D concepts printed for every classroom. However, several of us are concerned that these may come across as too juvenile for high school students. We suspect that these concerns will be addressed in your book when it … >>>


The Raise Responsibilty System Explained


We have been discussing how to use the Raise Responsibility System in our classrooms and have a  question. When checking for understanding, if the student identifies the level correctly, do you still give a referral to fill out or do you only use a referral if the student does not give appropriate responses to the teacher questions?


A prime reason why the levels are taught (phase 1) is to create a benchmark or reference frame. Checking for Understanding (phase 2) is the second step of simple cognitive learning theory. First we teach (levels); then we test (check that the student understands the levels).

In Checking for Understanding, the student acknowledges the level of chosen behavior. By … >>>


Bullying a Cat

I had the pleasure of presenting two sessions at the annual conference of the National Middle School Association. 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 respectful.

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 … >>>


Using the Levels of Development

Kerry of British Columbia shows how to use the the Levels of Development.

Discussions held with individuals can also be held with entire classes of students. By referring to the levels of development, you can help kids understand the difference between pseudo-self-esteem (an over-inflated ego!) and true self-esteem.

Often it’s the person with the over-inflated ego who causes disruptions in the classroom, and so these kinds of discussions are particularly valuable. Once youngsters can recognize their own behaviour as “show-offish” (as opposed to  clever), they can become inspired to use the hierarchy to help themselves build true feelings of confidence and competence.

In other words, you can teach children that their level of behaviour is a CHOICE they … >>>


Immediate Results from Using the Levels of Development

At a  Texas conference, an elementary school assistant principal approached me and said, and I quote verbatim, “I’m addicted to you.” Needless to say, this captured my attention, and I asked for an explanation to this rather embarrassing compliment.

She explained that after reading the Phi Delta Kappan article, she decided to try the approach described in the article.

After she told me of her immediate successes using the levels of social development, I encouraged her to consider writing an article which perhaps could be published in a state or national journal. She sent the beginning few paragraphs of the article to me. The following is from her writing:

“I had 20 students on behavior contracts that ranged from … >>>


Names for the Levels of Development


I love what I have read so far on the websites and have ordered the book. My question is about the levels. Has there been any thought given to structuring the levels in the reverse order so that A is the highest level. I’m struggling a little with the students seeing that level D is higher than level A. It seems odd to strive for A work and D behavior in the school system.

I thought of A-actualization, B- beneficial, C-coercion D- Disorder.

Thanks for a great website! I look forward to reading the book.


Your concern is a natural one. It is the most common challenge for any adult first using the system. But it’s just … >>>


Levels of Development for Math

In my presentation at the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) conference, I shared the the Levels of Development as it relates to MATHEMATICS” to promote learning in that area.

The procedure of having students paint verbal pictures of the level chosen BEFORE engaging in any subject area and then their reflecting on the level acted on AFTER the activity prompts and challenges—two natural motivators.

Here is the “Levels of Development” as it relates to math:

Level D (INTERNAL motivation to learn)
• Displays a desire to learn
• Stays focused during math lessons
• Willingly practices to improve math skills
• Practices without the necessity of adult supervision
• Completes assignments because it is in one’s self-interest… >>>


Examples of Levels of Development to Promote Learning

The Levels of Development is a highly effective approach to promote learning.

Establishing expectations by prompts from the teacher, and/or eliciting descriptors from students, BEFORE an activity and then REFLECTING AFTER the activity increase both motivation and achievement.



Following are two samples of the posts:


LEVEL D (INTERNAL motivation)
• Perseveres in spite of a challenge
• Retains an optimistic attitude toward obstacles
• Doesn’t require constant adult direction or supervision to stay on task
• Independently asks for help when necessary, rather than unnecessarily worrying

LEVEL C (EXTERNAL motivation)
• Does all of the above but ONLY when an adult is nearby or when there is a desire to impress someone who is watching

LEVEL … >>>


4 Benefits of Using the Levels of Development


Using the Levels of Development separates the act from the actor, the deed from the doer—irresponsible behavior from a good person. Separation is critical so people don’t feel the natural impulse to defend themselves, their behavior, or their choices.

Using the Levels of Development brings attention to the fact that people are constantly making choices.

Using the Levels of Development fosters intrinsic motivation so that young people WANT to behave responsibly and WANT to put forth effort to learn.

Using the Levels of Development fosters character development without mentioning values, ethics, or morals.

To understand how the Levels of Development are used, click on Levels of Development.>>>


A simple Technique to Stop Bullying

To be most effective, communicate not only to prompt thinking but to also prompt good feelings. This is especially the case when you would like to put a stop to irresponsible behavior—such as bullying. Explain the MOTIVATION of those students whose behavior is on Level B of the Levels of Development—those who boss and bully others.

Use a ruler or a meter stick (yard stick in the U.S.A.) to demonstrate a teeter-totter (see-saw). Hold it flat, parallel to the floor, and describe that this is how it looks when people are balanced with themselves and with others—when they are making responsible choices.

However, when one person starts to pick on another person, the teeter-totter gets out of balance. The … >>>


Motivation and An Image

Efforts to promote learning (educational reform) have been headline news for many years. If you reflect on the number of reforms attempted in the United States in the last thirty years, you would need many fingers to count them. Then if you reflected on how many of these attempts to improve education are extant, you would be hard pressed to need any fingers.

W. Edwards Deming, the man who brought the meaning of quality as “continuous improvement” to the world, often stated, “ninety-six percent of the problem lies in the SYSTEM, not in the employees.”

Following are two examples where the educational SYSTEM uses unproductive approaches.

The first: Educators talk about “motivating students” because of the apathy towards learning so … >>>


The Levels of Development and the Police

When I again presented in Sacramento, California, one of the participants told me that he had attended one of my seminars in Sacramento several years previously and that he uses the Levels of Development in various situations—including those when he assists the local police. I asked Frank to share with attendees how he uses the program after arresting a youth and transporting that young person to the police department.

Frank starts by being proactive. He explains the Levels of Development of the discipline plan, and he then informs the person that it is the person’s choice as to how he/she will be treated upon arrival at the destination. Frank explains that operating on Level A or Level B will … >>>