Posts Tagged teaching the levels

How can I explain the difference between Level C and D of this discipline system?


What is the best way to explain to children the difference between internal and external motivation––in other words, the difference between DWS Levels C and D?  I am having trouble with this.


Initially I use very concrete examples connected directly to the classroom.

I describe Level C as the level where students do the right thing––what’s expected of them by the teacher––because the teacher is clearly expecting them to do it.

Some simple examples:

  • The student will pick up toys off the floor when they are asked.
  • The student will walk quietly in the hallway when a teacher is supervising.
  • The student will clean up a mess he/she has made when
>>> READ MORE >>>

Books (picture) to introduce the Levels of Development


Here is a list of picture books to introduce the four levels of the Hierarchy of Social Development.
The bold books with the asterisk (*) are the ones I used when I developed and taught the levels.

Level A Books – Anarchy (not acceptable level)
*Miss Nelson Is Missing
by Harry Allard and James Marshall
Mean Soup, by Betsy Everitt
Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink, by Diane deGroat
Miss Nelson is Missing, by Harry Allard
We Share Everything, by Robert Munsch
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes
When Sophie Gets Angry Really Really Angry, by Molly G. Bang

Level B Books – Bullying and Bothering (not acceptable level)
*The Three Little Pigs
by James Marshall… >>>


What is a Level B TEACHER?


I understand what a Level B student is but sometimes I hear teachers asking, “Do you want me to become a Level B teacher?” Can you explain what this is all about?

One important understanding students receive when the teacher introduces the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy in the beginning of the year is that people can in effect, choose the type of relationship they wish to have with other people, including the authority figures in their life.

Good relationships are created by operating on Level C. For those who choose to operate on Level D–the highest level–relationships will be even better and more satisfying. Students are also introduced to the understanding that frequent operation on Level B … >>>


Primary Book – “The Little Red Hen”

Just like people, book characters often operate on more than one level!

Very often, the author has at least one character learn something about the discouraging outcomes of operating at the lower levels. In many cases, the character is transformed in some way during the course of the story.

Whenever I read such a book to children, I highlight this transformation by connecting it to the DWS Hierarchy.

  • What did this character learn as the result of experiencing or observing the outcomes of operating on a lower level?
  • What can we learn from this character’s experiences?
  • How might what has happened in this situation, affect how this character chooses to act in the future?
  • Have you ever had a
>>> READ MORE >>>

Primary Book – “Hooway for Wodney Wat”

Cover Illustration

Hooway for Wodney Rat by Helen Lester is a great read-aloud, especially if you like taking on different voices!!

Camilla Capybara is a perfect character for introducing the concept of Level B of the DWS Hierarchy.  Once the kids have correctly identified Camilla’s level of operation, the illustrations really lend themselves to discussing the outcomes and natural consequences of operating on Level B.

  • Look at the picture where Camilla is screaming out the answers.  How are the others reacting?
  • Discuss the picture where she runs out over top of everyone to get to recess first.  How do the others feel about Camilla?  Will they be seeking her out to play on the playground?  Not likely!  They’re scared of her!
>>> READ MORE >>>

I’ve come up with my own names for the levels of development


Although I use Marshall’s Levels of Development, I’m a bit put off by 
the “reverse A-D system,” with D being the best. It goes opposite to how we typically think of grades or levels.

I’ve finally come up with my own labels. I think they have the
same meaning but in reverse order.
 Any comments?

Lowest Level D = Deliberate misbehavior
Level C = Can’t control self
Level B = Behaves for rewards
Highest Level A = Automatic self-control


As you implied, the key to success with this approach lies in conveying the understandings of the concepts at each level. The specific name attached to each level is not as important as the concepts that describe and … >>>


Should I start introducing the Levels of Development from A or D?

First Question:

When introducing the Levels of Development, I assume that I should focus on one level at a time. Do I start with Level A or Level D?


To me, it makes sense to begin with Level A and end with D; I want to end on a positive and inspiring note!

Second Question:

Would it be best to introduce one new level each week, or one new level each  day, while revisiting the previous levels?


There are many ways to introduce the Levels of Development. The number of lessons used for introducing the four levels would depend on your own preference and might vary with the age of your students. High school teachers typically … >>>


Are the level letters confusing to students?


I was wondering if the behavior standards listed by Marshall (A = anarchy, etc.) are confusing 
to students. When we give them behavior grades, we say “A” is the best. I want to put up 
the Hierarchy chart as described in the book, but I wondered if it was going to confuse the kids.


The symbols “ABCD” have no particular meaning in and of themselves, it’s only in context that these symbols hold particular meanings.

For example, in a multiple choice question, A,B,C,D identify four possible answers.

In First Aid situations, ABC refers to Check AIRWAYS, Check BREATHING, Check CIRCULATION.

When discussing “patterning” as a concept in math, ABCD might refer to a pattern of four repeating shapes … >>>


Can the levels be renamed in opposite order?


Just wondering–could the levels be renamed to go in the opposite order? The younger kiddies have been so programmed to think that A is the best and what they should be striving for. To them, D means needing improvement. I’m afraid my kids will get confused when I tell them Level A is the worst level.


From a primary teacher on the Disicpline without Stress mailring:

I thought the same thing until I taught it to my children. My second grade class learned the terms the first day of school. I had a harder time with getting my mind around it than they did! Their minds are remarkably resilient and flexible.

As a reminder for me, … >>>


How can I explain “anarchy?” in the context of this discipline approach?

Some of my youngsters are struggling with the word “anarchy.” How can I explain what it means in a simple way?

Remember that young people’s brains are like sponges. They can absorb anything. The trick is to make meaning of what is absorbed. This will enhance learning and memory.

For older children:
Break “an/archy” up by teaching that the prefix “an” means “not,” “without,” or “lacking”– in this case, “without rule.” Compare this with other prefixes such as “mono,” which means “one,” and “olig” which means “a few.”

Explain that:
• Monarchy is rule by one person (like a king).
• Oligarchy means rule by a few people.
• Anarchy means that there is no … >>>


I need concrete examples of each level of this discipline system.

I am confused about the specifics of the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy. I need concrete examples of behaviors for each level so that I can correctly explain them to my students.

Below are some examples of behaviors on each of the four levels as well as the most important understandings to convey to your students.

Level A – Anarchy
• displaying out-of-control behavior of any type
• showing a complete lack of concern for the feelings of others
• destroying or vandalizing property intentionally
• stealing
• putting oneself or others in danger

Behavior on this lowest level is always unacceptable. Students should understand that by choosing to act on Level A, they are automatically inviting the use … >>>


How can I get all my students to Level D?

I’ve been using Discipline without Stress for a few months now and my students seem to understand about the four levels of behavior. Generally their behavior is acceptable, but they aren’t operating on Level D all the time yet. What can I do about this?

Surprising as it might seem, having all students operate on Level D is not the goal for the teacher in this discipline system. Although the world would certainly be a better place if everyone chose to operate at Level D, it’s probably not realistic to expect that students will be able to reach that high level of conduct on a consistent basis. Rather, the teacher’s goal is to have all students operating at … >>>


I have some parents who don’t like that “D” behavior is better than “A.”

I have some parents who don’t like that “D” behavior is better behavior than “A” when it comes to talking about discipline.  My students get letter grades for conduct and a few parents have a difficult time with D being good in the classroom but not on the report card. Can you help me with this?

This is a common question and a natural assumption, yet the assumption that students get confused is very often not an accurate one. The proof would be to ask the students.

Much of our language–and much of what we do in life–depends on context. Here are some examples:

• When do we use “to” or “too” or “two”? It … >>>


Teaching Levels of Development

What are the most important things I need to understand before I teach the Levels of Development?

Keeping the four-part Discipline without Stress Teaching Model in mind, here are some critical understandings with regard to the Levels of Development:

• Levels A and B are always unacceptable. Choosing to act (either consciously or non-consciously) at these levels will result in the use of authority by the teacher.

• Don’t quibble with a student over determining whether a certain unacceptable action was at Level B or Level A. It doesn’t matter–both levels are unacceptable.

• Don’t get derailed trying to figure out WHY a student chose to do something that was unacceptable. Harsh as this may sound, … >>>