The Raise Responsibility System in College Textbooks

"Building Classroom Discipline" by C.M.Charles is perhaps the most widely used college text in courses preparing prospective teachers for necessary classroom skills, especially in the area of discipline. The Raise Responsibility System was included in the 8th edition. The following comment appears on pages 106-107:

"Marshall's Raise Responsibility System has major
strengths beyond those found in other systems of
discipline. It makes sense and rings true for teachers.
It focuses on developing responsibility, an enduring
quality that remains useful throughout life. It removes
the stress that students and teachers normally
experience in discipline. It is easy to teach, apply,
and live by. It is long-lasting because it leads to
changes in personality. Educators find these strengths
especially compelling, hence, the surge of interest in
Marshall's model."

In preparation for the 9th edition, Dr. Charles contacted me for any changes I would like to make. In my remarks clarifying the Raise Responsibility System, I included the following—appended to Dr. Charles' remarks:

Marshall notes two commonly raised questions and one
technical question that are appropriate at this point:

(1)  Although some teachers initially think that students
will get confused with D, B, C, A levels since many
schools use A, B, C, and D for grading, experience has shown that
even very young students understand the context of levels
of social development and are not confused. Context determines
meaning, such as when to use "to, "two," or "too."

(2) As the term "discipline" seems harsh to some, so
some people initially resist the vocabulary terms of
"anarchy" and "bullying." However, students have no
difficulty with these terms nor do parents when the
entire Raise Responsibility System is explained to them.

3) The technical question: On a rare occasion someone
will state that anarchy is the highest form of
government, not the lowest. Without realizing it, the
person is referring to "anarchism," not anarchy. Anarchy
means chaos, lack of order, and without rule (a = lack
of, archy = rule). Anarchism is a theory that all forms
of government interfere unjustly with individual liberty
and should be replaced by the voluntary association of
cooperative groups.

Marshall makes clear that the hierarchy does not teach
either anarchy or bullying—quite the contrary. The
hierarchy explains that when anarchy and chaos exist,
someone or some group will take control and make the
rules for all others.

He contends that this is how societies operated before
1776 when the American Declaration of Independence
articulated a new world view, viz., "We hold these truths
to be self-evident . . . . That to secure these rights,
governments are instituted among men, deriving their just
concept became operational and spread around the world
after the American Revolution and the creation of the
United States of America, societies were granted their
rights from the person who held power.

This is the concept behind level B. Once parents
understand that anarchy and bossing/bullying/bothering
levels are unacceptable, they become supporters and
particularly appreciate teaching the differences between
external and internal motivation, levels C and D,

Marshall used the following letter when he developed and
used the system as a classroom teacher:

Dear parent(s) or Guardian(s):

Our classroom houses a small society. Each student is a
citizen who acts in accordance with expected standards
of behavior.

With this in mind, rewards are not given for expected
behavior—just as society does not give rewards for
behaving properly. Also, irresponsible behavior is
seen as an opportunity for growth, rather than for

Our approach encourages students to exercise
self-discipline through reflection and self-evaluation.
Students learn to control their own behavior, rather
than always relying on the teacher for control.

We want our classroom to be encouraging and conducive
to learning at all times. In this way, young people
develop positive attitudes and behavioral skills that
are so necessary for successful lives.