Discipline without Stress has an email group where people can post questions. At least one of the over 1700 participants will respond.
The following were recently posted on my Discipline without Stress mailring :
I am not sure how eliciting consequences has a place in an approach that is moving away from reward and punishment. Getting kids to choose their punishments=consequences still promotes a thinking of "This is what happens when I do...." Because a behavior looks like it is internally motivated, the kid is choosing a consequence but is being controlled, being compelled by the system to choose. I don't see any healthy normal person choosing to punish himself. So I see the approach bringing the punishments through the back door because kids are encouraged to participate in choosing consequences.
My second point: A lot of inappropriate behavior may be due to poor coping skills or unmet needs. Where is the focus on the child's concerns, not only his wants or solutions?
Joy Widmann, Crosscreek Charter School, posted the following as a response:
Without eliciting, DWS just isn't as effective. The students learn they have choices; it makes them more reflective, that they can handle or figure out problems, and that I respect their ideas (even though I don't always agree with them). Respecting your students is the fastest way to get them to respect you.
DWS isn't against consequences. A consequence is different from a punishment. A punishment is something that is imposed by a second or third party. It usually has no connection to the behavior, and frequently belittles or shames the offender. It is coercive in nature and is designed to make the person feel bad or lose value in themselves. The idea behind punishment is to make the person "pay" for their mistakes, regret what they did, and change. Punishment usually does not help the person figure out how to change; it may make them want to but doesn't give them any tools for making the change. Punishment has very little instructive value, and I want my students to get as much instruction in as many arenas as possible.
When we elicit a consequence, we are asking the student to take a critical stance and look at their behavior from another point of view. It also allows them to weigh their options. This gets to conformity. Conformity to social norms is what keeps our society going. Let's face it; the thought of getting a speeding ticket keeps my eye on the speedometer in a local town known for its many speed traps.
The student may select consequences that are harsher than you would select. This puts you in the position to build a relationship with the student. Just this week I told a student whose choices for herself included going to the principal, "Now, do you think this is a situation the principal needs to become involved in? Can you think of different ways you could solve this on your own?" We discussed the different things she had tried, along with other options, and decided that going to the principal was a good idea after all. She now knows I will listen to her and help her learn how to control herself, rather than being a person to fear or hate.
I find that positive relationships with children in behavior situations help them be more open in academic situations. I'm not saying I'm their friend; that would be inappropriate. I am, however, a person they can trust, even if they make a mistake, whether it is academic or social.
As far as the poor coping skills, eliciting helps when nothing else will. For example, I had an explosive student. Every teacher he had from preschool on couldn't get through a day without this boy's melting down in an angry, violent tantrum. I had a private talk with him about the situation. He told me he didn't feel he had control over himself and felt embarrassed about the outbursts later, which made him nervous, and sparked new outbursts. I asked him what could I do to help him so he could learn to calm down when he felt this way. We worked out a plan for what to do when he felt this coming on that could help him from escalating, what he could do if it was too late, and what he could do afterward. We only had 2 incidents the entire year after that. One was soon afterward this was new to him; the other occurred the day before his mom remarried and he transferred to another state. It was his best year ever, and I have the letters from mom to prove it. It is one of the things I'm most proud of, and it was the first year I implemented DWS.
I've used this with very impulsive students with ADHD, with students who have varying degrees of autism, and students who are going through trauma (parents in the line of fire in Afghanistan and Iraq, parents who are facing life threatening illness, and parents who are in the middle of a messy divorce).
Our school has seen a tremendous difference since changing to eliciting. Our referrals are way down (almost nonexistent). My principal is amazed. I can't say enough about eliciting, except it is worth the time and effort to change your frame of mind and begin practicing it!
His approach is the only system that is proactive, totally noncoercive, and does not use external manipulatives or threats. He INDUCES students to WANT to act responsibly and WANT to put forth effort to learn.
His book, "Discipline without Stress® Punishments or Rewards - How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning" is used in schools, universities, and homes around the world. The book clearly and concisely demonstrates how external approaches of relying on rules, imposing consequences, rewarding students for appropriate behavior, and punishing students to make them obey are all counterproductive. His approach reduces stress and is more effective than traditional approaches that focus on obedience because obedience does not create desire.
A prime reason that the approach is the fastest growing discipline and learning system in the country and is taught in so many universities is that it teaches students to understand differences between internal and external motivation. A second reason is that the focus is on promoting responsibility; obedience then follows as a natural by-product. A third reason is that the system separates the deed from the doer, the act from the actor, a good kid from irresponsible behavior, thereby eliminating the natural tendency for a student to self-defend.
He offers the following resources to learn and support his approach:
http://www.marvinmarshall.com This is the foundational site that links to the teaching model, shares how a school can conduct its own in-house staff development, and contains free information for implementation. For a quick understanding of his approach, link to "THE HIERARCHY" and "IMPULSE MANAGEMENT."
http://www.disciplinewithoutstress.com This is the website for the best-selling book on discipline and learning. Three sections of the book are online: Classroom Meetings, Collaboration for Quality Learning, and Reducing Perfectionism.
http://www.AboutDiscipline.com explains reasons that external approaches - such as rewarding appropriate behavior, telling students what to do, and punishing them if they don’t - are not used to promote responsible behavior.