April 2009
Vol 6 No 4

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.4 April 2009

Cover Story by Alfie Kohn
When “21st-Century Schooling” Just Isn’t Good Enough: A Modest Proposal
Are we serious about educating students for the global competitive economy of the future?

Earth Day Special Article:
GE Project Plant-A-Bulb
Give the planet the gift of flowers for Earth Day....

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
The Tools for Success

»Actively Involve Every Reader—Ten Easy Ideas! Sue Gruber
»Motivating Children Leah Davies
»Multiple Working Hypotheses Todd R. Nelson
»Eliciting vs. Punishments Marvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly Five Marjan Glavac
»Tattle Tales and Classroom Helpers Barbara Pressman
»Tips for Travel to France or Italy with Students Josette Bonafino
»Too Much Parent Involvement? Can It Be? Dorothy Rich
»Return to Sender & The Neon Necklace Rick Morris
»Be Your Own Mentor: Reflect Hal Portner

»Getting Your Students' Work Published Alan Haskvitz
»At Risk Students: Victims of Miseducation and Failure Bill Page
»Teachers – Healing Broken Lives Graysen Walles
»Get Smart! Doodle! Tim Newlin
»A Dozen Ways to Build a Caring Classroom Community Susan Fitzell
»April 2009 Writing Prompts James Wayne
»Using Photographs To Inspire Writing VI Hank Kellner
»Quality in School Systems Panamalai R. Guruprasad
»Problems With 9th Grade Euclidian Geometry Stewart E. Brekke
»Multisensory/Kinesthetic Alphabet ActivitiesJeanine Horner

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring Quotes Barb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily Commemoration Ron Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Teacher Blogs Showcase
»Guided Reading in Kindergarten (printable)
»Printables - Happy Earth Day, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands, Portable Word Wall, Earth Day Every Day Award, Bringing Choices to Light, and April - May Calendar
»Photo Tour: 3rd Grade Classroom, Red Creek, NY
»Lessons, Activities, Theme ideas: Earth Day, Mother’s Day, Paul Revere, Spring, Easter, more!
»Featured Lesson: Outdoor Activities/Nature
»Meet Bill Martin Jr. and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Creative Quotes from Shakespeare, Massive Ant Colony Uncovered! AMAZING science!, Tim Hawkins - Cletus Take the Reel, Lovefield, and Dolphin Bubbles: An Amazing Behavior
»Live on Teachers.Net: April 2009
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers
»Wisdom for the pain? Why Did You Do It? Why Pursue National Board Certification?


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Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
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Cover Story by Alfie Kohn

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Alfie Kohn, Graysen Walles, Hal Portner, Sue Gruber, Leah Davies, Todd R. Nelson, Marvin Marshall, Marjan Glavac, Barbara Pressman, Josette Bonafino, Rick Morris, Bill Page, Tim Newlin, Susan Fitzell, Alan Haskvitz, James Wayne, Hank Kellner, Dorothy Rich, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Stewart E. Brekke, Panamalai R. Guruprasad, Jeanine Horner, Marie Smith, Carol Goodrow, Jennifer Goldstein, and YENDOR.

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Marvin Marshall

Promoting Discipline & Learning
Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

Eliciting vs. Punishments

Eliciting a consequence is not imposing a punishment.
by Dr. Marvin Marshall
Regular contributor to the Gazette
April 1, 2009

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 :

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. Your points are things that I struggled with when I began implementing Discipline without Stress (DWS) six years ago.

    Let me see if I can help you.

    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.

  2. 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!

More on the approach can be viewed at

» More Gazette articles...

About Marvin Marshall...

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.

Dr. Marshall gives permission to download and reproduce anything from his websites as long as is included. Visit his teaching model at

He offers the following resources to learn and support his approach: 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." 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. is used to post questions, share ideas, and give assistance. has a compilation of previously asked and posted answers categorized from the above Yahoo site. 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. This web log (blog) contains short posts to help implement the totally noncoercive - but not permissive - approach.

NEW! Discipline Without Stress, Inc.- a nonprofit public charitable devoted to teaching the Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model, now being offered to low economic schools in the U.S.A.

Free books at, free In-House Staff Development at and, depending upon location, free personal presentations by Marv Marshall. For more information:

The requirements for application can be found at

Marvin Marshall Columns on Teachers.Net...
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