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Current Issue Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 1 Number 10

Harry and Rosemary Wong are widely regarded as the most reknowned voices in teacher effectiveness. In this month's cover story, the Wongs explore the most integral factors in teacher effectiveness.
Effective Teaching by Harry Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
Alfie Kohn Article
Jan Fisher Column
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
The Child in the Back
Integrative Curriculum in a Standards-Based World
Math Principles and Standards
What's With This E-Book Stuff?
Laughing All the Way
4 Blocks Framework Inspires
4 Blocks So. Cal. Gathering
Fundraising Award
Web News & Events
Letters to the Editor
Archives: End of Homework
New in the Lesson Bank
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Humor from the Classroom
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
Gazette Back Issues
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About Marvin Marshall...
Marvin Marshall is a professional speaker and seminar leader who presents his program, "Discipline without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards - Raise Responsibility and Promote Learning," to schools across the world.

His program was developed upon his returning to full-time teaching after 24 years of counseling, supervision, and administration. He has taught primary and upper elementary grades and has been an elementary school principal. He has taught all middle grades and has been a middle school counselor and assistant principal. He has taught all high school grades and has been a high school counselor, assistant principal of supervision and control, assistant principal of curriculum and instruction, and high school principal. He has also served as a district director of education.

Dr. Marshall is certified by the William Glasser Institute and annually presents at their International Quality Schools Consortium. He presents for Phi Delta Kappa and several leading seminar companies and at character education and other national conferences, including the National Staff Development Council (NSCD) and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). His presentation schedule is on the calendar of this website .

In his book Discipline without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards - How Teachers and Parents Promote Responsibility & Learning, he clearly and concisely demonstrates how the external approaches of relying on rules, imposing consequences, rewarding students for appropriate behavior, and punishing students to make them obey are all counterproductive.

Advance notification and autographed copies of his book can be made by contacting

Questions submitted to Kathleen Carpenter at will be considered by Marv Marshall for responses in future monthly columns in the Teachers.Net Gazette.

Click to visit Marvin Marshall's Homepage.

Promoting Learning
by Dr. Marvin Marshall

Home Assignments

Home assignments are an extension of instruction. It is related to teaching and learning, not to discipline in the sense of classroom disruptions or social irresponsibility.


Home assignments provide opportunities to practice and improve skills or gain further knowledge or understanding. Home assignments also teach lessons that cannot be measured, such as self-discipline, perseverance, and time management. Home assignments teach how to begin a task, complete it, and be responsible for the outcome.


Especially at the elementary grades, home assignments need to be tempered with considerations for other demands on young people's time. Home assignments have modest influence on achievement in the early grades. When the amount an number of assignments becomes overwhelming, negative attitudes about school and learning result. Assignments should be short, interesting and easy to complete by students. Leave the more demanding work for the classroom.

More than 100 studies have shown that it is not until middle school that home assignments begins to pay off.


In order to make home assignments more attractive, offer the choice of two assignments. Be sure students understand the purpose of the assignment. Periodically, have a short discussion of the benefits. Ask for input from students. Explain what you believe students will learn or accomplish from an assignment, and then ask for suggestions.

Assignment should be focused. For example, rather than asking students to write about an open-ended theme from a novel that the class is reading, ask them to pick one character and explain why that character behaved in a particular way.


Assigning a chapter to read before it is discussed is almost useless. The practice works only if the teacher does some pre-teaching by providing a cognitive map-an organizing scheme or scaffold. A scaffold is a frame built before constructing something. Building a scaffold for students makes it easier for them to make sense of what is being read. Give them clues about the chapter. Then, when they are motivated enough to read, they will enjoy the satisfaction of discovery.

Another approach is to teach students to preview or "multipass" by passing through the chapter looking for organizers before reading it. This scanning includes headlines, subheadings, bold print and italics, chapter summary, pictures and graphs, objectives, chapter questions, and vocabulary words that are listed.


Since we learn best by teaching, have students become teachers. For example, before the teacher checks any essay, at least two other people should check it. When final papers are submitted, the will be of higher quality and more enjoyable to read. Also, when papers are submitted, refrain from correcting them. Instead, make a comment such as, "You have a spelling error in this paragraph." "Check for noun-verb agreement in this sentence." Using abbreviations will save even more time. This "grappling" encourages self-correction and self-evaluation. Save time with arithmetic by selecting only five problems to correct, rather than checking all answers. The problems may be the last five or any five problems. When students submit their papers, correct only these pre-selected problems. Looking at only these will give enough indication of whether or not more time needs to be invested in the lesson or with selected students.

Past Gazette Articles by Dr. Marshall:

Dr. Marshall's website:
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