January 2009
Vol 6 No 1

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Teachers.Net Gazette Vol.6 No.1 January 2009

Cover Story by Alfie Kohn
It’s Not What We Teach;
It’s What They Learn
"I taught a good lesson even though the students didn't learn it,” makes no more sense than "I had a big dinner even though I didn't eat anything.”

Harry & Rosemary Wong: Effective Teaching
The Sounds of Students
Learning and Performing

»Six Easy Resolutions for 2009Sue Gruber
»Learning the Value of DiversityLeah Davies
»Flash Nebula is in the house! Will standardized tests detect him?Todd R. Nelson
»Teaching is an art, not a science.Marvin Marshall
»The Busy Educator's Monthly FiveMarjan Glavac
»Dear Barbara - Advice for SubsBarbara Pressman
»5 Ways to Activate Your Natural Teacher CoachKioni Carter
»Global Travel GuruJosette Bonafino

»PRINTABLE 2009 Multilingual, Multinational Calendar Tim Newlin
»Thoughts on the Use of Failure as a Teaching Technique Bill Page
»Traits of a Good TeacherAlan Haskvitz
»January 2009 Writing PromptsJames Wayne
»Let's Get Started with SmartboardMarjan Glavac
»Using Photographs To Inspire Writing IIIHank Kellner
»Phonemic Awareness: Letting The Horse Pull The CartGrace Vyduna Haskins
»Reading Strategies: Teaching Students to VisualizeLisa Frase
»Teaching the Alphabet to Diverse LearnersHeidi Butkus
»The Metaphor Of Collaboration - What's missing from group work?Ambreen Ahmed
»A Taste of InspirationSteven Kushner
»Activities & Games for Foreign and First Language ClassesRebecca Klamert
»Four Years of High School Math and Science Should be a National PolicyStewart Brekke

»Apple Seeds: Inspiring QuotesBarb Stutesman
»Today Is... Daily CommemorationRon Victoria
»The Lighter Side of Teaching
»Some Rooms
»Printable Worksheets & Teaching Aids
»Lessons, Resources and Theme Activities: January 2009
»January Lesson Plans Especially for Preschool, Kindergarten & Early Primary
»Video Bytes: Dr. Martin Luther King, One Minute “I have a dream” speech by Daniel Stringer, Crystal Photography – Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, FDR Fireside Chat on the Banking Crisis – March 1933, President Elect Barack Obama Reassures Americans – Thanksgiving 2008, T-Netter ron nj aka “Man of Steel” plays Sleepwalk, Big Dog Robot
»Live on Teachers.Net: January 2009
»T-Net chefs share their favorite warm-up-winter recipes
»Newsdesk: Events & Opportunities for Teachers


The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Editor in Chief: Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Layout Editor: Mary Miehl

Cover Story by Alfie Kohn

Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong

Contributors this month: Alfie Kohn, Sue Gruber, Kioni Carter, Marvin Marshall, , Marjan Glavac, Todd R. Nelson, Leah Davies, Barbara Pressman, Tim Newlin, Bill Page, James Wayne, Hank Kellner, Josette Bonafino, Grace Vyduna Haskins, Barb Stutesman, Ron Victoria, Lisa Frase, Alan Haskvitz, Heidi Butkus, Ambreen Ahmed, Steven Kushner, Rebecca Klamert, Stewart Brekke, Artie Knapp, and YENDOR.

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Marvin Marshall

Promoting Discipline & Learning
Archive | Biography | Resources | Discussion

Teaching is an art, not a science.

There are many things in life that everyone knows exist but that cannot be quantified. Love and friendship are but two simple examples.
by Dr. Marvin Marshall
Regular contributor to the Gazette
January 1, 2009

  • "Bureaucratic solutions to problems of practice will always fail because effective teaching is not routine, students are not passive, and questions of practice are not simple, predictable, or standardized." —Linda Darling-Hammond from her award winning book, The Right to Learn
  • W. Edwards Deming, the guru of quality, said, "What is most important cannot be measured. The variables are too great."

Educational theorists have attempted to bring the educational profession to the same status as professionals in the physical and biological sciences. This is exemplified by using the same criteria for teaching as is used in the physical sciences. For example, in order for a new project to be federally funded, a pre and post or an experimental and control approach is required.

As you read the following recent communication to me, reflect on how it would fit into the "scientific" mode:

Greetings from Benchmark School in Phoenix!

I have been using your program for over 5 years now and am still amazed at how wonderful it is. This year I was given the tough class—the class that no teacher has ever been able to control.

It was a tough go at first. This particular group of children has had control of their teachers for years. I am happy to say that we are now in control. My teaching partner (not familiar with your program) thought that we were putting in so much effort and time at the start of the year to teach procedures and the levels, but the students were still terrible. I promised her that if she stuck with it and stayed consistent that they would come around, and I am proud to say they have.

My partner is amazed at how we spend so much time teaching now and not disciplining. We have also heard from parents of students who always made good choices that this year was a great year because the other kids don’t do what they have always have done.

Their children love coming to school because I am not punishing the entire class for the poor choices of the other students. I hold each person accountable for his/her own behavior.

Another thing I wanted to share with you is how the parents reacted at conferences. Many of the parents shared that their child was now acting more responsibly at home—especially getting home assignments done without fights.

I hear this every year and I believe that because the students are being guided to be more responsible citizens at school that they are carrying it into their lives at home.

Thank you again,
Wendy Brady, Benchmark School, Phoenix, AZ

How do you measure or quantify success such as this?

Here is another example using the Discipline Without Stress Teaching Model.

Part I

--How do you quantify the implementation of procedures?

Part II

--How do you quantify communicating to students in positive, rather than in negative, terms?

--How do you quantify the constant use of choice to reduce coercion and increase desire to both behave responsibly and reduce apathy in learning?

--How do you quantify the constant use of reflection to motivate and prompt behavior change?

Part III

--How do you quantify the constant reference to the Levels of Social Development and implantation of the significant points?

--How do you quantify Checking for Understanding?

--How do you quantify Guided Choices?

Part IV

--How do you quantify using the hierarchy to promote effort in learning?

Bill Page, a contributor to the Gazette, has a set of DVD’s that could substitute for any college course designed to prepare prospective teachers for the classroom, K-12. If you were to view them (well worth the small investment) and ask yourself how can this artistry of teaching be quantified, you would be hard pressed to create a solution.

Hopefully, the new United States 111th Congress and the new U.S. President’s administration will lead us down a path that will bring much needed change. The first step in this direction would be to recognize the art of teaching by using an appropriate yardstick.

Copyright © 2009 Marvin Marshall.

Additional information is available 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

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