by Dr. Marvin Marshall
Using a Discipline Approach to Promote Learning
Read how a simple discipline system is used to tap into internal motivation to promote learning.
The following is a letter sent from a teacher to another teacher who inquired about using the Raise Responsibility System. The approach promotes responsible behavior by using INTERNAL motivation.
The writer sent a copy of the letter to me and has given me permission to reproduce and share it.
The simple-to-implement discipline system that promotes both responsibility and learning can be found at http://www.marvinmarshall.com/aquickstart.htm.
Just last year, I too, found Marvin Marshall's Discipline without Stress® Punishments or Rewards book. My teaching partner and I had been looking for YEARS for a concrete approach to teaching and discipline based on INTERNAL motivation but never ever thought we could really find such a thing. But this is it! We love it! It's a very powerful way to teach and work with people, regardless of their age--even with pre-schoolers.
Because my partner and I were already thinking along the lines of Dr. Marshall's philosophy and had done away with "external motivators" in our classroom (rewards, praise, punishment, competition, etc.), we were able immediately to implement Dr. Marshall's approach and his Raise Responsibility System to discipline.
To effectively use his approach, it is important to understand how people are truly motivated. (This is what chapter two of his book discusses.) We had already read a lot of research about this topic and so were in the right frame of mind to start using his hierarchy of social development in our classroom immediately.
If this is all new to you, you may want to first read chapters 1-3 of the book. We had already read the book, Why We Do What We Do, by Deci and Flaste that describes the research findings relating to human motivation. We had also done a lot of thinking about what we had learned.
Motivation research clearly shows that many commonly used techniques, such as rewarding students (to behave, or work quietly, or read, etc.) or imposing consequences (when they have done something inappropriate), are simply counterproductive when it comes to truly motivating them. You can use such techniques to make short-term changes in someone's conduct, but you can never achieve long-lasting results in this way. True change must come from INSIDE an individual, and therefore a teacher must understand how to create an environment in the classroom in which children WANT to learn, WANT to behave appropriately, and WANT to achieve.
The system is proactive in that you teach about responsibility at the outset BEFORE you have discipline problems. This year, we started on the second day of school to introduce the hierarchy of social development. Last year, we began in February just after we had finished reading Marshall's book. You can start whenever you are ready.
We taught the hierarchy just as it is outlined in chapter three of Marshall's book. We had the students draw pictures illustrating each level of the hierarchy and had them come up with examples of what conduct would look like at each of the four levels. We had a number of discussions about the levels. It's very important that THEY come up with examples themselves after you have given some. You can tell from their examples whether or not they truly understand the four levels. We found that all our students picked up these concepts quite easily.
We don't think of this approach as "just a discipline plan." We think of it as a way to inspire young people to be the best possible people that they can be. The approach lends itself so well to helping them see very clearly how they can make changes in their conduct, their thinking, their choices, and their actions.
So although we use the Raise Responsibility System to deal with discipline problems when they arise, we also use it to show the students how they can become authentically powerful individuals who do the right or appropriate thing simply because it is the right or appropriate thing to do.
It is amazing to see how young people challenge themselves to operate at the higher levels when they understand what those levels are all about. As I said before, we love this approach!
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