chat center

Latest Posts Full Chatboard Submit Post

Current Issue Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 3 Number 5

Harry & Rosemary Wong urge, "If you are a teacher applying for a job, it is essential that you ask the question at the interview: Does this district have a new teacher induction program? "...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong $50,000 to Replace Each Teacher
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall Using Breath Management for Better Listening And Voice Preservation
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon It's All About Transfer!
Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber Eight Winning Ways to Wrap Up the Year
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno A Natural Ham
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman Virtual K-12 Schools
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover The Life of a Teacher
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac Theme Sites
Part 2
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall A Special Request & Writing Help for ESL Students
Visual Impairments by Dave Melanson Sight Impaired Child Benefiting From Change in Modern Schools
Index of Articles
Index of Regular Features
Index of Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

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, who is certified by the William Glasser Institute, presents for Phi Delta Kappa International, for several leading seminar companies, and for schools and school districts. His presentation schedule is on the calendar of his 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.

The book can be purchased from the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National School Boards Association, Phi Delta Kappa, at local bookstores, or from his website

Chapter 1, REDUCING STRESS, shows how to reduce stress and increase effectiveness in influencing others. The chapter concludes with an exercise which teaches that life is more successful and has greater satisfaction when attention is given to the positive, when the option of choice is recognized, and when reflection is practiced.

Chapter 2, MOTIVATING, discusses how people attempt to change others and explains the differences between external and internal motivation. External motivators of telling, rewarding, and punishing (and how the latter two are different sides of the same motivational coin) are explored. The chapter concludes with a discussion of mindsets - those perceptions which drive motivation.

Chapter 3, RAISING RESPONSIBILITY, describes The Raise Responsibility System. The simple-to-implement program raises responsibility and can be used in any pre-kindergarten to 12th grade classroom and is currently used in rural schools in Texas to urban schools in New York City and in small child care centers to large high schools. The strategy also can be used in any home or youth setting. The approach is noncoercive and neither rewards nor punishments are used. The approach employs internal motivation so that young people develop a desire to want to behave responsibly. A skill is taught which improves relationships between any two people - parent and child, teacher and student, employer and employee, husband and wife. If the use of authority becomes necessary, it is used without being punitive. Imposed consequences are not used because they engender avoidance, resistance, victimhood thinking, and alienated feelings - sometimes on the part of both the adult and young person. However, if a consequence is appropriate, it is elicited, thereby ensuring ownership and responsibility by the young person, where it belongs.

Chapter 4, PROMOTING LEARNING, begins with a discussion of learning climate. Suggestions are given for improving relationships between the teacher and the class as a whole, among students themselves, and between a teacher and an individual student. Strategies are shared which promote empathy and respect, quality learning, and reduce the unhealthy striving for perfection. The chapter concludes with specific strategies for anger and impulse management, resolving conflicts, and dealing with difficult students.

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.

To read about the failings of punishments and rewards, go to

Promoting Learning
by Dr. Marvin Marshall
Using Breath Management for Better Listening and Voice Preservation

When breathing is active, listening and speaking are improved.

Listening and learning are most effective when breathing is active--rather than passive.

Breathing is ordinarily a passive and unconscious act. However, breathing can be made a conscious activity and thereby energize the body for more effective learning and listening alertness.

Once active breathing is learned and practiced, we find ourselves in possession of an extraordinarily powerful technique, which includes:

  1. lowering blood pressure,
  2. calming the emotions,
  3. pumping the spinal fluid,
  4. helping the body realign itself,
  5. calming and controlling the thought process,
  6. managing stress, and
  7. enriching the sound of the voice.

Conscious Breathing

To begin teaching your body conscious breathing, imagine that someone hands you an extraordinary gift; you GASP in surprise and delight. Notice your mouth opens as you gasp. Now, slowly and deeply gasp. Fill your back and rib cage. Both are lifted and expanded in the act of gasping. Take a moment to fully appreciate what your upper body feels like when it is full of air. Now let the air out slowly. When your lungs are empty, take a moment to fully appreciate what your body feels like when it feels empty of air. Repeat this process until "full" and "empty" feel equally familiar.

As you become more and more familiar with feeling "full," you will notice the following:

  1. Your peripheral vision increases.
  2. Your hearing becomes more acute.
  3. Your emotions begin to calm down.
  4. You begin to listen more actively.

Once you have become comfortable with the feeling of your body in a "full of air" position, you are ready to practice.

Practicing Conscious Breathing

First, without inhaling, elevate your sternum--the breastbone, the center of the chest. This will automatically raise the rib cage and provide a more efficient breathing position.

If you find that lifting your sternum without inhaling is difficult, lift both arms above your head, pointing to the ceiling. Then, careful to leave the chest where the high arms put it, lower your arms. You will find your chest much higher than it was originally, your ribs expanded farther than they were originally, and you will be conscious of your back moving. This high chest, rib expanded, shoulders-relaxed position is the one you want to maintain.

Just keeping the sternum up puts you in a more relaxed, alert, in-control physiological position. You will find yourself listening, thinking, and speaking more clearly because the body is being used more efficiently. More oxygen is reaching the brain.

The typical breathing cycle is to inhale ("full"), exhale ("empty"), pause, pause, pause. We spend a great deal of time with a minimum amount of air in our lungs--or on "empty."

Practice slowly gasping (through your mouth) for 4 slow counts. Hold "full" for 4 counts. Slowly exhale for 4 counts. Hold "empty" for 4 counts. Repeat this process for 3 minutes. You have now learned a 3-minute "Stress Buster"!

Next, practice holding "full" for longer and longer periods of time. Begin with 5 seconds. Increase to 10 seconds. Continue increasing the amount of time you can stay "full" until you have reached 30 seconds.

Listen to a conversation, a radio program, or newscast while you practice listening on "full." Whenever your body becomes uncomfortable with the "full" feeling, exhale to "empty" for a moment, and then inhale back to "full."

By practicing conscious breathing and listening on "full," you will listen more actively. increase the flow of oxygen to your brain, and lower your body's stress. In addition, you will receive, store, and retrieve information more efficiently.

Teaching Your Students

INSPIRATION--filling and holding air in the body--can dramatically increase their ability to listen and learn.

The following is a simple formula to teach your students to increase their active listening skills. (Notice that this is not the 3-minute "stress buster" count.)

Once practiced, START EACH NEW ACTIVITY with the procedure.

Raise your sternum.
Inhale for 4 counts.
Stay "full" for 8 counts.
Exhale for 2 counts.

Sternum up.
In for 4.
Hold for 8.
Out for 2.

Sternum up.

Sternum up.

Saving and Improving a Teacher's Voice

Teachers rely mostly on the voice to communicate. Overuse of the voice is a common problem for classroom teachers.

Using the active breathing approach of gasping and SPEAKING ON FULL reduces strain on the voice while simultaneously making the voice more resonant.

As a player of the great highland bagpipes, I have learned that to keep the skirl of the pipes constant and consistent, the bag must be full at all times. The fuller the bag, the easier the play! So it is with the human voice. The fuller the lungs, the less strain on the vocal chords.

When gasping, the larynx automatically lowers--thereby releasing tension in the throat. In addition, speaking on "full" holds the vocal chords tight, thereby reducing stress on them when vocalizing.

The author is indebted to William Hanrahan of Vocal Integration Concepts for his expertise in this area:

To read about the failings of punishments and rewards, go to

Subscribe to the free monthly newsletter, PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY, at

Enter e-mail address and click on "Subscribe."

Past Gazette Articles by Dr. Marshall:

Dr. Marshall's website:
Email Dr. Marshall:
© Dr. Marvin Marshall, 2002.