chat center

Latest Posts Full Chatboard Submit Post

Current Issue Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 4 Number 5

Too many people in the general public continue to think that teaching is a job that anyone can do. Wrong! Teaching is a special calling. Teaching is a mission.
Overworked and Under- appreciated - A Tribute to Teachers...
Applying for a Teaching Job in a Tight Market, Part 1 Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Listening Lessons -- How to Help Kids Learn and Comprehend Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
Streamlining the Writing Block 4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Extreme Reading! Postcard from Planet Esme - News from the world of children's books by Esmé Codell
Springtime Learning Clubs---Simple Solutions to Spring Fever! Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber
SGID: Teachers Learn From Student Feedback -- Small Group Instructional Diagnosis Leads to Increased Learning Teachers As Learners by Hal Portner
There's A Book Inside of You! - You Reflect On Your Idea eBook Authoring by Glenn F. Dietzel
Hassles on the School Bus Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
It's That Time Again, Ginny's List of Ten The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
I Retired From 'Teaching' Back in 2009 and Now I'm Back! - Reporting from the future (Part 2) Ed-Tech Talk by Dr. Rob Reilly
Language Arts Sites Part 1 The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
May Articles
May Regular Features
May 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 Visit Marvin Marshall's Homepage to read more.

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

Promoting Learning...
by Dr. Marvin Marshall
Listening Lessons

How to Help Kids Learn and Comprehend

Listening is a largely untaught skill that applies to every subject in school and is of paramount importance in good relationships.

I recently spoke to 65 middle level students in a major urban area. The students were using a section of my book, "Discipline without Stress, Punishments, or Rewards," as a source for their conflict resolution discussions. I was there by their invitation and was treated as a celebrity. Almost all wanted my signature. Nevertheless, during my presentation, I felt it necessary to use an attention management approach five times with two variations just to bring their attention back after I made a point or told a story to emphasize a point.

The principal commented afterwards that poor listening skills are what the teachers face on a daily basis.

For a number of reasons, this generation of students needs to be taught active listening skills. Listening with attention--let alone reflection--is mechanical and uncomfortable for many of them. It's like learning how to retype using both hands.

Here are some suggestions for increasing students' attention spans and listening skills.

Teach the five "W's" and the "H." Anything they hear--whether it's a song on the radio or a lecture from a teacher--has a who, what, where, why, when, and a how.

After listening to the five W's" and the "H," students next focus on details. It's not just a bike; it's green with a hard seat, thin tires, shiny spokes, and low handlebars.

After a writing assignment using these factors, have students share what they have written. The listeners repeat what they have heard.

Have students work in small groups using the old rumor clinic approach. Here is how it works. One person is selected to leave the group to return later as the final reporter. One person starts by very quietly whispering a descriptive message to the next person. This process of whispering the message continues until the last person repeats it to the final listener--the person who was in a different location during the sharing process. This student then repeats what was just shared with her/him to the entire group. Students will readily get the point of how important attentive listening is for accurate communications and understanding.

Have students paraphrase to a learning buddy what you have just taught. Then have the learning buddy repeat it.

In small groups, have students practice listening for what is the same and what is different, for points with which they agree and for points in which they disagree. Have them share their thoughts.

Create a series of cards containing what you want students to learn. Note: Students can make the cards from the lessons taught. Students work in groups of four. The first student picks a card. The card is handed to the second student who makes a question from the contents on the card. The third student answers the question. The fourth student restates the question and paraphrases what the previous student said. The cards rotate so that the second person then picks a card, and the process continues.

Remember to use unobtrusive approaches. For example, a teacher can oftentimes tell if students are listening by watching their eyes. If the eyes remain fixed with no blinking or the student is not looking at the teacher or taking notes, the student is vacationing someplace else. Move near the student's desk, call on a student next to her/him, or use the student's name in a sentence.

Although in some subcultures where looking down or away when an authority figure is speaking is the norm, teach that in American culture looking directly at the person shows respect and attention. Looking directly at the person speaking also makes focusing on listening so much easier.

Not much instructional time needs to be invested in listening activities. Short activities practiced regularly are the most effective approach to have students learn one of the most important skills in school and life.

Ideas for implementing the discipline system that promotes both responsibility and learning using concepts of Stephen Covey (proaction), William Glasser (noncoercion), W. Edwards Deming (collaboration and empowerment) and Abraham Maslow (hierarchy and autonomy) is described at

Subscribe to the free monthly newsletter, PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY, at
Enter e-mail address and click on "Subscribe."

For a printable version of this article click here.

Dr. Marshall's website:
Email Dr. Marshall:
© Dr. Marvin Marshall, 2003.

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

Gazette Articles by Dr. Marshall:

Browse through the latest posts from the Classroom Discipline Chatboard...