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Current Issue Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 3 Number 11

A new museum dedicated to exploring the role of visual art in children's literature from around the world will open in Amherst, Massachusetts in November 2002...
A Class Size of 500 Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Suggestions For Motivation Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
Stress Relief for Teachers Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber
Benefits of Homework Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Dealing with the Back Stabbers and Happy Haters The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
Sites For Grades 4 to 8 The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Thinking About Your Curriculum 4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
November Postcard from Planet Esme - News from the world of children's books by Esmé Codell
November Articles
November Regular Features
November 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.

Chapter 5, TEACHING, describes left and right brain hemisphericity, multiple intelligences, modalities of learning, emotions, styles, lesson planning, levels of intellect, instructional questions, group questioning strategy, choosing key words to frame questions, imaging, stories, mindsets, metacognition, the senses, suggestions for aiding recall and memory, laser learning, and three seminal shifts. A separate section is devoted to classroom management and another to homework.

Chapter 6, PARENTING, includes suggestions for practicing positivity, offering choices, encouraging reflection, using effective questions, listening to learn, limiting lecturing and telling, checking assumptions, focusing on the important, asking for assistance, recognizing implicit messages, fostering responsibility, exhibiting personal responsibility, recognizing desired behaviors, maintaining standards, using authority without being punitive, letting the youngster lead, teaching procedures to deal with impulses, intervening in sibling squabbles, being aware of sex differences, using acknowledgments more than praise, honoring homework, working smarter rather than harder, nurturing your child's nature, and reaping the joy of parenthood.

The Epilogue argues that business is a poor model for learning. Using a performance model of accountability for young people's learning is a false equation. It is one of those practices which has been described by the comic strip character Dagwood Bumpstead, who said, "You know, that makes a lot of sense if you don't think about it."

Click to visit Marvin Marshall's Homepage.

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

Promoting Learning...
by Dr. Marvin Marshall
Suggestions For Motivation

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." But we can speed up the process.

  1. Create curiosity
    Curiosity is perhaps the greatest of all motivators. Here is the difference between American and Japanese styles of teaching: In Japanese schools, students are immediately introduced to a problem or challenge. They grapple with it. Curiosity is naturally engendered. By contrast, in American schools the main idea(s) are presented, the solution is taught, and then students practice. Where is the curiosity engendered using this approach?
  2. Teach students to ask themselves questions
    Encourage students to ask themselves questions. The questioning process starts the thinking process. When students begin to ask themselves "Why?" and "How?" questions, both alertness and interest increase. There are only three things we are more likely to answer than a question--the telephone, the doorbell, and e-mail.
  3. Create desire
    Students are constantly asking themselves, "What's in it for me?" Since they're tuned to that radio station, WII-FM, spend a little time at the beginning to talk about what the lesson has in it for them--long and/or short range. Consider asking why the lesson would be worthwhile, how students may benefit from it, and how they can make use of it.
  4. Start by asking these questions of yourself. Stuck? Put it on the table for students to grapple with. You will be amazed at (1) how resourceful they will be and (2) how it helps them buy into the lesson.

  5. Structure experiences to apply to life outside of school
    Theory is important, but interest will increase the more you tie it into practice by showing how the learning makes life easier and better. Share how the content will help students make better decisions, solve more problems, get along better with others, and make them more effective.
  6. Have a poster and re-emphasize the following wisdom: "Wise people think long-term, not just for today."

  7. Develop a sense of personal responsibility
    Remember the fundamental principle of motivation: consciously or nonconsciously people motivate themselves.

Each individual is responsible for learning, but it is the teacher's responsibility to create the best possible climate in which that learning can take place. An effective way to do this is to give students an opportunity at the beginning of the class to indicate:

  • What expectations they have,
  • What outcomes they expect, and
  • What they are willing to do to achieve those results.
  1. Use acknowledgment and recognition
    Acknowledgment/recognition/validation simply affirm. "I see you did your homework" fosters reflection and feelings of self-competence.

Also, consider repeating a comment you have heard or that someone has told you. "Evelyn made an interesting comment, one that applies to what we've been exploring. I think it bears repeating."

  • What has been accomplished by employing this simple technique?
  • You gave recognition.
  • You not only encouraged Evelyn but you encouraged others
  • to become more involved.
  • You demonstrated that you are open to feedback and
  • students' comments can contribute to their own learning.
  1. Encourage
    One of the most effective techniques is to let the student know that you believe s/he can accomplish the task. A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than a whole lot of praise after a success.
  2. Emphasize that learning is a process and that no one can learn something and be perfect at the same time. Doing something one way and not being successful is another thing learned; don't consider it failure.

  3. Use collaboration
    Competition improves performance, not learning. Yes, some students will practice for hours spurred on by the competitive spirit--be it in music, athletics, or performing arts. But these students are motivated to compete.
  4. And competition can be fun for short periods, but competing with others is devastating for the youngster who never finds himself/herself in the winner's circle. Rather than compete, the student drops out by giving up.

    Every time a teacher asks a question of a group, students are competing for the teacher's attention--and usually only one student wins. A better approach is to establish learning buddies. Even a very shy student will share with one other person. So, instead of asking a question, pose the question. Asking implies a correct answer, whereas posing invites thinking. Have students discuss the answer with each other. Using this approach, every student participates.

  5. Get yourself excited
    You shouldn't expect others to get excited about what you are teaching if you are not excited about it yourself. Show your enthusiasm for the lesson. When lecturing, use just a little more enthusiasm than when you are conversing, facilitating, or reviewing.
  6. Intensify interpersonal relationships
    Connecting with your students on a one-on-one basis is extremely valuable, but helping them connect with one another on a one-on-one basis can be even more valuable.
  7. Give students an opportunity to socialize for short periods before learning activities start. Establishing relationships are extremely important to young people.

  8. Offer choices
    Regardless of age, everyone likes to feel control over one's own life. When we can make choices, we feel we have that control. Offer a choice of activities--and that includes home assignments.
  9. By providing two, three, or even four activities and letting students choose among them, you give them an opportunity to select something that engenders motivation.

  10. Use variety
    A myriad of visual techniques can be employed including charts; cartoons; selected parts of films, videocassettes, and/or digital versatile discs (dvd's); power point creations (on many new computers); and overhead transparencies. Dressing the part of a character (teacher and/or student) qualifies.

A myriad of audio techniques can be used such as playing music, recording music, rapping, creating verse--or anything that has rhythm. Remember how you learned your ABC's? "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" is the tune for "the alphabet song."

A myriad of kinesthetic techniques can be used. Examples are drawing the spelling of a word in the air, standing in a small group rocking together to feel seasick on the boat crossing the Atlantic Ocean as immigrants, and just giving a high five to get attention (two eyes on teacher, two ears listening, one mouth closed).

Other approaches include large group discussions, case studies, and relating personal experiences to a learning buddy on the topic.

Another technique is to use handouts for students to complete during the presentation. This activity keeps them involved and also gives them something they can refer to later. This simple technique also allows you to cover more material in less time.


It's a wonderful experience to have in our classrooms eager, young people who are there because they want to be, not because they are obliged to be. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many classrooms today. However, by focusing on these suggestions, we can create lessons that produce better results for both students and teachers.

Ideas for implementing the proactive (Covey), noncoercive (Glasser), collaborative and empowering (Deming) approach to reducing behavior problems is at

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© Dr. Marvin Marshall, 2002.

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:

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