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Current Issue Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 1 Number 8

Success and failure. Seems pretty clear-cut, doesn't it? This month's cover story/excerpt by author Richard Bromfield explores the reality of Success and Failure.
Effective Teaching by Harry Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
The Trouble With... by Alfie Kohn
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Bobbi Fisher
Afterschool Intervention
Teachers Not Camp Counselors
Silence Ain't Golden
Enhancing the Curriculum
Thailand 2000
Heroes Unaware
Links Worth The Click
Myth of the Quick Fix
Integrative Curriculum in a Standards-Based World
Student Scientists Win Spot on Mars Team
Teaching Children to be Active Voters
Letters to the Editor
Poll: Favorite Quotes
Archives: Bobbi Fisher
New in the Lesson Bank
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Humor from the Classroom
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
Live Events Calendar
Gazette Back Issues
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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 is certified by the William Glasser Institute and annually presents at their International Quality Schools Consortium. He presents for Phi Delta Kappa and several leading seminar companies and at character education and other national conferences, including the National Staff Development Council (NSCD) and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). His presentation schedule is on the calendar of this 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.

Advance notification and autographed copies of his book can be made by contacting

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."

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.

Promoting Learning
by Dr. Marvin Marshall


Homework is an extension of instruction. It is related to teaching and learning, not to discipline in the sense of classroom disruptions or social irresponsibility.


Homework provides opportunities to practice and improve skills or gain further knowledge or understanding. The development of skills and gaining knowledge and understanding are not limited to class time. Homework also teaches lessons that cannot be measured, such as self-discipline, perseverance, and time management. Homework teaches how to begin a task, complete it, and be responsible for the outcome. These skills have a great influence for academic success in school, performance in the workplace, and situations in life.


Especially at the elementary grades, homework has to be tempered with considerations for other demands on young people's time. Homework has shown to have little effect on achievement in the early grades. If the amount of homework assigned becomes overwhelming, it can result in negative attitudes about school and learning. At these early grades, homework should foster a love of learning. The assignments should be short - different from classwork - and quickly be completed. Long uncompleted assignments or completed with tears and tantrums are deadly.

More than 100 studies have shown that it is not until middle school that homework begins to pay off.


Homework is most beneficial when it moves out of the drone mode and into a creative mode. In order to make homework more attractive, offer choices. Give two assignments, with students having the option of choosing only one to complete. Be sure students understand the purpose of the assignment. Periodically, have a short discussion of the benefits. Ask for input from students. Explain what you believe students will learn or accomplish from an assignment, and then ask for suggestions. Students often come up with more creative ideas to accomplish the same purpose. Assignment should be focused. For example, rather than asking students to write about an open-ended theme from a novel that the class is reading, ask them to pick one character and explain why that character behaved in a particular way.


Assigning the reading of a chapter before it is discussed in class is almost useless. The practice works only if, before the assignment, the teacher does some pre-teaching by providing a cognitive map - an organizing scheme or scaffold. A scaffold is a frame that holds people in a stable situation while they are constructing something. Building a scaffold for students makes it easier for them to make sense of what is being read. Inform them what to look for. Give them clues that will help them. Then, if they are motivated enough to read, they will enjoy the satisfaction of discovery.


Since we learn best by teaching, have students become teachers. Before the teacher checks any paper, at least two other people should check it. When papers are submitted, refrain from correcting them. Instead, make a comment such as, "You have a spelling error in this paragraph." "Check for noun-verb agreement in this sentence." Using abbreviations will save even more time. This approach encourages self-correction and self-evaluation. When final papers are submitted, they will be of higher quality and more enjoyable to read.

Save time with arithmetic by selecting only five problems to correct, rather than checking all answers. The problems may be the last five or any five problems. When students submit their papers, correct only these pre-selected problems. Looking at only these will give you enough indication of whether or not more time needs to be invested in the lesson or with selected students.


    --Homework is an extension of instruction. It is related to teaching and learning, not to discipline.

    --Use creative and focused approaches when assigning homework.

    --Point out what key things to look for before giving a reading assignment.

    --Reduce time spent in correcting homework by giving more responsibility to students.

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