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Volume 3 Number 10

"Everybody loves hummingbirds, and they are wonderful tools to excite students about learning."

That quote from a classroom teacher is the basic premise of Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project...

Effective Practices Apply to All Teachers Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Given Names - When NOT to Use Them and when TO Use Them Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
10 Tips for the Best Parent Conferences Ever! Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber
Assessment of Online Discussions Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman & George París Conway
Internet Security for Kids Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Talking about the Six Traits and Quality Writing The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
Primary Sites Grades Pre-K to 3 The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
That's Novel! 4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
October Articles
October Regular Features
October 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
Given Names
When NOT to Use Them and when TO Use Them

What's in a name?

That which we call a rose by any other name would not smell as sweet.

Romeo and Juliet. Act ii. Sc. 2. 1

(Bold added--with respect to William Shakespeare)

Most teachers have a desire to establish good relations with their students. To achieve this objective, young teachers new to the profession often suggest that students call them by their first name.

This is a natural tendency, especially since American society has taken to addressing others by given names, rather than by surnames.

I enjoy knowing the name of the server who helps me when I dine in a restaurant. Not too long ago when I asked the server for her name, she responded by asking me for my name. Natural, isn't it? If I ask a server for his/her name why shouldn't the server, in return, call me by my given name?

There are no longer demarcations in society. Everyone is equal. Therefore, isn't everyone on the same level?

If parents call children by their given names, shouldn't children also call parents by their given names? Aren't parents and children equal AND on the same level? If you believe there is no distinction between a parent and a child, then you may fall prey to the mistaken idea that there is no difference between a teacher and a student. After all, since they are both equal they must also be ON THE SAME LEVEL.

Just as it is inappropriate for a server to ask the customer for his/her given name, so it is inappropriate for a student to be encouraged to call a teacher by the teacher's given name. The practice clouds the relationship. After all, I call my friends by their first names. Isn't my teacher my friend? Aren't we all on the same level?

(Primary teachers who have their students address them with a title, e.g. Miss Joyce, have already established a level of differentiation.)

A prime reason to have students address a teacher by the teacher's given name ("Call me Joyce") is in an attempt to establish positive relationships. Basically, it is an attempt to have students like the teacher. The approach is misguided.

When teaching at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, my room was next to that of the oldest teacher I had ever seen. (Perhaps my perception was due to my youth.) When I became instructional coordinator at the school, I had an opportunity to see this teacher in action, and I discovered why her students loved her. I also understood why so many of them came back to visit her.

Her "secret" was that she empowered her students. She regularly and consistently brought to their attention the progress they had made and encouraged them by focusing on their successes. She taught by the concept that an ounce of encouragement after a failure was worth more than a pound of praise after a success.

It is a given that all students will not be attracted to all teachers. It is also a given that respect, rather than being liked, is the hallmark of great teachers. But chances of achieving both are far greater through encouragement and empowerment than by saying, "Call me by my first name."

Let's look at another aspect of using first names.

I do not recall many situations in recent years where I have been addressed as Mr. Marshall. Rather, I am addressed by my given name. The most common occurrence comes when I get e-mail directed to "Marvin" or a telephone call where the caller asks to speak to "Marvin."

Although the intentions of calling me by my first name may be politically correct, the result is counterproductive because I prefer "Marv" to "Marvin. " Addressing me as "Marvin," rather than "Marv," is an immediate turnoff to me.

I am not sure I know the reason for this. Perhaps it is related to why my friend prefers to be called Al rather than Alvin or another friend of mind prefers Al rather than Albert. I have yet to see a marquee showing a headline with Melvin Gibson as the star. Charlie Rose conducts wonderful interviews on PBS, yet no one refers to him as Charles. Funny that I have seen television programs starring Andrew Griffith and Mervyn Griffin, but I don't recall their being called by those names. Last night in my Houston Hotel room, I watched an old Archibald Bunker program, but that was not what they called the character Carroll O'Connor portrayed. Why not? It was his name.

Perhaps you can add to your own list of people who use their given names solely to sign their signatures. Here is a list of just some of my friends whose preferences popped up immediately:

Bart Bartholomew
Chris Christopher
Irv Irving
Joe Joseph
Lew Lewis
Mort Mortimer
Nat Nathaniel
Norm Norman
Sam Samuel
Stan Stanley
Tim Timothy
Welly Wellington

I have a friend whose given name is Regina and whose middle name is Linda. She intensely dislikes her first name but loves her middle name. I think her first name is beautiful. Whose opinion should I use--hers or mine?

Tony Alessandra (Why not Anthony!) has written a wonderful book, The Platinum Rule. The theme of the book applies here. The "Golden Rule" is commonly quoted as, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." More colloquially, it would be stated, "Treat others as you would like to be treated." The theme of The Platinum Rule is simply, "Do unto others as they would like done unto them," or more colloquially to my point, "Call others what they would like to be called."

In Dale Carnegie's classic book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People," the story is told about a young boy who had many rabbits. The lad asked some of his friends to help him care for his pets. Not a single volunteer appeared.

The boy then approached his friends and suggested that if they would help, he would name one of the rabbits after him. The owner of the rabbits had no difficulties getting volunteers to help care for his brood. Carnegie made the point: A person's name is, to that person, the most beautiful sound in any language. Of course, this means that the name is the one that the person WANTS to be called.

The point: A simple and powerful way to immediately establish a positive relationship is for the teacher to ask a student the name the student wishes to be called (exclusive of street names).

The strategy is so simple, yet so empowering and will endear the teacher to the student immediately.

Ideas for implementing the proactive (Covey), noncoercive (Glasser), collaborative (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.

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