Discipline to Promote Responsibility & Learning

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Dr. Marvin Marshall’s Blog

Success and Positivity

Human nature is based on a deficit model—to fix what is wrong. In a very real sense, our attention is geared at fixing others. For example, after a meeting with teachers, the student said to his mother, “Why didn’t they talk more about my social studies—what I am good at instead of what I am not good at? All they want to do is fix what is wrong with me.” The mother responded by saying, “They are trying to help … [Read more...]

Get Children to Take Ownership

All parents and teachers want children to keep their end of agreements. For example, if a child says he will take out the garbage, the parent expects that’s what will happen. If a student says she will do her homework, the teacher expects her to follow through. When the youth doesn’t do what he or she promised to do, adults often try to discipline the child, dishing out punishments or imposing consequences. This approach … [Read more...]

Positivity Builds Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is a person’s sense of self-worth and is manifested in large part by a person’s self-talk. One of the advantages researchers report about positive self-talk is that it encourages persistence—a key characteristic for success. Negative self-talk creates a negative mindset that can lead to avoiding failure rather than reaching for success. The more young people are encouraged and are talked to in positive ways … [Read more...]

Discipline and Fairness

Maintaining order in your classroom or your home is critical. As you do so, though, never forget this basic truth about discipline: Children do not mind a tough teacher (or parent) but they despise an unfair one. Being unfair can run the gamut from imposing a harsh punishment one day and a lenient one the next, or not giving a reward for something even though the same behavior earned a reward last week. Once children … [Read more...]

Charter Schools and Discipline

Charter schools were conceived in large part as an alternative to underperforming public schools. Charter schools allow educators and entrepreneurs to create new teaching models. More flexibility will allow more successful approaches for dealing with not only instruction but also behavior and discipline problems that impinge on the effectiveness of schools. The ability to experiment created enthusiasm nationwide for the … [Read more...]

Recess and Discipline

I recently read an article in The Atlantic about teaching in Finland. In the piece, an American teacher in Helsinki questioned the national practice of giving 15 minute breaks each hour—until he saw the difference it made in his classroom. In Finland, teachers send kids outside—rain or shine—for a 15-minute break after every 45 minutes of teaching. And the children get to decide how they spend their break times. There … [Read more...]

No Child Left Behind and Discipline

The follow-up to the original 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now referred to as “No Child Left Behind,” will rank as one of the most poorly constructed laws to improve education. The approaches to increase low academic performance (which always concerns behavior and how schools handle discipline challenges) are narrowly drawn and rigid and in many ways counterproductive for improving education. In addition, … [Read more...]

Declining Discipline Suspensions?

The Los Angeles Times reported on June 1, 2014 that the Los Angeles Unified School District’s disciplinary suspensions have been reduced. The article reported about schools where administrators typically handled discipline problems by suspending students. However, several parents complained that their children were sent home without officially being suspended. Several parents at one of the schools said their children … [Read more...]

Discipline by Imposing Consequences Results in a Lawsuit

The July 2, 2014 issue of the Los Angels Times headlined the following: Ethics guru and school spar on discipline. Michael Josephson made a career of encouraging people to do the right thing. His Los Angeles based nonprofit, The Josephson Institute of Ethics, has trained government officials, corporate officers, Olympic athletes, and millions of schoolchildren in ethical decision-making. Josephson is now suing a school … [Read more...]

A Final Thought on Discipline about Today’s Approaches

I received the following communication, which I am sharing because it articulates what so many teachers think about the current stage of discipline in schools. “I used your strategies successfully for several years. It is a wonderful system that also works at home and in our private lives. I am completely sold. I love Dr. Marshall's book. I learned so much. “However, I have recently struggled to implement the discipline … [Read more...]