Discipline to Promote Responsibility & Learning

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Dr. Marvin Marshall’s Blog

Change Behavior by Changing Perceptions

The opening paragraph of my book, Discipline Without Stress, deals with mindsets. It sets the stage for the entire book because my purpose is to influence young people to have mindsets where they WANT to be responsible and WANT to learn. The following exercise (shared with me by Jack Canfield– coauthor with Mark Victor Hansen of The Aladdin Factor and the Chicken Soup series) gives students an experience of the power of … [Read more...]

Say “No” Positively

In my books, speeches, and professional work, I always stress the importance of positivity. But sometimes you simply have to tell people “No,” even though it’s not a positive word. So how can you say “No” without actually saying “No”? Here’s a simple four-step process: 1. Acknowledge the importance of the request. “I understand why that’s important to you.” 2. Inform the person that you have a problem with it.“But I … [Read more...]

Why Discipline is Different Today

Manufacturing—building tangibles—led and fed the economies in the 19th and 20th centuries. There were a few originators, but most people were followers. Obedience, implementation of rules, and top-down management were the orders of the day. What drives our 21st century? The creation and distribution of information. Rather than compliance, initiative is required. People rarely will work for one company all their lives. … [Read more...]

The Best Discipline Phrase

When it comes to discipline, many teachers (and parents) believe that if they spell out consequences before the child misbehaves, then there will be no need for discipline later. For example, a teacher may say, “If you don’t finish your work, then you can’t go out for recess” or “If you talk during the lesson, then you’ll have extra homework questions.” These “if/then” consequence statements do little to curb behavior … [Read more...]

3 Questions to Ask All Youth

You don’t necessarily like someone because who the person is; you like the person because of the person’s effect on you. What kind of effect are you having on the children in your life? Following are three questions that any parent can ask their children on a regular basis (or any teacher can ask students in a class meeting). 1. What did you learn this week that’s valuable enough for a lifetime? (Remember: we find what … [Read more...]

Discipline and “Hard Students”

Teachers often ask me, “How do you discipline ‘hard students’?” They are usually referring to the tough, street-wise kids who seem to have a chip on their shoulder. While people often think these youngsters are only found in the inner city, the fact is that such students are in small towns too. When working with “hard kids,” it’s important to resist using any coercion with them. Imposed discipline, threats, and/or … [Read more...]

The Facts about Student Motivation

Teachers often tell me, “My students have no motivation!” When I hear this, I suggest to the teacher that every student attending school is motivated; after all, without motivation, one would not get out of bed. Whether the motivation is prompted by a situation, a stimulus, an impulse, or an urge, the person arising from bed is motivated. If we assume that simply by being in school there is some degree of motivation in … [Read more...]

Self-Reflection and Effectiveness

A school principal contacted me for advice. He was trying to put together a way for the teachers at his school to reflect on their year and to self-evaluate. He wanted it to be something that was do-able, that wouldn’t feel overwhelming in its scope or the time it would take for them to complete, and that would feel meaningful and help guide their work for next year. My suggestion was this: Pose the following question to … [Read more...]

The Best Way to Change Behavior

How many times have you said to a misbehaving student or child, “Why did you do that?” You may have even put the child in a time-out so they could think about their answer. While knowing the cause of a behavior may be interesting, in reality it has little to do with changing behavior to become more responsible. All people—even children—know when they act inappropriately, but KNOWING the motivation does not stop behavior, … [Read more...]

Banish Negativity

I was brought up on the principle my mother instilled in me, “If you can’t say anything nice about a person, then don’t say anything at all.” This counsel grew into the first principle of my life’s practices: positivity, which is described in my book as the first principle to reduce stress. In building relationships, negativism is the biggest enemy. You don’t want it in your mind. You don’t want it in your classroom. … [Read more...]