Discipline to Promote Responsibility & Learning



View a  synopsis of the entire Discipline Without Stress discipline and learning system.

The discipline system is called the Raise Responsibility System because it promotes responsible behavior—as opposed to promoting obedience.
Obedience does not promote desire. However, when you promote responsibility, you receive obedience as a natural by-product.

If you link to the Teaching Model or the Parenting Model you will see that the discipline  system is Phase III of both models. 

When I returned to the classroom after 24 years as a counselor; elementary, middle, and high school principal; and district director of education, I found too much disrespect toward adults, rampant graffiti, lack of responsible behavior, and even some parents afraid of their own children. Using traditional discipline approaches in my classroom, I soon found myself acting as a cop—rather than as a teacher. I was coming to school everyday dressed in a blue uniform with copper buttons. This was not how I wanted to spend my last few years in the most enjoyable role of the education profession.

Using my classroom experience at all levels (teaching), my counseling experiences (asking), and my administrative experiences (authority), I developed a program that promotes responsible behavior. The discipline approach is TOTALLY NONCOERCIVE—but not permissive. The adult is always in charge.

Phase I of the discipline system refers to teaching four concepts of the Hierarchy of Social Development. Being proactive by teaching these concepts before discipline problems occur is the foundation of the discipline system because it establishes expectations at the outset.

Phase II, Checking for Understanding (asking), is used when a student creates a discipline problem or demonstrates irresponsible behavior, poor impulse control, or victimhood thinking. Teaching the Hierarchy of Social Development and then Checking for Understanding handles the vast majority of discipline problems. 

Phase III, Guided Choices (eliciting), is employed if irresponsible behaviors or discipline problems continue. When people identify their chosen level on the Hierarchy of Social Development and you have prompted them to reflect by Checking for Understanding, eliciting a consequence or procedure resolves the problem and eliminates future similar discipline occurrences.

Print a one-page review of the Raise Responsibility System, the discipline system—part  III of the Discipline without Stress Teaching Model.

Learn from users.

Phase I – Teaching
Learn the Hierarchy of Social Development.

Learn significant points about using the Hierarchy of Social Development.

Compare the life cycle of a butterfly to human development to explain the levels.

To better understand the concepts, view visuals.

Read how the hierarchy can be used to reduce bullying.

Phase II – Checking for Understanding (Asking)
Prompting students to reflect on their chosen level is the key to changing behavior. This is the usual approach of first teaching and then checking for understanding. Sample dialogue and other suggestions are on pages 37 – 39 in the Resource Guide.
In addition, 15 highly successful Unobtrusive Techniques are on page 36.

The only skill involved is asking reflective questions. The key questions are built into the system. 

Phase III – Guided Choices (Eliciting)
People do not argue with their own decisions
Guided Choices shows how eliciting—rather than imposing—is the most fair, consistent, and effective approach for changing irresponsible behaviors.


See how the Hierarchy of Social Development is used to prompt motivation for learning and improve academic performance.


Please note that this site only includes parts from Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 of the landmark education book.  

The following links—along with many other suggestions—are in the Resource Guide.

Learning impulse control is a key characteristic for success in school and life.

See 25 characteristics and 7 principles of the discipline and learning system.  

Rewards, threats, punishments, and telling all fail the critical test: How effective are they when no one is around? Young people want to be responsible, but too often we use ineffective approaches and myths.