Response-Able Educator Newsletter #73

August 14, 2008

Welcome! This is a free newsletter about becoming a Response-Able educator who develops Response-Able students.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to inspire, encourage, and uplift the spirits of educators so they can in turn inspire, encourage, and uplift the spirits of their students.

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In This Issue

1. Quote
2. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation
3. Bumper Sticker
4. Sign of the Times
5. Article: Breaking the Command-Resistance Cycle

1. Quote

"The job of an educator is to teach students to see the vitality in themselves."


Joseph Campbell


2. Spirit Whisperer Contemplation

Refuse to ask yourself, How can I win this battle with this student, this parent, or this administrator? Ask instead, How can I rise above the battlefield and react from that perspective?


3. Bumper Sticker

Anonymously left on the podium at a recent workshop in New Iberia, LA:


My dog ate my homework,

But if you're patient,

You'll get it back in a few days.


4. Sign of the Times

A.) Observed on the wall of a middle school:

A pencil without an eraser, might just as well be a pen.

B.) Seen on a wall in a science room in Dallas, TX:

     Show reverence for life. Let the insect go where you found it.

C.)   Sign noticed in an alternative high school, shared by the administrator:

You are smart.

You have talent.

You can amount to something.

5. Article: Breaking the Command-Resistance Cycle

By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller


Margaret Townsend watched as her new principal, Brian Ashton, filled several legal pad pages with notes during his contractual observation of her. She kept one eye on what she was doing with the fourth graders and another eye on the administrator as he scribbled endlessly across the pages. Margaret wasn't too worried about the evaluation process because it happened every two years and her evaluations had always been excellent. Yet, the principal was new and she really didn't know what he thought of her. And he just kept writing.


Later that day Margaret met with Mr. Ashton for the official evaluation review meeting. He began by telling her all the things he saw that were positive and uplifting. He mentioned how she greeted the children at the door, gave them all eye contact, and frequently smiled. He shared his observation that her questions required higher level thinking, that she used anticipatory set to motivate students to listen, and that she encouraged them to become actively involved in sharing with a partner on different occasions. None of his positive observations surprised her. As a seasoned veteran of thirty years of teaching, Mrs. Townsend knew how to put on a good show for the semiannual evaluation. Or so she thought.


"Now, I want to suggest a growing edge," Mr. Ashton told her. "A growing edge is one area that I would like to suggest you work on for the next two months. I want you to see if you can reduce the number of commands you issue to students. In my opinion there were way too many commands. Commands activate the command-resistance cycle. The more you command, the more students resist, especially the students with power problems."


"I don't understand what you mean by 'commands'," Margaret responded.


"Let me give you a few examples," Mr. Aston said. "Here is a list of commands I heard you give in the first half hour this morning."


Come in quietly.

Hang your coats up.

Get right to your seats.

Look at the board for the assignment. Take out your math books.

Billy, turn around.

Turn to page 56.

Jason, read the first paragraph, please.

Anita, pay attention.

Brandon, read the second paragraph.

Take out a pencil.

Do the first problem on scrap paper.

No talking.

Keep working.

Do your best.

Pencils down.

Eyes up here.


And on the list went with over forty commands. Margaret was stunned by the number of items it contained. She was shocked that all those verbal commands had come out of her mouth.


After agreeing to work on the growing edge of giving commands, Margaret signed the evaluation document which mentioned her many strengths and vowed to work on the one area recommended by Mr. Ashton.


The next morning, determined to cut down the number of commands she issued, Margaret made a conscious effort to alter her teacher talk. "You know where your coats belong," she said, instead of commanding, "Hang your coats up."  The students all knew what to do and followed through.


"The assignment is on the board," she told the class, trusting that the students were smart enough to figure out an appropriate next move. They were.


"I'm on page 61," she announced a bit later, resisting the urge to tell her students what page to turn to. Once again, they made the proper choice.


When Missy and Pablo began whispering, Margaret almost told them to stop talking. Instead she bit her tongue, reflected for a moment, and said, "Missy and Carlos, that's a side conversation. It is distracting. Please make a different choice." They did.


"You'll need a pencil" took the place of "Get your pencils out."  "Pencils down" was replaced with "Time is up."


When Billy turned around yet again to talk with Paul, Mrs. Townsend resisted the urge to tell him what to do. Instead, she gave him information about herself. "I need your attention, Billy," she informed him. He turned around without needing a command.


Over time, Mrs. Townsend was able to drastically reduce the number of commands that had previously characterized her teacher talk. With fewer commands her students became more empowered and they began to see themselves as more capable. As commands were reduced so was student resistance. By changing her teacher talk Mrs. Townsend was able to interrupt the command-resistance cycle in her classroom and add to the growth and maturity of her fourth graders.


Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are the authors of Teaching the Attraction Principle to Children: Practical Strategies for Parents and Teachers to Help Children Manifest a Better World.  They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free monthly e-zine for parents. To sign up for it or to obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their website today:

Teacher Talk: What It Really Means

Idea of the Month

Extend a written invitation to Board of Education members to attend your next professional development day. It is educational for them to hear the new ideas and skills that are being presented to teachers and administrators. Often, board members are busy with other commitments. Still, it's a friendly gesture to extend the invitation.


Also, invite PTO officers to attend inservice sessions. These community leaders are some of your strongest supporters. It is helpful to have them attend and see firsthand the value of professional development.


Featured Training

Good Praise/Bad Praise

Participants will learn the three types of praise and be able to tell which ones help students develop self-esteem, confidence, and an internal standard of excellence. They will also learn how to recognize the most harmful type of praise--the one that builds praise junkies and teaches students to rely on the opinions of others for measures of their self-worth.

Participants will learn what kind of praise is the most difficult for students to deny and has the greatest potential to transform them into caring, confident, responsible youngsters. Learn to praise in a way that will give your students verbal messages they can use to develop a strong internal sense of self-esteem and worth so they become their own source of encouragement, their own source of motivation, their own source of reward.

This seminar is skill-oriented, practical, and offers ideas staff can put to use immediately in their classrooms.


Thomas Haller

Chick Moorman

Fall dates still available.


Featured Product: Our Classroom: We Can Learn Together

Closeout sale of the first book co-authored by Chick Moorman.

Originally $20. Now $10, while they last. Only 147 still in stock.

This book will help K-6 teachers create a classroom environment where discipline problems are less likely to occur and where students are less likely to activate the new three Rs -- Resistance, Reluctance, and Resentment. It will show you how to build an atmosphere of togetherness that focuses on strategies that foster cooperation, interdependence, and mutual respect.

Hardcover book, 215 pages.



Aug. 15 – Warren, OH

8:30 am - 3:30 pm, Motivating the Unmotivated presented by Chick Moorman, Summit Academy, Warren, OH.


Aug. 18 – Bridgeview, IL

8:30 am - 3:30 pm, Motivating the Unmotivated presented by Chick Moorman, Bridgeview, Universal School, Bridgeview, IL. For information contact Forhat Siddiqui at 708-599-4100 or email


Aug. 20 – Middleburg, PA

9:00 am - 3:00 pm, The Sounds of Spirit Whispering presented by Chick Moorman, Midd-West Public Schools, Midd-West High School, Middleburg, PA. For information contact Dave Harrison at 570-658-8144 ext. 303 or email


Aug. 26 – Desert Island, ME

8:30 am - 3:30 pm, The Sounds of Spirit Whispering presented by Chick Moorman, School Union 98, Desert Island, ME. For information contact Joanne Harriman at 207-288-5040 or email


Aug. 26 – Dallas, TX

The Sounds of Ethics and Success 101: How to be Successful at Whatever You Do presented by Thomas Haller, Texas Behavioral Health Institute, Dallas TX.


Aug. 28 – Green River, WY

8:00 am - 3:30 pm, Motivating the Unmotivated presented by Chick Moorman, School District #2, Sweetwater County, Green River High School, Green River, WY. For information contact Cheryl Wilson at 307-872-5515.

Chick Moorman

Contact Chick at 1-877-360-1477 or e-mail him at


Thomas Haller

Contact Thomas at 989-686-5356 or e-mail him at




Personal Power Press


Copyright 2008 Chick Moorman Seminars and Thomas Haller Seminars, all rights reserved. Share this with your circle.

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