This week, I dove a little deeper into the effects Class Dojo has on students. I found a great blog by Nikki Sabiston. While her blog is about behavior charts, it is the same concept as Class Dojo. I really enjoyed her blog specifically because it was through the eyes of both a teacher and a parent.
Nikki is a teacher with 20+ years under her belt. She also used to use behavior charts. In part of her blog post, she talks about how her son, who was in kindergarten at the time, would come home in tears every day because he couldn’t stay on the “good behavior” part of the chart. As she put it, when the clip was moved, her son was “being reminded that he wasn’t good enough.” Nikki also went on to write that her child was saying he hated himself, that he wasn’t good enough, and that his teacher hated him because he couldn’t be good. Why would anyone ever want to do that to a child? Her son was diagnosed with ADHD. He couldn’t control his impulses and his behavior, but was still punished for it. How is that fair? Even if a student does not have ADHD or any other behavioral issues or disabilities, they are children. Children are not meant to be cooped up in a classroom all day. They will misbehave even if they don’t mean to. Instead of tracking their bad behavior, spend that time and energy trying to engage your students. If they are engaged in their learning, they won’t have the opportunity to misbehave.
Nikki brought up many other great points about the clip chart concept in this post. One of which is that the charts track behavior, but do not change it. What the charts do accomplish is creating high stress environments for children and creating an environment where they are expected to misbehave. Teachers see the clip chart concept as a reminder for students to be on their best behavior. What they don’t realize is that to students it is embarrassing and demoralizing. Even if a student is the most well behaved child in the universe, it causes undue stress because they never know if one little hiccup in an otherwise perfect day will make them move down on the chart.
While Nikki’s blog post is about physical clip charts, it is applicable to the effects Class Dojo has on students. It creates unrealistic expectations on students and also creates high stress environments. This gives me even more of a reason to not use Class Dojo or any other behavior tracking methods.