Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Some Thoughts about a Behavior Program for Classroom Management

This week, The New York Times published an article about Class Dojo, the popular online behavior management program.

The article profiled teachers who find the program very useful and described the ways they used it.  The article also included comments from parents who felt the program impinged on their children's privacy.  Chief among their concerns was what happens to the data collected by Class Dojo--who has access to it, how is it used, and for how long is it available?  One of the co-founders of Class Dojo gave assurances the data would not be accessible by third parties but not everyone quoted in the article believed that would be possible.

Another concern was that by presenting the information publicly in a class, children who were not doing as well as others might feel shamed.  Some of the teachers quoted said they only used the positive reinforcement features in the program.  Teachers also said it was an effective way of keeping parents informed.

Some thoughts about classroom management
So much to think about! Source: The ESL Nexus
Some years ago, I looked at Class Dojo because it seemed like a potentially helpful way of managing the behavior of students in my classes.  But there was a certain amount of set up involved and I decided that it would be easier to just use non-computer-based methods instead.  I didn't like the idea of always having to go to my computer to input information about students; for me, it was simpler to just use paper and pen or, actually, stickers or clothespins on a chart.  I can certainly appreciate the privacy issues involved, too.

Besides the various behavior charts I used in my classroom--they differed depending on the grade level--I also developed a form to send home to parents and guardians each Friday to keep them apprised of how their children were doing in my class.  Students were supposed to get it signed by an adult and then return it on Monday, although that didn't always happen.  (If there was something really important I felt the caregivers should be aware of, I sent an email home to let them know they should ask about the form.)  Some parents told me they appreciated receiving the forms and a few would even email me if they didn't get it when they expected it.  It was gratifying to know they looked forward to the weekly updates!  Click here to see the form in my TpT store.

Click HERE for more info; source: The ESL Nexus
Today, there is another article in The New York Times about Class Dojo.  It reports that the company has updated its privacy policy.

The articles and the accompanying comments offer much to consider.  What are your thoughts about using online programs like Class Dojo?  Is it easier to use a computer program to track student behavior or do you prefer to use other means?  Please share your ideas in the Comments section below.