“Have you ever heard of Dojo?” my wife asked.
Then she preceded to tell me the story of a co-worker’s child and his classroom experience. His teacher was using ClassDojo as a Behavior Management system within their class. The teacher would acknowledge positive or negative behavior and display it on the Smart Board. When it dinged, students had a limited amount of time to look up, see if they were the object of the recognition, and write down the behavior (if it was them).
As an educator, the co-worker wanted my opinion. I had not heard of Class Dojo, so I looked into it. I understood the purpose of it, but I did not understand how it was being used in that class. The use seemed to be more punitive as the teacher did not correct the behavior, but appeared to focus on the negative. The student had to be able to tell their parent why they were marked down without asking the teacher.
Let me start by saying that this is not the way I have seen ClassDojo used, and I recognize this is not how ClassDojo is meant to be used. I do not believe it is meant to be shared for all to see. I believe it is meant to help the teacher track behavior, so they can communicate with students and parents.
I could see using this tool to help me be more aware of student behavior patterns. I would communicate with parents about behavior patterns, but I would not make scores/reports available to parents–daily or weekly.
I would not use this tool or any similar tool to reward or consequence students for their behavior. I believe the best rewards for students are verbally recognizing their good choices and behavior changes. I believe the best consequences are those that require the student to stop and think about their behavior at the time of the bad choice. When students have had sufficient time to stop their behavior and think about it, I want to encourage their return to the class activity.
Keeping the class avatars visible, with positive and negative scores, or showing the consequence to the entire class feed is wrong. In fact, I question the ethics of any system that broadcasts student grades, behaviors, and academic levels for all to see. I, too, recognize the need for recording information to be able to communicate with parents about academics and behavior; however, I do not believe shaming and embarassing students is the way to change student behavior.
What are your experiences with Class Dojo or similar behavior systems? How would you use them to communicate with parents/students? Share your comments, questions or feedback below or email me at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing your perspectives about behavioral management systems.
This post is my opinion and does not represent the opinion of my employer or colleagues. I recognize many people use similar systems effectively without shaming or embarassing students.