Getting children excited to stand in line

The Hechinger Report profiled a teacher who uses the Class Dojo behavior modification software to “get children excited about things like staying in line.”

Really? Yeah, I’m sure kids are “excited” to be manipulated into compliance. I call BS.

Also, I’m pretty sure that our global economic and social transformations are being driven by creative innovators, not compliant rule-followers…

7 Responses to “Getting children excited to stand in line”

  1. “our global economic and social transformations are being driven by creative innovators, not compliant rule-followers…”

    Agreed. I know that effective class management is necessary even in an atmosphere that promotes creativity, but using the technology to promote creating rather than compliance seems like a much more ‘future ready’ strategy

    • Worse yet; new teachers are being encouraged to use technology-mediated behavior modification tools. If we accept this technology, it will replace the time we spend developing personalized sets of behavior management tactics. I feel like classroom management is the result of a long process of trial and error on the part of the educator. Giving new teachers a technologically powered shortcut will benefit nobody.

  2. I believe that John Taylor Gatto had a bit to say about this, e.g. The Six Lesson Schoolteacher. As usual, do not expect this sort of “lesson” at the schools the policy makers send their children to.

    • Funny you should mention Gatto. I just re-read Dumbing Us Down (which contains the 7-Lesson Schoolteacher) this past week. ‘Classroom management’ = behavior management = compliance… When will we begin working on learning environments that empower, not suppress?

      • Sadly I suspect it will be when “interest”, “excitement”, “motivation”, and “love of learning” are numbers on the administrators’ evaluation sheets… which is to say, never under the current climate of bad business practices being inappropriate applied to education.

  3. As a teacher in an urban environment, I use ClassDojo on a daily basis for behavior modification. It truly is a double-edged sword: in order to ensure safety in an extremely chaotic environment this type of “manipulation into compliance” is necessary. However, I do hesitant while using it as it does work on extrinsically motivating students and suppressing behaviors rather than empower them.

    • Jenna, there are democratic and other schools that show us that manipulation into compliance is not necessary. I would encourage you to read Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn and to investigate schools where they invest in students’ internal metacognition, decision-making, and self-efficacy. I wonder if reliance on external rather than intrinsic motivation is helping cause rather than resolve your “extremely chaotic environment.” What if you helped kids own their learning spaces rather than merely being subject to them?

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