Tag Archives: compliance

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…

Compliance remains the central goal

Alfie Kohn said:

Whether or not it’s stated explicitly, compliance remains the central goal of most classroom management programs, character education initiatives, and parenting resources. Sure, we stress the virtues of independent thinking and assertiveness, but mostly in the context of getting kids to resist peer pressure. If a child has the temerity to resist unreasonable rules and demands imposed by adults, well, then, bring on the “consequences” (read: punishments) to “hold them accountable for their behavior.”

What is so offensive about Skinnerian programs like PBIS or Class Dojo isn’t just their methods, which amount to extended exercises in manipulation, but their goal, which is to elicit mindless obedience.

via http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/04/26/how-to-teach-students-not-to-do-everything-they-are-told

Why are you working on that?


I’m astounded at how often my children do things for class without understanding the bigger reasons behind WHY they’re doing those things. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Me: What are you working on?
Them: [random learning task]
Me: Why are you working on that? How does that fit into the overall picture of what you’re learning/doing? Are you going to do something with that later? What purpose are you trying to achieve? What is the reason why you were asked to work on that?
Them: I dunno.

I’m also astounded at how hard they work on those things. They’re very diligent, despite having absolutely no idea why they’re doing what they’re doing. There seems to be a lot of trust (or at least compliance?) by my kids that they’re being asked to do the right things. I confess that I’m usually much less certain.

And, of course, there are the kids who are less compliant and/or trusting than mine…

Image credit: Untitled, Dan Buczynski