Let's just say that I had an entirely different post planned for today but yesterday while on Twitter I stumbled up this great post by Miss Night, Too high a price: why I don't do behaviour charts. I highly recommend you check it out. (A huge thanks to @flourishingkids from http://www.allkidscanflourish.blogspot.com for posting the link)
Miss Night clearly and effectively articulates why she doesn't use behaviour charts through a very realistic portrayal of how we as adults would feel if our bosses did the same to us. Just click on the link up there to see what I mean. In any case, her post has got the wheels in my head spinning round and round.
I use behaviour/incentive charts in my FSL classroom, I find it stimulates many of my students to take risks and make attempts at answering questions and/or conversing in the target language. I used Classdojo last year and honestly, still plan on using it next year but I will be changing the way I use it based on what I read over at Miss Night's blog. What really struck a cord with me was that students who get their pins brought down to orange or in my case negative points added beside their names are essentially being humiliated in front of their classmates. As Miss Night points out I would be furious if such a chart was put up in the staff room and that every time I have a bad moment I was reprimanded publicly. So it has me thinking, what does my behavior management system do to my students self esteem, self worth, reputation amongst their peers. Does it cause other students not to want work with them? Does it make them feel good? Does it help them LEARN? The obvious answer to those questions, is a screaming NO!!!
So why I am doing it? Well it seemed like a great idea at the time but what I do know is in my class this coming school year students will not publicly lose points for making a misstep in their day. Students who are having difficulties living up to classroom expectation, for a variety of reasons, will be dealt with privately. Classdojo gives me the ability to do this by tracking negative behaviours privately. This way the student and I can have a discussion in private, when needed and get a system going that works for them. It also allows me to have a record of incidents without humiliating any of my students. Honestly, if it had ever crossed my mind before this that I was embarrassing them, I never would have done it at all.
Will I still be giving public points? Yes! My students love getting a 'J'ai parlé en français!' or 'Je fais de mon mieux!' point. Points are awarded for effort not accuracy and their is no reward at the end of the tunnel for getting x number of points. Most of my students take pride just trying to get more points then they did the week before much like a runner strives for a faster pace. So long as the positive points continue to encourage students to participate, bring smiles to their faces and fun to our classroom I will continue to use them.
What about you? Do you public behaviour charts? If yes, which ones? If not, why not?