ClassDojo is a classroom management system. Teachers can use this software in order to give behavior feedbacks (positive or need work, which respectively are equivalent to +1 and -1 points ) to their students and to take attendance. Teachers can add and delete the categories of feedback so that they can fit the needs and objectives of the class. Teachers can also see and share to the parents the behavior reports of the students. Here is a brief introduction to ClassDojo:
As an ESL teacher in becoming, I can see the utility of a tool like ClassDojo in a classroom, especially in an elementary school (let’s just say that it might be too childish for teenagers and adults). Children would probably love having an avatar and accumulating points, even if there is not a reward at the end of the week or the day, such as in Lisa Mims’ classroom. It would become some sort of game that encourages and motivates students to continue perform well in class or to improve behaviors that need work. In an ESL classroom, the teacher could choose to add feedback such as Speaks English or Speaks French to see which students need more help to interact in the second language (L2). It could also be a part of the final evaluation, since oral interaction with others in the L2 is often a great part of the students’ grades.
The teacher can also leave comments to students individually in the report section to explain some of the behavior feedbacks that have been given. These comments can also be seen by parents when the teacher sends them the reports. There is also a message section where the teacher can send messages to the whole group of parents or to an individual parent.
However, not every teacher share this opinion. Some teachers, such as the author of the Teaching Ace website, think that the fact that the students’ behaviors are exposed to everyone equivalates to public shaming. I do agree that showing the behaviors is not ideal, but it is still better than what some of my teachers used to do. Many of them would have our names written on the board and they would put a check next to our names each times we would not behave as they wanted. I personally think that ClassDojo is a great alternative to this method, since the students can see both good and bad behaviors and they are conscious of what they did well and what they need to improve.
Others also think that “one-click assessments of children’s behavior miss the complexity of individual students and why they do what they do.” I agree with the fact that ClassDojo does not take into consideration the different challenges of the students. However, I like to think that teachers get to know their students well enough so that they can judge whether it is really appropriate to give a need work feedback to a specific student under certain circumstances or not. The teacher does not have the obligation to give negative feedback if he/she does not want to. For example, Lisa Mims said that she rarely gave negative behaviors, and when she did, it was under exceptional circumstances: “My students know that if they earned a negative, it had to be a big deal.”
Overall, it is an individual choice that teachers do when they decide how they want to use ClassDojo. They can use it as a positive or negative tool, or they can just decide to not use this application.