Monday, November 8, 2010

Classroom Discipline

Today we were told my child's classroom was going to institute the discipline method known as the stoplight method.  It's pretty common from what I'm reading and I know some other parents whose kids lived through it and survived.  Basically it's a method where everyone starts on green with their name marker.  If they get warnings throughout the day for discipline issues, they move their name down to yellow, and red is a note home to the parents.  This is usually hung in a public or prominent location in the classroom.   I was concerned about it before he started school because it's not really a method I think is appropriate.  Public shame to get my child to toe the line?  Group-think to ensure the other kids shame him into behaving correctly next time?  If you don't think the other kids know who is the 'bad kid' who got yellow or red, you're wrong.  My child knew exactly who got red today when I found out he was on yellow.  So I know the other kids knew he was a yellow today.  There are rewards for not getting moved down and a class reward when they all do the right thing.  I just don't know exactly how thrilled I am with this way of motivating kids to act right.  I know my son is sensitive to public embarrassment.  It may not have sunk in yet, and I'm sure not going to tell him, but it will sink in if someone makes fun of him for getting yellow or red one day.  So do I allow public embarrassment be the consequence of his poor choice and hope that teaches him to correct his problem, which is not my preferred method.  Or do I talk to the teacher and see if it can be made less public so the child knows they did the wrong thing without the kids and other parents judging them for poor choices, or just a bad day?   I just don't know how my son is going to react to this and/or if he's going to be the kid who is always on yellow or red.  I'd really like to have her make a change now before it's really set in stone with the kids that it's done a certain way and they're used to it.  they'll really notice the change if she moves it later.  I may just have to suck it up and get over it.  I just really don't want this to squash my kid's happiness in going to school everyday.

It's either going to be a really, really long year or we're going to be in private school next year.  Unless I hope and pray we always get teachers who don't use that method.  Bwhahahahaha!!!!!  So funny.

1 comment:

Michael G. said...

I hate to say it as a teacher, but this is a sloppy method.

Of course you should discuss your concerns with the teacher, but chances are it won't do any good.

Class discipline should be about connecting with your students, taking an interest in them, engaging them with fresh, stimulating activities and having reasonable parameters with consistent but fair consequences.

This sounds like a lazy method, invented to put pressure on the child to conform or be shamed. Why do some teachers, who are aware of the fragile nature of social interactions between their students, use peer pressure and public shaming as a means to get what they want?

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