Can I Tell My Son’s Teacher That Her Behavior Point System Is Garbage?

Can I Tell My Son’s Teacher That Her Behavior Point System Is Garbage?

BY MATTHEW DICKS

My son is in first grade. His teacher uses an app with a point system to track and reward classroom behavior—being on task, listening quietly, etc. She asked the parents to download the app, and I get 5-10 notifications per school day regarding my son. She told us that the app makes an audible bell sound each time a child is awarded points, keeping all of the kids aware of this system throughout the day. When they collect a certain amount of points, they get a prize.

My son is in first grade. His teacher uses an app with a point system to track and reward classroom behavior—being on task, listening quietly, etc. She asked the parents to download the app, and I get 5-10 notifications per school day regarding my son. She told us that the app makes an audible bell sound each time a child is awarded points, keeping all of the kids aware of this system throughout the day. When they collect a certain amount of points, they get a prize.

I really don’t like it. I know there’s research that says point systems aren’t effective. It makes me cringe to think of my son and his classmates hearing this bell all day when they’re trying to learn, work, and play. I also think that the teacher’s focus on recording behaviors on an ipad (5-10 entries x 14 kids is a lot of time on the app throughout the day) must take away from time she could be spending on other things. My son is one of the older kids in the class, and he tells me he doesn’t feel like he’s learning very much. He already knows how to sit still when he needs to, so the big focus on classroom behavior isn’t really serving him right now. I’m worried that he’s not being challenged academically or creatively.

At the same time…our school is a local public school that is underfunded and in desperate need for teachers. My son’s teacher is relatively new and young, and I am so grateful to her for wanting to teach in spite of all the hurdles that I know she experiences in this profession. My question for you: Am I off base that this is an issue? Maybe it’s a common practice in elementary school. If I do bring it up with her, how should I approach it without making her feel criticized? Ultimately I’m not sure how much this matters in first grade, and your guidance would be appreciated.

—Put Off by Points

https://slate.com/human-interest/2022/10/teachers-rewards-system-behavior.html

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