How technology supplements our Positive Behaviour For Learning (PB4L) approach

My school, Tarawera High School, is a PB4L school. Put simply, that means that our focus is on rewarding positive behaviour rather than punishing negative behaviour. This works on the premise that positive behaviour can be learnt, and a safe and caring environment that supports positive learning behaviour needs to be created. We push this through our school values of M.A.N.A, which stand for the following:

Manaakitanga – Respect

Ako – Teaching and learning

Ngakau-pono РIntegrity

Awhina – Caring

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School-wide, students are given MANA cards when they exhibit any of these positive behaviours. When they receive a certain amount of MANA cards, they are then rewarded with such things as canteen vouchers, movie tickets etc. The system works really well, and the students work hard to get their MANA cards. Recently, our school, along with the community, have also introduced community MANA cards. This means that certain shops around the town can give students community MANA cards for exhibiting these skills around the town. This is a great initiative that is pushing our students to be positive citizens at all times.

I am lucky enough to work alongside Julian Reid (@julianreid2), who is a guru in classroom management, and PB4L in particular. He has set up a system within our year 10 cohort that utilises Class Dojo to administer our MANA points. Class Dojo is superb as it lets us set the learning behaviours, which we base on our four MANA values:

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 3.12.24 pmEach student has their own Avatar, and we can quickly give out MANA points at any time (through either the Class Dojo website or on the Class Dojo apps on our tablets or phones). If our students bring us MANA cards from other teachers or from within the community, it is easy for us to add these to their tally on Class Dojo. During our lessons, we also have one of our TV displays showing the MANA point totals for each student (see the snapshot below). This also makes a nice little noise when someone in the class is awarded a point – which is motivating for other students in the class.

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Class Dojo also gives the option where parents can view their child’s points, as well as acting as a messenger service between teachers and parents (see my previous post: Fostering a learning triangle through technology).

Julian has also come up with the great idea of allowing students to award MANA points to one of their peers each week who they think has demonstrated any of the MANA values. This works in well with one of our goals of creating an environment that is driven by student agency. Each Friday, we put a Google form on our class blog that asks the students to nominate someone that deserves a MANA point and what they did to deserve it.

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We were blown away by the some of the responses from the students (last week was our first time trying this), and it was awesome to see some of the reasons that the students were giving for their nominations:

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Once everyone had completed the form, we were then able to easily add the points onto Class Dojo.

Final thoughts:

Julian has set up a system where technology (both Class Dojo and Google forms) has made it much more efficient for us to promote our school-wide PB4L initiative. Not only is it efficient, I also believe that it is more engaging for our students (and parents). I would highly recommend using Class Dojo if you are looking to reward positive behaviour, and I would love to hear of any other approaches that educators around the world are using.