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Throughout elementary school, certain behavior management techniques were implemented to keep students under control and reward them for good behavior. One behavior management strategy that I wasn’t too fond of was the clip chart, which publicly displayed student behavior and rated or berated students based on their conduct.
For those who are wondering what I am talking about, the clip chart was a chart hung in the classroom that rated a student’s behavior by a color code. Green usually meant the child’s behavior was great, yellow meant child’s behavior was okay, blue meant that the child will have to face some sort of consequence for poor behavior and red meant that the teacher would be contacting the parent of the child for bad behavior.
While this technique might have been beneficial for some, many teachers and students have come forward about their distaste for this method, as it not only publicly humiliates a student for having a bad day, but also isn’t an effective method for positive reinforcement.
I remember when I was in elementary school, having to “clip down” on the chart would throw my whole day off and I would end up on red by the end of the day because this method just made me mad. It didn’t make me think about my actions, rather it made me spiteful and bitter.
Furthermore, students who struggled with mental disorders such as ADHD and anxiety were often on the lower end of the clip chart, as these mental disorders cause younger children to act out and keeps them from focusing. Students who struggled with mental health were ultimately disadvantaged when it comes to this method.
The teacher I know who used this method was not discrete about it, either, and would instead tell me to move my clip in front of my peers, which caused me to feel embarrassed.
An alternative method to this management strategy would be something that reinforces and rewards positive behavior. According to the University of Pacific, students are more likely to have good behavior when teachers are pointing out their positive behaviors because positive reinforcements make students proud of themselves and motivate them to receive more compliments from their teachers and adults around them.
Overall, the clip chart method is extremely harmful to students, and I don’t believe that teachers or school districts can use this method with a good conscience. This method genuinely made students like me feel bad about themselves and has given students a negative complex.