i'm a public school parent. i have a daughter finishing first grade. all year long, the teacher has used a "talking monitor" system during "centers" time. ("centers" time is when the "teams" of 4-5 students engage in literacy activities on their own as a group... while the teacher does other things in her classroom.)
the students are supposed to work independently as a group and are supposed to only be discussing the work at hand... not idle chit chat or goofing around. this is where the talking monitor comes in. each day one child is assigned that role. (nevermind that the kid is not engaged in any literacy activities during this hour-long+ stretch of time.) the talking monitor is the tattle tale. this person has to tell the teacher whenever they catch a classmate "talking."
you can imagine that there is a good deal of lying and exaggeration and retribution going on... someone tells on someone falsely. someone tells just to get back at someone for something else, etc. etc.
and then this culture of "telling on" each other carries over into the after school hours.
personally, as a parent, i find it a real bore and i am hoping that it is something unique to this particular teacher. maybe we will be free of it next year in second grade? or -- i hope not -- i will discover that it's the "new thing" in education at our school.
yikes! anyone else been through similar?
I understand the idea behind...but honestly, if adults at university level can't handle 100% focus on the task at hand without a bit of social chit-chatting between work how can you expect young children to behave differently? Besides, I think the social chit-chatting is as important as the work to practise social skills and development. School is not only there to put knowledge about things into a child's head, but to help them develop into functional adults too, no? And part of that is learning how to balance chit-chatting and work to get the assigned work done on time.
Assigning children to tell on one another is just plain wrong, since that teaches that it is not okay to chit-chat which really is far, far, far from the truth. What is not okay is chit-chatting and therefore not getting the work done on time. There is a HUGE difference which the teacher need to be aware off.
I think a reward and consequence system would work better to teach the children the balance of work and talk. A reward might be a golden star in a book and a consequence no star. By the end of each month, the kid with most stars might be rewarded with something small, depending on the child.
I haven't seen a system with an appointed classroom tattle-tale. That seems like a bad idea all around.
I have seen a classroom system to control noise levels that works well with children around that age but it involved every child and empowered them all to help. A small bell was available on a shelf. If talk became too loud and disturbing as the children worked, any child could give the bell a brief ring and say something like "It's too noisy to concentrate; please talk softly". Everyone would instantly quieten. It was magical.
This system didn't attempt to control the content of the conversations, just the noise level. There were other methods to keep the students focused on their work.
This was a Montessori classroom, though, with an emphasis on nurturing self-direction, self-regulation, independence and a mutual respect for other's efforts and work. The bell system was just one element of many to help the students concentrate during their cherished work period.
My kids charter K class uses "centers" to break up the day. I think they are broken into four groups and two groups are doing "center" and two groups are working with either the K teacher or the math specialist. Gives more one on one. time.
I've never heard of a "talking monitor" but I can see the rational if one student is supposed to be the leader. I can also see how it might not work.
I've seen it used in french immersion (tattling for talking in English), and yes, I think it was a bad idea. There was a lot of favouritism involved, and it seemed to add fuel to any pre-existing nastiness that was going on.
I started working at a school this last year and none of the classrooms I was in used a system like that. The teachers seemed to try to minimize tattling, not encourage it.
but everything has pros and cons
They don't have anything like that in my kids' schools.
In the noisy lunchroom, dd2's school does have a green, yellow, and red cup. If the teacher changes the cup in the middle of the table to red (starts at green, then yellow) then that means they are too noisy and they have to finish in silence. I'm not a huge fan of that, but at least it doesn't make one of the kids into a tattle tale.
"All you fascists are bound to lose" — Woody Guthrie
No, and I would hate it, honestly. My daughter in her 3rd grade class works together in small groups all the time, and the teacher walks around and monitors, and may call for silence when things are getting loud or off topic, but I think it's odd to have a system like this, unless there were children who had a habit of talking so much as to keep the others from doing what they were there to do.
My son, who just finished second grade, has a habit of tattling that we're trying to break. It has not been encouraged at school. His teachers have consistently instructed him not to tattle, but he still does it (less so every year, but he was still doing it occasionally at the end of school year). So, no, at least at my son's school, something like this would not be encouraged. I certainly hope that the talking monitor idea was just a bad experiment on the part of your daughter's teacher and not some kind of weird policy at her school. If a similar policy is instituted in second grade, I definitely recommend addressing your concerns to the teacher.
Happy transplanted resident of the "not so deep" South. Married to a great man for 9 years and counting. Mom to two wonderful gifts from God: DS (8) always moving, atypically thinking, ballet dancing boy and long-awaited DD (2) cuddly, curious, fearless, book loving girl.