June 19, 2020

It's Time to Stop Posting Classroom Progress Charts

As you plan and design your classroom environment for the next school year, please take a moment to reconsider posting classroom displays of student math progress.  In my opinion, these charts do more harm than good.  Students that need more time to master the concepts become humiliated and embarrassed when their names are not moving up the progress chart at the same rate as their classmates.  This can have a long-lasting negative impact on their learning.  I am not against progress charts, but I am against public displays of these records.

It became apparent in my early years as an educator that my true calling is supporting and teaching students that need assistance developing their basic math skills.  I love being able to help students overcome their math fears and move forward with their development of mathematical knowledge.  It is for this reason that I have chosen to spend a significant amount of my 31 years as a professional educator devoted to teaching arithmetic and basic math skills to adults.

My adult learners come to me with a long history of being traumatized by mathematics and classroom experiences.  For many of them, the trauma started early in their lives.  It breaks my heart to hear some of their stories about how they were humiliated in front of their peers or made to feel bad because they didn’t learn their multiplication facts fast enough.  I previously wrote a series of blog posts about my teaching journey.  You may read more about this in the article “My Perpetual 8-Week Challenge”.

(Illustrations by Sarah Pecorino Illustrations)


As you make plans to create your perfect learning environment for the upcoming school year, please take some time to reflect on how your classroom displays and progress charts affect all students.  Find a positive way to encourage and motivate your learners.  Before you post a classroom progress chart for all to see, consider the unintentional embarrassment and long-term educational trauma that specific display may cause for some students.

Please keep student progress charts a personal and private matter!

Thanks for finding positive ways to support your students,

Janet Mitchell

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