I was born and raised in the poor countryside of Tay Ninh province in Vietnam, where a proper meal was hard to come by and studying was the least of parents’ concerns. However, I was luckier than most — my parents believed my education should be a priority.
When I was a primary school student, I found school to be quite boring. Teachers mainly lectured the class while we took notes. I couldn’t help but wonder if learning could be more interesting. So, I set out to become a teacher who created a more engaging approach to learning.
Fast forward through high school, University, and 10 years of teaching — here I am: Teaching 5th grade at Vietnam Australia International School in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I’m still working hard to make my dream a reality, but now with the help of ClassDojo.
Why do I use ClassDojo?
- To create a positive classroom culture
- To communicate with parents
- To motivate students in learning
Creating a positive classroom culture
I use ClassDojo to encourage important skills, such as working hard, helping others, or problem solving. Students are given feedback points as they display these skills throughout the day. Feedback can be given from a computer or through a mobile device, allowing teachers to give points in the hallways, lunchroom, and at other special events. At the end of each month, we celebrate students’ progress and how much they have achieved together.
Communicating with parents
ClassDojo also helps me communicate with students’ parents more effectively. Parents are able to view their child’s feedback on ClassDojo, I’m able to instantly message them with important updates, and I can easily share photos and videos to our Class Story. Parents can send me messages, too. For parents who are unable to access the internet or do not have a smartphone, I am able to print out their child’s feedback for the week or month, and send it home for them to see.
Motivating students in learning
From growth mindset, to perseverance, to empathy, ClassDojo’s Big Ideas Series has helped increase my students motivation naturally. I simply play the videos for my students without providing any background information, and ask for them to share their thoughts. After watching they are able to point out the positive takeaways from the videos, and can’t wait to watch the next video. I can immediately recognize the maturity of the children and their increase in motivation. I’ve also received positive feedback from parents at home, who were so happy to see the shift in their children’s mindset.
More time for what’s important
Creating an engaging classroom environment for my students is still a top priority every day, and ClassDojo helps me do this more efficiently. I now have more time to do what makes me happy: helping students develop a love for learning!
Nam Ngo Thanh is a 5th grade teacher at Vietnam Australia International School at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He loves working with his students and is inspired by them every day. He is passionate about technology and enjoys helping teachers incorporate technology into their classrooms. You can follow him on Twitter at @mrnamvas.