George Lucas Educational Foundation

How do you teach responsibility?

How do you teach responsibility?

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I recently had an experience in which I did something I shouldn't have. It will end up costing me about $200, but it became an unintended lesson on responsibility. You can read the whole account here: I suspect there are less expensive ways to teach responsibility. How do you do it?

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John Schnabel's picture

That's cool how it affected them.

I teach 1st/2nd split so it is different. But I do teach responsibility. A few years ago, I began using a class currency 'tickets'. They get tickets for work done well, good behavior, and for completing their classroom jobs. They can use the tickets to buy an activity during what we call 'free choice time' which is about 15 minutes. (It has really been interesting because it has all of the dynamics of money as it relates to the US... inflation, giving, class-levels, need for tax, loan/interest...).

Anyhow, responsibility is kind of built into my management plan. 'Restitution'. Not usually a 1st/2nd grade word, but if they caused some one harm or have inconvenienced someone in some way they have to make it up to that person, usually by compensating them with tickets usually. I usually don't set an amount. I usually simply ask them to take it out into the hall and work it out.

Stephanie Volkov's picture

I think that you have to use a multitude of ways to teach responsibility included the token/earning type of situation, as well as grasping for situations to present themselves. I am also a firm believer in animals or class pets to teach responsibility. This is especially true with our special needs students who have a hard time learning indirectly. Most students love animals anyways and letting them have responsibility for a pet teaches them alot about responsibility in more generalized situations.

Jeannie's picture

This is a tough learn. Many kids seem to grasp what to do to get what they want but are not self-motivated to do these things. They still have to be prompted and reminded of the reasoning behind doing whatever it is. And then they have to be reminded again, and again and again. Tickets or money or food are decent encouragers and work in many cases for them to do something, but truly teaching them how to be responsible continues to be a distant possibility and not really a reality IMO.

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