One of the greatest things we can do as a school and a community is to help our students learn how to be accountable for their own actions, both inside the school walls, and outside in the community. Too often, Generation Z is called out for being disconnected, disaffected and generally entitled. At Lutheran High School, we don’t believe that for a second. We trust our students to be responsible and engaged, and are here to help to foster accountability in our younger generations. This article highlights 5 ways we attempt to do just that, every day.
Create a Culture of Trust and Responsibility
One of the first ways we can start to achieve our goal to teach accountability is to create a culture where students are trusted to be responsible. This means we expect our students to follow through on their commitments. We trust that our students are smart enough, organized enough and motivated enough to be responsible, and we think expecting a level of accountability from all students helps them to support each other. This creates a culture of support for everyone at Lutheran High School to remain responsible and trust others to do the same.
Set High Standards and Clear Expectations
Another way we hope to foster accountability among our students is to set high expectations, and be very clear about them. When standards and expectations are clear from the outset, it is much easier to follow through. Nothing kills accountability faster than unclear expectations or standards that seem to change at a whim, or even worse, enforced unevenly. We know our students have the ability to meet high expectations, in school, and in life. If we can be clear enough about what those expectations are, we find our students most often succeed in remaining accountable.
Give Students Ownership of the Learning Process
Of course we have curricula that guide our teachers and courses, but our students have ownership over their own learning process in many ways. This means they are free to choose when to complete their assignments, as long as they are meeting deadlines. They may study alone, or in groups, seek supplemental information online, or even participate in online study groups in a myriad of subjects. Students may seek help from our teachers and support staff, or not. There are many different ways for each student to take responsibility for their own learning process. It is important to us that each student feels a sense of personal responsibility for their own learning in a way that encourages them to explore the best methods for their own personal growth. We believe this helps to foster a lifelong sense of personal accountability.
Help Students Learn to Self-Assess Their Work
In addition to encouraging ownership in the learning process, we also encourage students to evaluate their own efforts on homework assignments and class projects. Our teachers provide grade guidelines and rubrics for all major assignments, and our mission is to make sure each student understands how to use such guidelines to evaluate their own work. The ability to judge one’s own effort helps in so many life situations, from college coursework to job applications, even work tasks later in one’s life.
Connect the Classroom to the Home
At Lutheran High School, we focus on fostering growth in the whole student, not only in the context of academics. From social connections to life skills to faith and friendship, our students walk out of LuHi with confidence in many areas of life, and part of our effort to foster accountability is to connect the classroom to the home. Understanding the importance of personal responsibility is crucial to success on school assignments and classroom learning, but it is equally important in the context of promises at home on issues like chores, family relationships and contributions to the community.