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Promoting student responsibility

[DEC. 18, 2006]  Chick Moorman, director of the Institute for Personal Power, suggests, "If you want a behavior, you must teach a behavior."

One immediate way to promote student responsibility is to add three words to classrooms:
  • Pick

  • Choose

  • Decide

These words need to be seen, verbalized and repeated constantly. Students need to understand they are responsible for their actions.

When a student doesn't turn in homework, it is that person's choice. If a student doesn't prepare for a test, it is a choice. Educators need students to know that they "pick, choose, decide."

For the student who doesn't turn in homework, educators need to tell the person it was a choice.

Students pick, choose and decide all the time. Educators can promote responsibility by making sure students see the words "pick," "choose" and "decide" posted in classrooms. Place each word on brightly colored paper and place them where everyone can see the words. Every time they can, educators need to use these words to let students know they were responsible. "I see you chose not to bring the required materials to class." "You decided to do the more challenging problem."

In his book "Teacher Talk," Moorman encourages the use of these words "to help your students see themselves as responsible for their own behaviors." A key for promoting student responsibility is making sure students realize they are responsible for their actions. Too often students want teachers to take all the responsibility for every aspect of learning.

To discover additional ways to promote student responsibility, Performance Learning Systems offers the graduate course Successful Teaching for Acceptance of Responsibility, known as STAR.

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Jeff Keller, head of the math department at Lincoln-Way East High School, comments: "STAR, like all PLS courses, gives particular strategies to use in a given situation, but it goes a step further and gives exact words to be said in each situation."

Uncover the words and strategies for yourself this spring. Learn new techniques to eliminate irresponsible student behavior and empower students to achieve personal power and responsibility. The three-hour graduate course Successful Teaching for Acceptance of Responsibility will be offered in Calumet City, Naperville, Petersburg, Rockford and Wood River. It can also be brought directly to your school.

For dates and times, visit

Teacher recertification

These classes can be used for renewal of Illinois teaching certificates. Courses include activities related to meeting the needs of students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment, as needed for Illinois recertification.

Master's degree program

The Illinois Board of Higher Education has approved Rockford College to offer its instructional strategies track at off-campus sites across the entire state. This track of the college's Master of Arts in Teaching program, which consists of a 32-hour thesis option or 36-hour non-thesis with portfolio option, can include up to seven Performance Learning System courses. It is practical, relevant and highly participatory. Student feedback has been exceptionally positive. For information or application materials, contact Dr. Bob Middleton, 800-292-0209 or

[Performance Learning Systems]

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