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3 Teaching Strategies to Keep Students Accountable

Janelle Cox

One of the many challenges teachers face is keeping students accountable for themselves.

Making students accountable for their own success is not an easy feat, especially when you have students who are constantly making excuses and blaming others for their poor grades or misbehavior.

While school is not a paid position for students, it is a time in their life where they must learn important lessons and habits that will prepare them for their future. To foster student accountability, teachers need to implement teaching strategies that will help students become responsible learners.

Here are three of these teaching strategies to try in your classroom today.

1. Teaching Strategies to Create a Positive Atmosphere

The first place that you can start is to create a positive classroom atmosphere where students feel respected: A Space that is conducive to student accountability and learning. Your first goal is to strive to make students feel respected from the moment that you greet them at the classroom door. Treat students how you would want to be treated, and you will find that you will have created a place of mutual respect. Remind students that they are in charge of their own behavior and successes.

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Teachers who create a positive and respectful classroom environment send a message to their students that they care about them. When students know that you care, then you will have a greater chance of promoting personal responsibility. In turn, a student who values you will be more willing to work with you and even respect you more.

2. Allow Students to Take the Lead

Students should have the opportunity to take the lead of their own success and formulate their own plan of academic success. When given the chance, students who assume responsibility of their own mistakes will learn personal accountability. No child wants to get bad grades, but if they do, then it is up to them to find a way to get them up. Teachers can foster this type of accountability by giving students the tools on how they can improve.

Allowing students to take the lead and take charge of their own academic success by coming up with a plan together: Teacher, student, and parent. Together you can allow the student to take the lead and identify the steps that they will take to meet their goal. To ensure student accountability, and the likelihood that they student will follow through on their plan, all parties (student, teacher, parent) can sign a document of the plan.

When teachers work in tandem with parents, it will encourage the student to reach her goal, while teaching her the value of personal accountability and responsibility.  Meeting the goal will not always be easy, but when you allow the student to take the lead and work together as team with their parents, the child will have a better chance of meeting that goal.

3. Get Students Invested in Themselves and Their Work

The key to getting students to be accountable in themselves and their work is to get students invested in their own work. One way that you can do this is to have students to take a look at their daily commitment to their schoolwork. You can create a rubric or a short survey that students would fill out each day on how well they have met their school responsibilities. Students would then have a visual of how well they have met their objectives. By grading themselves, they are able to see their approach to learning. This tool will help students connect that their effort plays a significant role in their learning.

By holding students accountable for themselves and their work, teachers are giving their students the tools that they need to better themselves for their future. Student accountability generates student responsibility, and students who develop these tools will go very far in life. One of the best lessons that you can teach a child is to be responsible and accountable for themselves.

Do you have any strategies that you use for holding students accountable in your classroom? Please feel free to share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear your ideas.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for, as well as a contributing writer to and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.