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Teaching Strategies to Make Students Accountable

Janelle Cox

One of the many challenges teachers face is using teaching strategies to keep students accountable for themselves. Holding students accountable doesn’t mean that you’re a mean teacher, it actually means that you are doing your job. As a teacher, it’s your job to use teaching strategies to teach students to be accountable for their own success, you are essentially giving them the tool they need to succeed not only in school, but in life as well. These life lessons will help students prepare for their future as well as help them understand how to be responsible. To foster student accountability within your classroom, and help your students become responsible learners, try these teaching strategies.

Teaching Strategies to Create a Positive Classroom Atmosphere

The single best way that you can create a positive classroom atmosphere where all students feel respected is to create 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 meet them on the first day of school. Remember when you were a child and your parents would always say, “Treat others how you would want to be treated?” Well this saying goes for your students too. It’s important to create a place of mutual respect within your classroom. Remind students that they are in charge of their own behavior and success.

Utilize All That Technology Has to Offer

Technology has a way of helping students stay accountable for themselves. For example, if a student is absent and missed class, then all they have to do to stay accountable is to go to their school website to get the work that they missed. Long gone are the days when students can say, “I was sick and didn’t get the homework” or the classic, “The dog ate my homework.” Technology has a way of keeping every one responsible because you can access it any time and from anywhere.

Have Students Assume Responsibility for Themselves 

Give students the opportunity to take the lead for themselves and formulate their own plan of academic success. Students who assume responsibility of their own mistakes will learn how to be personally accountable for themselves. Teachers can foster this type of accountability by giving students the tools on how they can improve. For example, you can have students take the lead and be in 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.

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Offer Advantages for Classroom Participation

When students are involved in what’s going on in the classroom, then they are more likely to be accountable for themselves and their work. Try offering advantages for classroom participation, this way the more that students participate in class, the more likely they’ll be invested in themselves. You can reward students with participation points that can help boost their grade, or give them a day off of homework. These advantages for their positive actions in class will help them learn to be responsible for their own success.

Have Students Invest in Themselves

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

Creating a classroom that is conducive to accountability will help students take responsibility for their own success, which is a powerful tool that will help them better themselves and their future. One of the best lessons that you can teach a child is to be responsible and accountable for themselves.

Do you have any teaching strategies that you use for holding students accountable? Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas on this topic in the comment section below, we would love to hear from you.


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 Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.