When to Give Your Student More Responsibility
The secret to teaching can be summarized by an old Chinese proverb:
Tell me and I will forget.
Show me and I will remember.
Involve me and I will understand.
Step back and I will act.
Part of teaching is instilling responsibility, and parents and Learning Coaches need to know when their student is ready for more responsibility.
The Gradual Release of Responsibility
Before students can become independent learners, they need to know how to read directions, follow instructions, check their work, consult sources, use classroom materials, and more. Until students have mastered these skills and can apply them to their schoolwork, they need frequent guidance from Learning Coaches and teachers. Learning Coaches who are specifically observing their student for such skills have a better opportunity to address any issues that arise and thereby lead the student toward that independence.
The rate at which students gain independence can depend on age, but it also depends on how quickly Learning Coaches grant students new responsibilities. Often, we have trouble determining how much responsibility students can handle, either overestimating what students understand or underestimating their capabilities.
So, how do we know when students are ready for more responsibility?
Test Your Student’s Capabilities
It’s not always easy to determine when your student is ready to take on a new challenge. You can judge his or her preparedness based on age, experience, and personal needs, but you can’t know for sure until you give your student the opportunity.
In fact, letting students take on responsibilities much earlier than normal can be a good thing. Earlier this month, NPR reported that letting kids serve themselves at mealtimes can reduce overeating, improve coordination, and make them more open to trying new foods. These kids could make a mess at first, but learning how to measure small portions for themselves could help them establish positive lifelong eating habits.
Giving your student more control over household tasks is an effective way to boost his or her sense of responsibility without the pressure of grades and deadlines. The more responsibility your student is given, the more confidence he or she will bring to academic obligations.
In the end, give your student a little more responsibility than you think he or she can handle. Your student will let you know if he or she needs help or feels overwhelmed. Pushing your child demonstrates your faith in his or her abilities, and it will teach him or her to tackle new challenges without hesitation.
Resources for Building Responsibility
Looking for more information about giving responsibility to students? View the following resources to encourage your student to:
- Develop his or her identity and social independence.
- Learn and apply independent study skills.
- Create his or her own schedule.
- Build intrinsic motivation.
- Take on more financial responsibility.
- Find a part-time job.
- Set deadlines to achieve goals.
- Prepare for adulthood and plan for the future.
How do you know when to give your student more responsibility? Share your advice below.