A shiny paper star once worked well as a motivating device for an elementary student, but many modern junior scholars need more than a star to develop sound accountability skills. Experienced parents have more up their sleeves than a box of stars, including using a sophisticated system of rewards and consistent methods to encourage student accountability. Developing accountability in primary students and self-responsibility for their work isn't difficult, but it does require planning.
Cause and Effect
Students understand the importance of accountability when shown the relationship between the cause and effect linked to student actions. Parents demonstrate this process by using consistent forms of praise and rewards to encourage student academic achievements and sound work habits. Setting down a system of clear standards, including a daily timetable for completing homework, helps elementary students understand the effect of good work habits and high academic grades.
Goal Setting and Tracking
Effective accountability systems help children set goals, both small and large, and encourage self-monitoring and formal tracking to reach these goals. Using a symbol chart to record accomplishments helps students set goals. The charts help students quickly see their results each day. Upper elementary students typically have the ability to focus on achievements for longer times, while students in the lower primary grades generally focus only on daily or weekly goals and achievements.
Rewards give elementary students physical items or special permissions for quality work. Motivations also include praise and public recognition, according to John Shindler, co-director of the Alliance for the Study of School Climate. Stickers and similar small awards generally motivate young learners at the lower-grade levels. Parents using reward systems that incorporate opportunities for increasingly sophisticated duties and privileges help children develop higher levels of accountability.
Modeling desired behavior helps young students learn accountability. Upper elementary students understand the practical application of being accountable for actions by listening to role models and reading stories about people mastering personal accountability. Community members, such as local business owners and successful high school students, offer valuable life lessons when speaking to children about the importance of being accountable for academic work and study habits.
- Council for Exceptional Children; Teaching Self-Determination to Early Elementary Students; Wendy W. Murawski, et al.
- Journal of Teaching in Physical Education; The Effects of Personal Accountability and Personal Responsibility Instruction on Select Off-Task and Positive Social Behaviors; Tom Sharpe, et al.
- National Center on Educational Outcomes: Accountability for English Language Learners
- California State University, Los Angeles: Transformative Classroom Management
- Vanderbilt University The Iris Center: Case Study Unit -- Fostering Student Accountability For Classroom Work
- IEEE Xplore: Recruiting Future Engineers Through Effective Guest Speaking in Elementary School Classrooms
- TEKOA Academy of Accelerated Studies STEM School: STEM Curriculum Implementation
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images