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The Key to Student Responsibility

classroom management May 17, 2017

Student Responsibility

When Fisher and Frey wrote about the gradual release of responsibility in 2008, I remember thinking, "It's about time someone talked about it." Every day, I encounter great teachers who intentionally do this. It's part of the craft of teaching.

Parenting and Teaching

As parents, our job is to teach our children to become independent. We teach and train our children to become happy, healthy, independent adults. We teach, model, assist and then support our children as they try, fail, adjust and try again.  This is why I am always surprised when the gradual release of responsibility is even a question in education. It works. Why would we do anything different in education?

"I won't do anything for you that you can do for yourselves."

A fellow educator tells his students, "I won't do anything for you that you can do for yourselves." That includes trying something new. As a parent, I know my children will only do what is expected of them. If I pick up after them, they'll let me. Also, I will now have the frustration of training them all over again. The same is true for our students. Our students will only take responsibility for their education and their decisions when we let them and expect them to take the reins. When we take on too much, our students lose the chance to grow and become independent.

I Can

Finally, our students deserve the opportunity and the confidence that comes from knowing THEY CAN! I can is a very powerful phrase. We know this. Ww know the feeling of discovering we can do something after working at it. Our students deserver this as well. Being intentional in allowing students to try, fail, adjust and try again, just as we would our own children, is powerful indeed.

Teach joyfully,



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