The Role of Accountability in Classroom Management

Accountability is a crucial element for the effectiveness of any family, business, political system or–classroom. To maintain a positive environment in your classroom at all times, you are going to have to make students accountable for every action or behavior that does not contribute to that environment; and what accountability really means is that there is a significant consequence for not behaving properly.

The first step in this direction is to be exactly sure what you yourself find acceptable and unacceptable. Have a list of rules that cover every behavior, positive and negative, that you require from students. Any time a student veers from this acceptable behavior, be ready to hold them accountable. Every time!

Do you let certain behaviors ‘slide’ once in awhile, and at other times try to give consequences? This kind of inconsistency will lead to constant turmoil in the classroom, whereas if a student knows beforehand the response they will receive for undesirable behavior, they will not attempt it in the first place–that is, IF you have the leverage to back it up.

If you spend your time warning students, telling them to be quiet, reminding them to get on task, and find yourself endlessly repeating directions because they are not followed, it means you have not built in accountability for your standards–there is no significant consequence for not doing the undesired behavior, so the student repeats it.

Develop a system of accountability–know in advance the consequence for any undesirable behavior, positive or negative ( in other words, it is not good enough for a student to not talk, they also must exhibit the positive behavior of being on task ).

Some ways that teachers try to get classroom management under control that DON’T work are lecturing, nagging or repeating directions, yelling, calling parents, and giving warnings.

These do not work because they really do not hold the student accountable.

You must find a consequence that matters to the student–not a consequence that you think SHOULD matter to the student, but one that really does.

Once you find something the student cares about–like, for instance, having to come after school–you have leverage. This means when you give a direction, the student will now listen, because he or she does not want to lose something they value more–their time.