Growing Accountability: The Seeds of Change

Have you ever felt like nobody ever owns up to their mistakes these days? Don’t you wish people would own it and keep their promises? If so, the book ‘Crucial Accountability’ by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler is a must-read for you. This insightful guide not only shines a light on the importance of addressing violated expectations, broken promises, and disruptive behaviour but also equips you with the practical tools to do so effectively. As a high school student, you have the power to create a culture of accountability within your daily interactions, changing your learning environment and paving the way for a more harmonious and empowered future. So, why not take the first step towards growing a culture of accountability by reading ‘Crucial Accountability’ today? It’s not just a book; it’s a practical guide to help you overcome the challenges of accountability and empower you to take control of your actions and their consequences.

Imagine a scenario where a classmate’s disruptive behaviour disrupts your learning. How should you respond? Accountability is not just about pointing fingers or being blamed; it’s about taking responsibility for your actions and their impact on others, creating a classroom culture built on mutual respect, cooperation, and a shared commitment to learning. As a high school student, you have a unique opportunity to take control of your learning journey, develop commitment, develop self-confidence, and acquire essential life skills like time management and self-discipline. Our Personal Development Framework at Rudder4life serves as a guiding compass for students, promoting responsible behaviour and accountability for their actions, which can lead to a more focused and productive classroom environment where everyone feels respected and valued.

Imagine how weeds will soon overrun a garden left untended. Similarly, failing to challenge accountability issues allows them to fester and grow, potentially leading to unpredictable outcomes that can disrupt the learning environment. However, with the right approach, you can effectively address these challenges and create a more accountable and harmonious environment. Let’s explore five of the most common accountability scenarios the book suggests you might face, and how addressing them can prevent negative outcomes and create a positive learning environment:

  • Confronting Authority Figures: Calling out people in positions of authority, such as teachers or school administrators, can be daunting. However, the key is to make them feel safe and communicate that their behaviour will eventually lead to negative consequences. Approach the situation calmly and emphasise that your goal is to address the issue, not to attack them personally.
  • Separating from the Group: Imagine a scenario where you notice your classmates violating school rules or engaging in unethical practices. In such cases, it’s important to address the issue tactfully. Start by asking clarifying questions, such as, “I’m not trying to accuse anyone, but I’m curious about the principle we’re supposed to follow. Could you help me understand the circumstances?” This approach is more effective than coming across as a harsh critic.
  • One-Sided Disagreements: Disagreements in relationships, whether with peers or teachers, can be challenging to navigate. If you find yourself in a situation where one party is unwilling to engage in a discussion, don’t attack them. Instead, express your concern for the relationship and your desire to find a shared understanding.
  • Dealing with Hearsay: It’s not uncommon for students to share negative information about their peers with teachers or school administrators. As a responsible student, you should avoid relying on second-hand information to criticise or judge others. Instead, educators should be encouraged to gather their firsthand information before taking any action.
  • Addressing Incompetence: Sometimes, you may encounter classmates or even teachers who exhibit a lack of competence but believe they are performing well. In such cases, it’s important to approach the situation with empathy and a focus on improvement. Start by engaging in accountability discussions on smaller matters, gradually building up to more serious issues. This approach can help the individual recognise their shortcomings and work towards improvement.

Remember, accountability is not about blame or punishment; it’s about growing a culture of responsibility, respect, and growth. Overcoming these challenging situations with a calm and constructive mindset can contribute to a more accountable and harmonious high school community.

So, implementing accountability in high school can be a transformative journey. Here are some strategies we recommend:  

  • Establishing clear expectations and consequences for disruptive behaviour: High school can be like a ship sailing in the ocean, and implementing accountability is like having a strong anchor to keep it steady. Just like how an anchor keeps a ship in place, establishing clear expectations and consequences for disruptive behaviour can help keep the classroom environment calm and safe.
  • Engage in private discussions with classmates to address issues: Think of private discussions with classmates as the “below deck” conversations on the ship, where the captain and crew can discuss and address any issues that may arise without causing a commotion among the passengers. Similarly, private discussions can help address issues without publicly shaming the student and causing further disruption.
  • Utilise peer teaching strategies: This can be compared to teamwork on a sports team. Just like how players work together to achieve a common goal, students can support one another and take responsibility for their actions by teaching and helping each other.
  • Involving peers in setting classroom guidelines: It can be likened to a democracy, where everyone has a voice and a say in how things are run. By involving students in the decision-making process, they’ll feel a sense of ownership and understanding of the rules.
  • Documenting and distributing the rules: It can be compared to a captain’s log, where important information is recorded and shared with the crew. Documenting the rules reinforces mutual respect for the established expectations and helps maintain a positive classroom environment.
  • Disciplining problems individually: This can be compared to a coach giving individual feedback to players. Just like how a coach would provide feedback to help players improve, teachers can address disruptive behaviour individually while maintaining positive relationships with their students.

As you embark on your high school journey, remember that you have the power to shape your future and that of your community. By adopting the principles of accountability outlined in ‘Crucial Accountability,’ you can become a means for positive change and drive meaningful progress. Let accountability be the guiding light that informs your path, fuelling your passion for constructive discussion, strong relationships, and harmonious coexistence. Together, we can grow a culture of accountability and create a thriving, collaborative high school community that sets an example for the world. The future is in your hands – let’s make it a bright and accountable one!

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