Personal Responsibility
(for Students)


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What is Personal Responsibility?  

Personal responsibility, particularly as it relates to study skills, is taking charge of one’s own learning.  It implies completing assignments on time, studying for tests, taking the responsibility for one’s own learning mistakes or failures, and performing to the best of one’s ability.  Personal responsibility recognizes the importance of parents and teachers as learning partners but puts the student in charge.



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Web Resources on Personal Responsibility: 

  1. Self management:
  2. Preparing to learn strategies:
  3. Guidelines for developing study skills:


Common Q/A on Personal Responsibility:


1. How can I learn to be more responsible?


Being responsible is a learned behavior.  It is not an accident and it requires patience and effort.  If you want to be more responsible and practice the skills that will help you, you can become more responsible.  Begin by practicing these steps:

·        Complete the chores your parents give you to do

·        Listen and follow directions in school

·        Ask questions when you are confused or don’t understand

·        Write down your assignments and projects

·        Set a regular schedule to help you complete your school work

·        Study regularly for tests

·        Ask for help from others (friends, parents, teachers) when necessary

·        Accept that being a student is your job and plan to do it well

2. Why do I need to do my homework?


Homework is assigned for many reasons but primarily to practice a new skill or to extend classroom learning opportunities.  Teachers want students to independently apply new learning, manage their time effectively and/or build confidence in their understanding and application of information.  Some teachers grade homework, while others merely acknowledge its completion.  Regardless, the completion of assigned tasks demonstrates effective study skills and is an important measure of personal responsibility.  Parents and teachers generally grant more freedom and privileges to students who fulfill their learning responsibilities.

3. What is self-advocacy?  Why does it matter anyway?

Self-advocacy refers to an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs, and rights.  It involves making informed decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions.  It implies knowing your strengths, weaknesses, goals and interests and not allowing others to sway you unnecessarily.  As a learner, it can become important for you to speak up to other students, your teachers or other adults to share an opinion, debate a position, disagree with a statement or request special consideration.  Feeling comfortable with your ability to advocate for your needs or position improves your sense of confidence and competence as a learner.

4.  How do I get my parents to “back off”?


Your parents, along with your teacher, are your partners in the educational process.  Your parents want you to do well in school and in life.  It is part of their role as parents to monitor your success as a student and make sure you are doing your work and fulfilling your school responsibilities.  Sometimes, in their desire to be helpful and supportive, parents do not realize when it is time to give more independence to their student.  Talk to your parents about your concerns with their “attentiveness” and explain the expectations you would have for their help.


Work with your parents to develop expectations that work for both of you.  Keep in mind, the easiest way to get your parents to “back off” is to complete tasks on time and to the best of your ability. 

5.   What if it really is the teacher’s fault?


Teachers do make mistakes and occasionally a school problem really can be the fault of the teacher or adult in charge.  In these situations, it is important to practice your self-advocacy skills and explain your concern to the teacher.  If this action does not produce satisfactory results, weigh the importance of involving others.  Your decision will depend upon the significance of the situation and what is resting on the outcome (grade, trust, reputation, etc.)  If you decide to involve a parent or other school official, explain the situation as factually as possible and ask for their suggestions.  Avoid blame or other negative emotions that are likely to result in further problems.  Follow the course of action that develops and resolve the situation as soon as possible. 


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