“We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
Successful students are responsible students. Personal responsibility requires intentional, deliberate, and planned actions of an individual (Baumeister & Vohs). These learned behaviors, also termed “executive functions,” demand self-regulation – the process that enables us to plan, initiate, and complete an activity while controlling temper, maintaining attention, and responding to feedback from others. Perhaps the most important aspect of self-regulation is self-reflection, which prompts students to evaluate their performance and learn from their experiences; this spurs change in the future based on past results. Reflecting on successful outcomes promotes self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment, which produces motivated and engaged students.
We believe responsible students possess the following “habits of the mind” or “soft skills”:
- Response Inhibition
- Working Memory
- Emotional Control
- Sustained Attention
- Task Initiation
- Time Management
- Goal-Directed Persistence
By equipping students with these positive skills beginning in pre-school, they will be prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation. Employers indicate personal responsibility is preferred over knowledge of a trade or skill. A trade can be taught; however, responsibility or the lack thereof is typically established as children reach early adulthood.
Our teachers have been charged with explicitly teaching and modeling the aforementioned skills. They understand the importance of maintaining emotionally safe classrooms which promote rational thinking and meaningful learning, yet another important aspect of executive functions.