“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.
I am thoughtful and considerate of others (feelings, person, belongings, and space).
I think before acting.
I think before speaking.
I resist the urge to say or do something that I know is wrong.
I do not touch anyone or anything that does not belong to me.
I stay within my own personal space.
I know when to listen and when to speak.
I own my choices and behaviors.
Working Memory--"Memory Workspace"-1
I use "remembering" strategies to help me recall information.
I clearly define the concept, theme or problem.
I explain ideas about how to best understand/solve the concept, theme, or problem. I describe why my ideas make sense and how my ideas can be put into action.
I listen actively by providing verbal or nonverbal feedback to indicate that the message was received and to show understanding.
I have adequately prepared and rehearsed for the presentation. I feel ready for my presentation.
I play an active role in creating the group’s goals and deadlines/timelines.
I fulfill my role and my responsibilities.
I am a self-starter. I begin a task without prompting.
When directed, I stop a previous task and begin a new task.
I recognize that something needs to be done.
If I'm stuck, I ask for help.
I recognize when I'm starting to lose control of my emotions.
When I experience difficulty, I know how to "get back on track" and move forward.
I maintain emotional control when others act inappropriately.
I maintain focus by ignoring distractions (internal or external).
I maintain focus until there is an appropriate break time.
I can keep track of my own things.
I have an effective system to organize and access my things.
I respect shared spaces and follow rules for my personal belongings.
I know what to keep and what to throw away.
Planning & Prioritization
I use ideas to create a unique, original, or imaginative product or performance that is directly related to the concept, theme, or problem.
I can communicate a clear vision of the end product or performance.
I create a plan to complete a task and follow through.
I choose the best idea and go with it.
I come to class prepared (materials, homework, additional supplies, etc.).
I come to class on time.
I identify a starting place for my assignments/projects.
I use a calendar/agenda to help prioritze and plan activities and studying.
I create a plan to complete a task and follow through.
I estimate the correct amount of time it takes to complete a task.
I break long assignments into chunks.
I schedule adequate time to prepare for future tests/assessments.
I know my extracurricular/life schedule and plan ahead of time to study or complete work.
I prepare for the unexpected and don't procrastinate.
I use appropriate amounts of time to complete assignments and do my best work.
I independently maintain focus while working to complete a task.
I create a checklist to complete a goal.
I persist and get a "job" done well. It is my best work.
I show grit, perseverance, and work ethic while working toward a goal.
I complete a goal on time.
I utilize effective interpersonal skills (listening, questioning, body-language, feedback) during conversations to build and maintain positive working relationships with collaborators.
I can listen to and consider ideas and opinions expressed by group members that are different from my own.
I challenge ideas and processes, not people.
I identify points of agreement and disagreement; I can look at ideas from multiple perspectives.
I am comfortable with uncertainty in exploring ideas.
I am able to overcome setbacks and disappointments.
I accept changes in schedules and plans.
I accept constructive feedback from others.
Metacognition & Self-monitoring
I review expectations and directions for the assignment before beginning work.
I review expectations for the assignment and correct any/or mistakes before turning in my work.
I engage in a revision or redesign process.
I ask for help when needed.
I ask clarifying questions when I'm confused.
I pace myself to complete my work.
I reflect on my performance--what I did well, what I could have done better, and what I will do next time to improve.
I am aware of my own thoughts, feelings, intentions, and actions.
I know that what I do and say affects others.
I recognize that my choices affect myself and others. I avoid poor choices and act accordingly.
I am able to admit that I don't know something.
When exposed to new information, I consider prior knowledge and experiences.