Do teachers do too much for their students? Do parents do too much for their children? Are we interfering in their development of a sense of responsibility? Having taught at both the the high school level and the elementary level I have noticed over the years that more and more students are not taking responsibility for their own learning. It seems that if they encounter some difficulty then they almost give up, and in fact many do give up. Why? They know that the teacher will usually tell them the answer or mom or dad will do it for them at home. Too many students do not take the responsibility for their own learning.
As a teacher it is not difficult to see which students are developing a sense of responsibility. These are the students that seem to have a genuine desire to learn. They take learning seriously and realize that to learn something it may take some extra effort. These students always give that extra effort.
Why do some have this desire to learn and others do not? In my opinion, this desire to learn is cultivated in the home. The role of the school teacher is to augment this desire within these students. Help them along as they take responsibility for their learning.
Parents who help their children with their homework without doing it for them are teaching their children about being responsible. These are the students who usually excel at their studies. They often have the best test scores and pass in the best assignments. Of course there are exceptions to everything, and there are those students who do not have much support at home, yet they take responsibility for their studies. Students that fall into these two categories are learning about responsibility.
Why has our system gone so far in the wrong direction? Students being promoted without having a sufficient foundation in the basics. They have difficulty reading, writing and many don’t have the basic math skills. Why? Because we have failed to have them take responsibility for their learning. If things are difficult they usually give up and wait for someone to give them the answer. Either the teacher, the parent or even another student.
The desire to learn and being responsible for your own learning is becoming a thing of the past. Today, many students know that doing only the minimum amount of work is all that they need to be “successful”. We have to stress that students need to be responsible for their learning. This has to become an important part of our educational system if we do not want our children expecting someone else to do things for them.
R. S. Cameron has been an educator for over twenty five years in the public school system. He has taught Adult Education, High School and presently enjoys teaching at the Elementary level. Mr. Cameron has a love for teaching and helping others reach their potential. He realizes that a person’s education goes well beyond the learning that takes place in a classroom. His favorite saying is a quote, which is prominently displayed in his classroom: “Make an effort, not an excuse.” R.S. Cameron has also been an entrepreneur for over thirty years and still has a number of businesses, online and off.