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Response and Responsibility in the Classroom
essay [ ]

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by [Ed ]

2008-10-03  |     | 

In many years of teaching students, I realized that two of the mostly neglected words while having classes are response and responsibility. Each one is actually related to each other and seemingly united as outcasts in most of the students' daily habits. Let me explain. Response is defined as the act of giving a reaction, a reply, or an answer. Many students in most classroom situations have either difficulty in giving responses, or cannot respond at all. It is always normal at times not to be able to respond to a teacher but what is not normal is to let this practice go on forever.

There may be some obvious reasons why students don't or cannot respond even to a teacher's simple question. Maybe they don't know the answer or how to answer. They might also in the first place don't really understand the question. Other reasons include shyness, nervousness, and may be they don't like the subject or the teacher. Whatever reasons they might have however, is actually just excuses for not doing the second word I am emphasizing here. Indeed,this reminds me of another writer who said that "Excuses, however valid, cannot improve performance". This means that whatever reasons they have in failing to give responses in classroom discussions, are still excuses for not doing their responsibilities. What is responsibility then? It is in fact an imperative task for any student in the first place to know this word by heart. Responsibility is simply the quality or state of being responsible, reliable, or trustworthy. This is a little lonely word in the students' life as I mentioned earlier, an outcast to be exact. With the exception of the few, students usually are not comfortable being in the classroom to study. They are always happy to be in the classroom to do other things than study. They prefer to chat with their friends about their love life, KTV happenings in the weekend, their new clothes, shoes, bags, etc., etc. In a class for example, a teacher might remind students of their role or responsibility at the beginning of each term. He can tell them that studying is their primary duty while teaching is his, and that both of them should do their responsibilities by preparing before coming to class. A teacher's preparation should be based on the course outline while theirs is to read, analyze and get ready to discuss the lessons in class. When both teacher and students do their responsibilities, it is easy to rely and trust each other. To rely here means someone whom one can count on as responsible, and can be trusted. When trust is present in the classroom, students would be more responsible for their studies and they are more willing to give responses to any questions. Hence, being reliable and trustworthy are synonymous to being responsible.

Finally, let me state that students' responses in classroom discussions are actually dependent on their individual responsibility or personal accountability. The more responsible they are, the better students they become and the happier their parents and teachers would be.

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