As you may know, the 2023 theme is Accountability. I launched this at the first School Assembly with the students.
I was reading a series of articles recently and to continue our focus on our theme, I thought I would share some of my observations.
Accountability in education has since time immemorial, been a subject of debate. On the occasions when a child does not complete a homework assignment, is it the fault of the child or the parent? When a child fails an assessment, is it the fault of the child or the teacher? If a child does not achieve a Grade 12 examination at the anticipated level of excellence, is it the fault of the child, the parent, the teacher, the school, or the external examination authority?
The obvious answer is that we are all accountable for education.
The teacher must prepare well-planned lessons that are engaging, lead to inquiry and motivate and encourage the incremental acquisition of skills and knowledge.
A student in the class must be attentive, or I prefer the term, “present” for a lesson. The student must complete the work required to the best of their ability. They should add to the class experience and collaborative learning by being an active participant in class activities and discussions.
The parent should encourage their child to work hard at achieving their best. To support a child who wishes to explore and be inquisitive in their learning. While encouraging the child, the parent on the flip side must hold their child accountable for work not completed at the expected level of excellence.
In summary, we are all in partnership to act and support the best interests of the child. This takes work and accountability. I know that The Bay Academy families, teachers and children, to a very large extent, support this constructive and positive partnership and I am extremely grateful that we have this relationship.
Having said this, it is important to protect this partnership. In the public domain, over the past year, it is dismaying to note how often taking responsibility for oneself and consequent actions are replaced by the blame game. Children look to role models to emulate and unfortunately, there are, in my opinion, few examples of where public figures have shown good conduct. Where if a mistake has been made or an error of judgment has been incurred, the individual or group holds themselves accountable.
The difference between children who accept accountability for their learning and conduct and those that do not is significant. While a general observation, the children who hold themselves accountable are more determined, more resilient and importantly, they reflect deeper on challenges and show a propensity for independently addressing these trials.
Once again, to highlight the growing accountability in a school, I was recently shown where a student had reflected on their marked assessment and written down their thoughts and examined their own accountability. “I could have taken more time here to answer this better”. “I read the question wrong.” “I need to brush up on my understanding of this area for next time.”
You will note the “I” in all of the above. The child is taking responsibility and being accountable. Well done.