Cultivating Responsibility means you focus more on choices people make and less on consequences and incentives that happen as a result of their choices. It also means putting your emotions on the back burner and helping kids see that their choices are what determines outcomes.
When you rush praise and punishment you take away the learning. Kids can learn the choices they make ultimately make them. They also learn in a Better Choices program there is no emphasis on doing your best but rather doing a little bit better today than you did yesterday.
The philosophy of the Better Choice program is responsibility finds a way, while irresponsibility makes excuses. Help kids see we all make good choices and we all make bad choices. Every choice they make impacts the class, their family and themselves. Never the teacher!
The goal is to make responsible choices. The way that kids learn this is a teacher feels badly when kids make poor choices, reminds them that it resides within them to make a better choice and never compromises what the choices lead to whether punishment or incentives. The teacher in a Better Choice program promotes a place and a process for making better choices and promotes that the choices you make make you!
The beginning stages of implementing a Better Choice program is to set up a Better Choice chair rather than a time out chair! The conversation of the teacher is “What happened? How can you fix it? and Where do you think you can start?” It’s not about doing your best or achieving perfection. It’s doing a little bit better today than you did yesterday. Your better becomes your best.
To improve upon choices made, the teacher will review one thing I learned from yesterday and one thing I’m going to work on today as they begin each new day. The goal is to keep a record in your “Under Construction” folder of all the good choices you make. This reinforces that I am capable, responsible and can make more good choices than poor choices.