Should Kids Take More Responsibility for Their Own Learning?

Should Kids Be Responsible for Learning?

This is from the Washington Post. I guess the other question is how much responsibility should we, as parents, take for our own children’s learning versus their teacher’s?  I would say we, the parents, are ultimately responsible for our own kids’ learning, and that, as they approach college, our kids become fully responsible.


By Daniel Willingham

My guest today is cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?”

Not long ago a student told me a story about taking the SAT. Students were to bring a photo I.D., and the girl in front of her in line had not brought one. When she was told that she couldn’t take the test without the i.d., she was incredulous. She literally did not believe that there would be a consequence for her forgetfulness. She assumed that there would be a Plan B for people like her. When it became clear that plan B was “go home and next time, bring your I.D.,” she was angry and scornful.

I see this attitude not infrequently in freshmen I teach. They are unaccustomed to the idea that they are fully responsible for their actions, at least in the academic arena.
In contrast, professors at most colleges very much think of students as 100% responsible for their own learning. Professors may not notice or care whether students come to class, study, or learn. Most professors figure that their job is to teach well. Whether the student learns or not is up to him or her.


This attitude may seem uncaring, but I believe it’s no different than the attitude 18-year olds would find in the military or in the workplace.

Setting aside the issue of whether college freshmen should carry 100% responsibility for their learning, consider this question. Given that that is the state of the world, what happens during K-12 education to prepare students for this responsibility? ….

Click here for more.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge