Authors: Blessing Oyidiya Ahuaza and Nondlela Annah Mthimkhulu (edited by Linda Ruas) | Published on 11 April 2024


Question: How can we become – and help others be – more accountable? 

Answer: make ourselves accountable, then guide learners

Here are some tips/ideas on how we can become more accountable:

  • As with so many other qualities and skills, we often need to become more accountable ourselves before helping and guiding others – such as our learners - to develop their accountability
  • We teachers need to be accountable by working on tasks and engaging in training necessary for the job; planning and carrying out expected duties in a timely manner; learning to promote teamwork, fairness, firmness and transparency
  • We need to understand the difference between accountability and responsibility: the former is result-focused, measurable, individualised and fixed to one action or rule; while the latter is task-focussed, only sometimes measured, individualised or group-based, and task or rule-focussed
  • In order to be accountable, we need to set clear expectations – for ourselves or others; effective communication and clear instructions are vital here
  • We can work with learners on a class contract, so they all understand – and can contribute to and negotiate – what is expected from them; if they read and sign it, we can refer back to this at any point when necessary
  • We need to recognise that accountability is driven by: 

People – Teachers, Learners, Leaders, Parents, Stakeholders.

Purpose – The Objectives of the task and succeeding in it.

Performance – Planning towards accountability which is activity driven, and involving everyone in the accountability process eg both teacher and learners

Progression – Measuring successes/failures and creating room for amendments. 

  • Developing accountability in class involves many things:
  • Creating norms and expectations with learners, eg. discussing with learners to make decisions on their own and not the teacher making decisions for them. Giving learners a voice, to help preempt expectations and consequences of the decisions.
  • Providing consistency in checking and monitoring progress of learning: eg. class meetings to celebrate success, reflect on their progress, receive feedback and brainstorm solutions.
  • Being clear with goals and deadlines, by helping learners stay on top of assignments, self-pacing their work and taking ownership of grades