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Your Belief System and Your Church (5): Teacher Accountability

I mentioned before that I had a narrow-minded belief about “haves” and “have nots” and I blamed students’ learning failures as, “Those STUPID STUDENTS, why don’t they get it? Oh well, such is life—win some, lose some!” I regretfully thought this for longer than I wish to admit. Maybe I should be honest and tell you, it was nearly two complete decades. In my seventeenth year of teaching, I experienced a huge paradigm shift toward accountability. I heard a national level music teacher explain the difference between negative, REACTIVE thinking, “Those stupid students…” and positive, PROACTIVE thinking, “The students didn’t get it, so where did I fail? At what point did I lose them? What teaching step or series of steps did I miss that sabotaged their learning?”

THE BUCK STOPS WHERE? Who was really in charge of each class anyway? Think about it. With a reactive attitude, I attempted to relieve myself of all blame and responsibility. With proactive thinking, I finally looked at the PROBLEM and MYSELF honestly. After all, who was the teacher, the kids or me? Who was responsible to know how to motivate them to learn? Who was supposed to have received training to teach? Who was responsible for the teaching that should happen if it does not? Where does the buck really stop?

EVALUATION TIME. Additional proactive questions continued from there. What do the students already know? What did they last do successfully? What is their entry level for this new skill I want them to learn? What is their next learning step? As the teacher, do I know the sequential steps inherent in the teaching of my subject? From point A to point B, exactly what are the particular skill steps involved? What will I do to remediate any step the students do not get? On the other hand, what will I do if they breeze right through a multitude of steps and finish better than I anticipated? How will I evaluate and determine if they really accomplished their learning task(s)? Do I accurately and methodically correct mistakes or do I gloss over them thinking they will simply disappear as we go along? Do I accurately evaluate each learning step for highest levels of success, or am I satisfied with mediocrity?

TEACHING VS. LEARNING. There are two sides to every teaching setting—how the subject is taught and how the subject is learned. They are radically different. On one hand, I must skillfully teach music or learn if I do not know how (the art of teaching), while on the other hand, I must know how students learn music (music learning sequences) and can actually void their learning if I ignore the order.

ACCOUNTABILITY. So what am I saying? I am ACCOUNTABLE for every aspect of teaching and learning. I am responsible for my attitude, which should be proactive, not reactive, and fault-accepting instead of fault-finding. I am responsible to motivate students to learn when motivation is needed. I am responsible to learn how I should teach (the art of teaching). I am responsible to know how my subject is sequentially learned by my students and am responsible to teach it in the order that learners need. I am responsible to evaluate the success of each step (assessment). I am responsible to remediate anything not successfully learned (corrective measures), as well as be resourceful when the class has been extraordinarily successful (enrichment measures). I am responsible to know where each student is in his/her individual skill development, and to guide the student to the next level. At the same time, I am responsible to know how to do the same regarding the class as a whole group.

This is all about personal accountability; that is, the teacher placing accountability on him/herself and understanding the aspects of it on oneself. But that is only one side of the accountability coin. A later section will consider how the teacher places accountability on the class and teaches accountability to them.

Pastor, how would you reword the questions in the paragraph “Evaluation Time” regarding your ministry and your church members? Can you also answer your questions? Where do you stand with self-imposed accountability?

Your Belief System and Your Church: (1) Introduction

Your Belief System and Your Church: (2) Your Paradigms

Your Belief System and Your Church: (3) Bondage or Freedom

Your Belief System and Your Church: (4) Gateway Skills

Your Belief System and Your Church: (5) Teacher Accountability

Your Belief System and Your Church: (6) Talking About vs. Doing

Your Belief System and Your Church: (7) Student Accountability

Your Belief System and Your Church: (8) Assessment

Your Belief System and Your Church: (9) Bury Dead Tradition

Your Belief System and Your Church: (10) Teaching vs. Learning

Your Belief System and Your Church: (11) Teachers' Three Phases

Your Belief System and Your Church: (12) Excellence is NOT a Goal

Your Belief System and Your Church: (13) My Teaching Limits Were Their Learning Limits

Your Belief System and Your Church: (14) Unlearning Creates Success

Your Belief System and Your Church: (15) Pioneers vs. Settlers

Your Belief System and Your Church: (16) Real and Lasting Learning

Your Belief System and Your Church: (17) Problems With Memory

Your Belief System and Your Church: (18) Ownership Creates Success

Your Belief System and Your Church: (19) Not Perfect, But Honest

Your Belief System and Your Church: (20) Take Risks and Give Away Control

Your Belief System and Your Church: (21) Out of a Job

Your Belief System and Your Church: (22) KCAASE and Proverbs 24

Your Belief System and Your Church: (23) Responding vs. Reacting

Your Belief System and Your Church: (24) Only When Performed

Your Belief System and Your Church: (25) A Supervisor's Vision

Your Belief System and Your Church: (26) Glimpses Into the Spiritual

Your Belief System and Your Church: (27) One Reason Alone

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Copying Dave and spinning off my response to his second post on this topic. We all need our leaders to help us find the ONE KEY, or the KEYS that will unlock things for us. I think most folks can tell that I am intelligent and learn quickly. However. there are times when I go round and round a topic encountering it many ways but never really understanding what is being said. Often this is because I am missing one little something, THE KEY, that unlocks the whole thing. When I finally get that KEY the whole thing falls into place and I finally get it.

Pastors are you digging for the methods, words and prayers that will be they KEY for each individual. It may not be the same for everyone.

When I worked in Computer. Tech Support we did not have a database with all the answers. I had a phone connections, a record of original purchase, and a tech call history. Nothing else. I had to know our products. I had to know troubleshooting. I had to figure out how to convey what I knew via phone to a customer I could not see. I could not see the their computer. I could not access it remotely. Often the customer was using unfamiliar techniques to do something that frightened them. I had to reasure the customer that we could do this. Sometimes, I had to ask the same question a dozen different ways until we FINALLY understood each other and I got the info I needed.

Pastors do you keep presenting and representing the same concepts from different angles until all of your people get it? Do you spend extra time with those who learn slowly? Do you calm their fears so that they can relax and hear you?
Dear Lisa,
There will be a post a little later about ASSESSMENT. How actually does a pastor determine if anyone in the service has learned anything from the message? What will the people do to demonstrate putting what they heard into action? Can they demonstrate that action right there in the service? Can their outreach skills be practiced right on the spot? These are just the beginning of many questions that may be asked regarding assessment. In short, how can the pastor determine, when he shakes the people's hands on their way out the door, if there's anything behind their eyeballs gained from the service. The pastor can blindly guess, or (s)he can methodically with determination find out.

What do you think?
Dave
This too is a work in progress! How I develop wholistically can greatly contribute to the gifts that God has given me. I am called to Teach, yet if I don't study, this gift can't possibly be as effective as it could be. I've learned "study" is not limited to just the Bible, but is much broader, I find that whatever subject I study, read, hear, there is a biblical application.

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