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

STUDENT ACCOUNTABILITY. The section before last was about teacher accountability. This section is the other side of accountability, about placing accountability on the class as a whole and on students individually, and teaching accountability to them. In case you are wondering, YES, accountability has to be taught and purposefully placed. This two-sided accountability is cyclical. As I kept my students accountable, they in turn kept me accountable. The results were astounding! Read on.

SUBJECT ACCOUNTABILITY. Some subjects have accountability automatically built in while others need it to be enforced from the outside. What do I mean? If you make a wrong step off the side of a cliff while studying the laws of gravity, you will immediately discover it has automatic accountability. From outside the subjects, society demands accountability for the learning of math, language, and the sciences through benchmark reviews and standardized tests. Music is like math and language, and needs to have accountability imported into it. But seeing that music is a black and white subject, accountability was not difficult to teach. (More on this following.) How did I teach accountability to music students? Through hearing, seeing, and doing, from an old Chinese proverb:
“I hear (Tell me), I forget.
I see (Show me), I remember.
I do (Involve me), I understand.”

ACTIVE PARTICIPATION. Both my spoken and unspoken mindset was that when students entered my classroom, they knew “spectators” were NOT allowed. Everybody was a “participator.” All of my classroom management strategies said so very loudly, as well as my humorous instructions. I simply told students that if they came to my room to sit and not do, that I would be forced to send them a bill for breathing my air, unless they wanted to hold their breath for the 30 minute class. I created lesson plans with “behavioral” objectives and well-sequenced procedures so that all classes were active participation. Please note, behavioral objectives are observable “doing” activities (behaviors).

PREEMINENT MODEL. I modeled everything. Whatever I wanted the students to learn, I made sure I could do it at an expert level. I practiced everything I asked them to do. I knew within each activity to be learned all of its fun spots, as well as potential learning hurdles. If I wanted students to learn a bass xylophone part with an alto xylophone part while singing a song, I performed the BX with my left hand, the AX with my right hand, and sung the words with my mouth. (Xylophones are flat instruments with wooden bars played with mallets.) If there was a percussion rhythm to accompany the arrangement, I tapped it with my feet while performing all the rest. To show off, I would then do all this with the instruments turned around 180 degrees.

PERFECTION INTO AESTHETICS. Students “bought into” my high level expectations, which I clearly and continually communicated. They knew there was no such thing as almost on the beat or almost in tune. You either are or you are not! Music is a great black and white, absolute discipline to teach to our post-modernistic society of relativism. For a Christian, music makes a perfect parallel way to live God’s Truths. Beginning in kindergarten, I taught the students to listen for, expect, and imitate correctness. By the end of the year, it was not unusual for a kindergarten class to sing precisely in tune and precisely perform a rhythm, with not even one student a tenth of a second off. By fourth grade, it was not unusual for a music activity to be so precise that it would transcend into an aesthetic experience, (i.e., the spiritual realm). I will never forget the first time it happened. The class’ music as a whole was so artistic that tears ran down my face. I could not stop them. The students were so awed by the experience, they were frozen in their places in silence at the end. One little girl near the front of the class, not daring to break the spell, whispered, “Mr. Knauss, what happened?” We had entered God’s spiritual realm with the music.

ACCOUNTABILITY BECAME ROUTINE. With accountability well-trained and expected in our normal class routine, the students walked into my classroom and demanded we start music within that same minute. They loved it that much! The music teachers after me in the middle and high schools would report back they knew exactly which students were mine. The middle school teachers said my students would enter their rooms, walk up to the instruments and open their music, and say, “OK, let’s go!” The high school teachers told me my students were the leading musicians of their choruses, orchestras, bands, and select ensembles. (Yes, everyone of these high school programs was in the plural, not singular!) Without accountability, it is guaranteed both leaders and followers (teachers and students) will take the path of least resistance.

About the analogy for pastors and churches? Do you teach and require accountability from your church members? Are they so well trained that you have back-and-forth accountability happening between you? Is your teaching mostly hearing, seeing, or doing? Are you preaching from “behavioral” objectives that are observable activities? Are you their expert model? Has your church transcended from skill perfection into the spiritual aesthetic? Do your members expect high level accountability as the norm? What are other pastors saying about you when they meet your members? Have your ministries multiplied because you have so many volunteering participants that you have no choice but to expand?

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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Aside from expecting the Pastor to know and teach, and follow the Word how might the congregation require accountabilty from Pastors? When does accountabilty stop being that and become judgemental. Ex. a congregation that is upset because the pastor has a part time job as a used car salesman.

What accountablity areas should be the Pastor's focus. How do the congregation and Pastor challenge each other?
Hi Lisa,
Question 1: I believe the pastor should be before God for a plan for the church--what God wants done in His Kingdom--and to communicate the same to his congregation because it's the church's function in Jesus' body--then the pastor and congregation should hold each other accountable for fulfilling God's divine commission.
Question 2: When the pastor generates trust in his vision and leadership because the people are reassured it is being directed by God, then judgmental disappears into mutual trust. Shame on the congregation that causes the pastor to default to a supplementary job. Scripture says the laborer is worthy of his hire, and that the ox working the tread mill is not to be muzzled.
Question 3: See my Q. 1 answer. There are all kinds of directives in Scripture for how the people should honor the pastor and how the pastor should lead the congregation and make them look great. To keep up this rapport is a great challenge for each other.
Blessings, Dave

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