7 Habits of Highly Responsible Students

Edward is the founder and managing editor of Focus on Christian Education. He also serves as the Executive Director of the South Carolina Association of Christian Schools.

Readin’, Ritin’, and Rithmetic has been used as a phrase to describe the goings on in a school.  Recently I was reading a pamphlet written several decades earlier that suggested that another “R” be added to the list: Responsibility!



Why?  Because responsible students usually grow up to become responsible adults.  Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines responsible as “able to be trusted to do what is right or to do the things that are expected or required.”

Yes, students need to learn to fulfill their responsibilities so that when grown, they can be adults able to do the same.  Key to the success of adults (and students) is becoming responsible.  But responsible students do not have any magic formula for their success.  This article offered seven habits of responsible students.  Here is my synopsis of

7 Habits of Highly Responsible Students

  • Set Goals – goals help students focus on what is important and what is not so important.  Talk to your students about setting goals.  Paul stated in Philippians that he “pressed toward the mark of the prize. . . ;” he was focused on a goal.  Imagine playing a basketball game without a goal.   Would you play baseball without bases?  It is obvious.  Responsible students learn to set goals.
  • Keep Commitments – students must learn to keep commitments to others and to themselves.  Commitments include classroom assignments, athletic practices, fine arts rehearsals, church activities, etc.  An evangelist of a few generations back had it right – “Duties never conflict.”
  • Plan Time – students need to learn to plan the use of their time rather than just wiling away minutes and hours day after day.  Classroom duties coupled with family and spiritual duties make an ideal platform on which to teach this habit.
  • Be Consistent – developing the habit s that lead to responsibility is just like building a wall; one brick is added at a time.  When a teacher does not “assign” specific homework, students should learn to review and study on their own.
  • Be Attentive – key to being responsibile is to know what is expected.  Students must be vigilant in listening in the classroom so that nothing is missed.  Whether an assignment is written on a board, announced verbally, or communicated electronically, responsible students are attentive.
  • Be Equipped – students must learn to be equipped.  All materials necessary for a class should be taken to the classroom.  Students that are unprepared and lack the appropriate tools, still stumble in learning responsibility.
  • Be Early – students need to prepare so that every assignment is not completed under the weight of a crisis.  Even daily responsibilities-i.e. packing lunch, laying out clothes, packing gym clothes, etc-can be done at night before school.  One of my teachers used to say, “better half hour early” than “one minute late.”

Which of these have you found challenging to teach?  Perhaps you can offer another habit to put with these seven.  

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  • Kent Lundy

    I agree with the need for responsibility. It is very difficult to teach academics to a student who is not responsible for his/her own learning. Sometimes getting students to set goals (believe that they can push themselves beyond where they are at academically…) can be the most difficult for me.
    I think that these characteristics need to be taught and modeled for our students, but they also have to be expected and demanded from our students consistently. If students can slide by at home and/or school without an age-appropriate level of these characteristics, they will seldom fully develop responsibility whether they are taught well or not.

    • Matt Ticzkus

      Hi Kent! I could not agree more with what you said about consistency. In the end, if we are not being consistent with our students, then we are not being responsible ourselves. Thanks so much for commenting!