This principle highlights the understanding that each person must take responsibility for his or her actions, and that all actions have consequences. It is understood that actions may have consequences for the individual as well as for others. Given the awareness that we are all related, it is important to think about how one’s actions may affect others (such as family, community, and/or the land). This principle also highlights the need for authentic learning situations, and the need for learner autonomy, as recognizing the consequences of one’s own actions can only genuinely occur when the learner has made autonomous choices.
Relation to Other Education Theory
Chickering and Gamson (1987) point out that an effective learning environment respects and supports diverse talents and learning styles; the way in which one person learns may not be effective for another. Providing learners with autonomy over their learning not only motivates them but also provides them with avenues to pursue knowledge in the form that best suits them. This leads to greater knowledge acquisition, motivation and most importantly, supports and fosters a learner’s talents and strengths
Implications for the Classroom and School Include:
- Providing learners with appropriate levels of autonomy and choice in their learning. This might include some choice in what they learn, in how they learn, and in how they represent what they have learned. How this looks will depend on the age and skill sets of the learner.
- Helping learners become aware of the natural consequences (to themselves and others) of their actions. This might include letting learners make mistakes and then helping them to learn from those mistakes (as long as those mistakes do not cause harm to themselves or others).
Relevant Core Competencies
Personal Awareness and Responsibility
- Involves all aspects of personal well-being; making ethical decisions and taking responsibility for one’s actions and how they impact self and others; and self-regulation.
Social Awareness and Responsibility
- The ability and predisposition to cooperate and collaborate with others, display community-mindedness and stewardship, empathize with and appreciate the perspective of others, and create and maintain healthy relationships within one’s family, community, society, and environment.