Developing Responsible Decision-Making Skills, Grades K-12

Each day, we make thousands of choices, some of them unconscious, others we are keenly aware of. Many of our choices lead to positive outcomes and, of course, some do not! As teachers, we make many professional decisions on a daily basis: decisions about what and how to teach, what to say or not to say to students and colleagues, how to manage our classrooms, and more. We also are aware of student choices and how those affect us and the other students in the classroom. Responsible decision making on the part of students helps keep the classroom running smoothly and helps with classroom management.

Responsible decision making is a life skill that all students will need for the rest of their lives. In order to make decisions, people need to take into account a variety of factors, including their own values and concerns, the various choices that are available to them, and the consequences of what those decisions might be. Decisions students make, from the most simple, routine decisions made on a daily basis, to the decisions that may impact them for the rest of their lives, involve a process that is unconscious to many students. By making this skill explicit to students, and by helping them to practice these skills in the classroom, we will help them to be more successful in school and in the future in general.

In this course, participants will consider how students can make decisions in the classroom that help to create a more effective and productive learning environment. While the teacher is the primary decision-maker in the classroom, teachers can release some responsibility, when appropriate, to the students to help create a more productive learning environment as well as guide the learning. Practical strategies for helping students to make responsible decisions will be presented and participants will develop a lesson incorporating the concepts shared in this module.

This course has been divided into the following modules:

  1. Understanding Responsible Decision Making
  2. Strategies to Develop Responsible Decision-Making Skills
  3. Implement and Reflect





Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport


Managing Student Behavior


Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques


Engaging Students in Learning