With human rights come human responsibilities. Responsibility is both individual and collective. The state of the social and biological environment impacts on our lives, and our actions also impact on the state of the social and biological environment. At the most basic, everyday level, teachers endeavour to teach personal responsibility, by various methods, to their students. Most essentially, responsibility is paired with rights…the flip side of the coin, if you will. Basic rules of classroom engagement run something like this: with every right there is a responsibility; by taking responsibility we make our school a better place.
Students learn that if they have a right to be heard; they also have a responsibility to listen to others. If they have a right to their own personal space; they also have a responsibility to respect other’s privacy. If they have a right to be respected; they also have a responsibility to treat others with respect. They have a right to learn; and they also have a responsibility to come to class prepared to do so. They have a right to know the rules (which is why we post them); and a responsibility to follow them. This is responsibility 101. This is the first level of responsibility. Students learn responsibility from a variety of sources. It is important that teachers pair rights with responsibilities in order to aid students in understanding their role in society.