Monday, April 6, 2015

For Jackie

Our new director, Jackie Young, posed a question that seems like a good blog topic, so here goes!
What is the difference between accountability and responsibility? And what do both mean to you when you are in your buildings?  Would your actions be different if you believed in one over another?  Does one supersede the other?  Does one encompass the other?
To me, these are internal vs external, reflective vs designated.
I think a sense of responsibility is a character trait that governs our actions in various ways, in our personal lives and at work. You don't necessarily see responsibility, but you would know it if you met it:)
Whereas accountability is linked to a list, and can be quantified. It even has the word "account " in it as a root word. Or maybe the root word is "count."
I think the actions of educators are somewhat different, if they are acting out of responsibility vs accountability, and yes, I do think that responsibility can act as an umbrella for accountability.
I also think approaches to accountability are a skill set that some have and some are still developing.
For many, such as a principal or parent, accountability is easier to see and in fact shines a light on the responsible teacher. If a teacher is able to produce some sort of evidence or documentation, ranging from a score to an anecdotal comment or observation, it is easier for others to see exactly how responsible they are acting as they meet the needs of the various learners in their classes.  Also, the evidence, along with feedback, is critical to the student.
I think a sense of responsibility supersedes accountability, as it is fundamental to our practice. But accountability is what can make our many successes visible to others.

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