Lesson Plan on Responsibility in Schools

This is a Lesson Plan on Responsibility in Schools by Adam F.C. Fletcher for


Introduction: Inquiry-based lesson requiring between 8-40 students and adult participants; a mixed group is required.

Goal: When this session is complete, participants should be able to…

  • Further explore the roles of power, respect and trust in Student-Adult Partnerships
  • Prepare adults to let go of some power and students to take some responsibility

Time: 120 minutes

Materials: Flip chart paper and markers

Space: Space large enough for the whole group plus at least one break out room; more will be needed if the groups so large as to require several small groups.

Considerations: This discussion offers participants the opportunity to bring together the lessons of the preceding activities and conversations, and begin applying them. It allows time for students to talk as a group and adults to talk as a group. Be aware that some people may be a little uncomfortable with this, believing that if they are to work in partnership they need to do all their work together. But students and adults both need time to talk among themselves. Each has specific issues that are likely only to come out in the support of peers. They will close by reporting to each other what they discussed and creating agreements for how to work together.

The discussion questions included here are suggestions. You may want to change them depending on the dynamics of the group and issues that have come up over the preceding exercises. The important thing is for adults to talk honestly amongst about how they feel at the prospect of students taking power, and for students to talk honestly amongst themselves about how they feel at the prospect of taking some real responsibility.


  1. Explain to the group that it will be split into teams of students and adults for the next hour, but will reconvene to report on their discussions.
  2. Split group into students and adults and have them use separate rooms so that each will have the opportunity for completely open discussion.
  3. Select questions from each of the following two lists for discussion by the appropriate groups:


  • How do you feel about working with adults?
  • What does it mean to you to take on some significant responsibilities for this project/program?
  • How will it affect your time for school, your relationships with your friends, your involvement in other things? What scares you? Excites you?
  • Overall, what are your top three worries about taking this kind of responsibility?
  • Usually, students expect that adults will know what to do, and they expact that adults will have an answer. How do you feel knowing that these adults aren’t going to have answers all the time and they’re not always going to know what needs to be done next?
  • What are your top three worries about working with adults?


  • How do you feel about working with students?
  • What does it mean to you to have students taking on some of the power and responsibility to this project/program?
  • How does it feel to let go of some of the control?
  • Adults in your culture are expected to have all the answers for students. How does it feel to be in a situation where you can’t have the answers?
  • Part of having respect for someone means letting them try out their ideas, even when you are sure it’s a mistake.

How do you feel knowing that at some point you will witness a student fail?

  • What are the top three worries you have about working with students as partners?
  1. Each group should close by discussing the following questions. They should use flip chart paper to create lists they can use to report back to the large group.
  • What will you need to do to make this work?
  • How can you help each other out?
  1. Have the groups come back together. Spokespeople from each group give a report on what they talked about, ending with their lists about what will make Student-Adult Partnerships work. Give each group a chance to ask questions of the other and respond to their report as needed.
  2. Close by creating a very short list (3-5 ideas) of things the group can do together (e.g., once a month do an hour of teambuilding activities) to make Student-Adult Partnerships work. You may also want to have each individual take a moment to write one thing for himself or herself personally that he or she will try to do in the future.

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These lesson plans were created by Adam F.C. Fletcher for SoundOut under contract from the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction funded through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. All contents ©2007 SoundOut. Permission to use is granted exclusively for nonprofit and in-school education purposes only. All Rights Reserved.

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