Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: To teach two aspects of personal responsibility: accepting responsibility and taking initiative.


“Can you imagine a businessman who does not have the motivation to perform tasks independently? Will this businessman likely be promoted? Can the team count on him to pull his weight? Would you want to work for him? I hope you answered ‘no’ to the last three questions. This businessman does not demonstrate personal responsibility.”

Discussion: Accepting Responsibility

“Personal responsibility is the basis for effective leadership skills. Consider the following stories of well-intentioned teenagers at full-time summer jobs:

Clarissa organizes and displays clothing at a local department store. Her friends/coworkers are unsupervised in the back of the store for several hours each day. The group prefers to talk and laugh together rather than sort and hang garments. Clarissa feels that she is warranted in texting and calling her school friends on the job because her peers are slacking.

Johan cares for animals at a shelter. He wants to take each dog on a walk daily, but does not feel confident leaving the facility because his coworkers and Orientation and Mobility Specialist have not asked if he is acquainted with the field behind the shelter.

Matteo, a cook at a diner, is required to be at work by 2 pm. His sister, who drives him to work, frequently makes afternoon plans with friends and so is not home in time to transport Matteo. Matteo is habitually late for work.”

Assist the student in identifying how each teenager is not accepting responsibility. Ask the student how each situation would be different if personal responsibility were assumed by the teen.

Exercise: Self-Reflection

Have the student reflect on his daily life and identify how he or she relies on others. For example, does a parent awake him in the morning, make his food, sort through his notebook to ensure homework is complete, and/or keep a calendar of medical appointments? Does the student pull his weight in group projects?

Ask the student how he could demonstrate greater personal responsibility in his daily life.

Discussion: Motivation

“While it is helpful to receive the assistance of parents, friends, or educators, they will not always be available to support you in solving every problem. Now is the time to develop personal responsibility. In doing so, you will be preparing to live independently and work successfully by practicing how to recognize and solve problems. It is acceptable to ask for assistance, but seeking assistance is entirely different than having problems solved for you before you ever recognize that there is an issue.”

“A leader does not wait for others to motivate him towards action, but has learned to assume responsibility by taking initiative for his actions.”

Exercise: Teaching Personal Responsibility

Explain methods of teaching personal responsibility to children and adolescence: allowing natural consequences to occur and expecting children to accomplish daily chores.

Does the student feel she has been taught to take personal responsibility? If not, how could she begin to develop these skills?


“Today we discussed the leadership and self-advocacy trait of personal responsibility. Personal responsibility means learning to take initiative and holding yourself accountable for the decisions you make.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, and modifications: