Re: Responsible People
Sat, 30 Nov 1996 17:27:22 -0500

Responsibility, imho, is an attitude, a value, and a mindset, not a skill or
a piece of knowledge. It cannot, therefore, be taught. It can only be
accepted and practiced.

Trying to teach it would be like the example in Jerry Farber's disturbingly
entitled classic, "The Student as Nigger", n which he describes a fake
research study in which the experimenters attempt to teach walking using the
same model as most schools teach reading: breaking it up into discrete,
teachable chunks and drilling the students on each until they attain
"mastery" before they can go on to the next step.

The results, of course, were five and six year olds still strapped down flat
on their backs on tables (for their own good, you understand) practicing the
"Sub-Patellar Thrust" among other movements. The researchers concluded that,
while no-one was walking as of yet, they could see progress and requested
that their funding be continued!

How shall we "teach" responsibility? What are the ten basic skills of a
Responsible Citizen? What are the six warning signs of

We can only provide an environment in which we all attempt to act
responsibly, in which we don't thrust ourselves in the way of others taking
responsibility for their actions, and in which we talk honestly about our
thoughts and feelings as we interact with others. Responsibility then
blossoms quite naturally.

Thanks for listening!

Alan Klein