The strategy used in the Raise Responsibility System differs from other approaches in a number of significant ways. First, the system starts with Stephen Covey’s first habit of highly effective people: Be proactive. The idea is to set the stage for dealing with disruptive behaviors before they occur. This is in contrast to the usual reactive strategy of dealing with disruptive behaviors after they occur.
Second, neither rewards nor punishments (or “consequences,” which also are viewed as negative) are used. Authority, when necessary, is used without punishment.
Third, a guiding approach, rather than a telling approach, is used, because the most effective way to change behavior is to provide conditions under which behavior change is self-motivated. Self-evaluation is the most effective approach to achieve a lasting change in behavior, and so it is used consistently in the program.
Fourth, choice is a keystone. Making choices is important, because the choices people make affect their lives. Choice empowers, and so students are empowered to change their behavior when they are given the freedom to make choices.
Fifth, the strategies rest on sound education principles. Deductive teaching means that concepts are taught first, before specifics. Constructivist teaching is used because this approach is more effective when emphasizing thinking, understanding, and self-control. Also, the constructivist approach fosters specificity to each class, regardless of grade level or subject.
Finally, the classroom is viewed as an ideal setting in which to teach social responsibility, and disruption is seen as a teachable moment. The focus of the teacher is on a “winning” outcome for both teacher and student. Therefore, teaching social responsibility in this way reduces stress for both teacher and student.
The real power of teachers is seen not in what students do when they are with teachers, but in what they do when they are not. Many of society’s problems can be traced to social irresponsibility, selfishness that has no concern for the greater good. By using the Raise Responsibility System, by using a guidance approach when social irresponsibility occurs in the classroom, and—when necessary—by using authority without punishment, educators empower students to manage themselves. Using the Raise Responsibility System fosters social responsibility.