How Did I Do? The Power of Self-reflection and Accountability

All skills need practice to develop and acquire them. Once that skill has been acquired, how does one develop mastery? This comes through self-reflection, evaluation, and accountability from the safety of others who have supported you along the way. As educators, you are that safety of support and accountability for your students as they develop new skills and achieve their goals. It is consistency in meaningful support that is crucial to their long-term success. Children don’t learn by what they’ve been told. They learn by practice, example, and actions. This week, learn how to foster a culture of self-reflection and accountability in your classroom. 

Elementary and Secondary Lesson


1. Open with an explanation of why self-reflection is an important practice by reading the following paragraph: 

  • It’s important to think about your recent accomplishments and past goals and take inventory of what went well, what didn’t, and any other lessons learned along the way. Analyze why you reached those goals or why you didn’t reach them.

2. Have students answer the following reflection questions to themselves about a recent goal they set. This can be a goal they have achieved or have not yet achieved.

  • What are you most proud of having achieved in the past month?
  • List the reasons the goals were achieved or not, be specific.
  • What do you think you could have done better about this goal?
  • What obstacles did you encounter with this goal? 
  • What can you do to overcome obstacles to reaching your goal(s)?
  • In summary, what did you learn from this goal(s)?

3. Have students partner off and share their results with a buddy. Ask the buddy to provide both encouragements for achieving that goal and honest feedback/or insight on something they would have done differently if they were in their shoes. 

4. Be ready to help your students with useful prompts or examples in case they need help, and discuss their answers with them after they’ve completed the activity.

5. As the teacher, share your own reflections about goals in your personal or professional life that you have accomplished and what you learned from them. This will allow you to set an example of reflection and accountability to your students, who may have goals in academics, career, sports, or their home life.

Teacher Tips

Empower students not only to practice the ritual of making New Year’s resolutions but to develop the life skill of goal setting and accountability. This creates an opportunity to encourage children to practice self-reflection on challenges and victories from past goals, which fosters a greater sense of gratitude and accomplishment. Teaching students to involve safe people in their goal setting, goal attainment, and goal evaluation will also enhance their relationship-building skills. Continue to create a culture around goals in the classroom by asking thought-provoking questions to get your students thinking about what’s important to them and what they’d like to accomplish in the future. Discuss how they can take control of their success by making a plan to achieve the hopes, goals, and dreams they share.

Continue these discussions as often as you can to make sure they think about their long-term goals and map out ways to reach them.