As humans, our brains are not yet fully developed by age 25. Those of us over the age of 25 rely on the prefrontal cortex (the “sensible” part of the brain) to make sound, and responsible decision making. However, research shows that children, adolescents, and adults use the amygdala – the “emotional” or “responsive” part of the brain – to take decisions. Because of the connection between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala is still an ongoing process for young people, our students often base their decisions on their emotions, rather than considering the long-term consequences.
There is some good news here: we can help students strengthen the connection between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala by supporting the student to evaluate the possible effects of the chosen course of action. Often, children (or even adults) act emotionally and go through the process of evaluating the benefits and consequences of their actions. Leading learners through a goal-oriented process help build their capacity to make decisions that benefit them and others. In doing so, we also support the student to respond (pause, evaluate results, and make constructive decisions that look at all stakeholders) rather than respond.
Proper And Responsible Decision Making Frames
If your students are going to benefit from something more organized, some frameworks can help you to make informed decisions. One framework is the decision-making model of SODAS. SODAS stands for status, options, disadvantages, advantages, solutions. You can read more about it here.
Another ICED, which is a dictionary that explains the steps of the decision-making process: Identifying a problem, Creating alternatives, Exploring alternatives, and deciding on the best solution.
To get used to using SODAS or ICED, you can provide a state of art with good or bad results. Ask students to discuss the situation in groups as they work through other options and finally decide on the best decision. Each group can share their status and how they used the process to reach their final decisions.
For younger readers, a simple “T Chart” will do for making responsible decision making.
Incorporate Code of Ethics into Proper And Responsible Decision Making
Many factors influence our decision-making – some of which can be beneficial, some of which can be distracting. Bias, the human tendency to love one thing more than another, can lead to good decisions. Encouraging students to increase their self-awareness to test their beliefs and biases will improve their ability to make socially responsible decisions.
Introducing ethical issues in the classroom can open up opportunities not only for debate and critical thinking, but also for personal growth, empathy for other ideas, and self-expression, as students learn to make their own moral decisions (Lee, 2019). Use educational content to challenge your readers to think critically about their behavior and behavior. For example, exploring and discussing the roles of historical characters and characters from novels, as well as people involved in current events can provide valuable teaching moments and responsible decision making.
Responsible Decision Making Strategy: Making a Decision Tree
A decision tree is a flowchart-like diagram that enables students to see the potential implications of their decisions. This strategy helps to capture what can be a mysterious process and make it more concrete for the reader as they think critically, write, and visualize the decision-making process as it progresses. Ask the learner to bring a real-life example of what they are thinking or what has been a challenge lately – for example, absenteeism. If a learner does not go to school (or shows a video) you can use the decision tree to show the options and possible consequences of going or not going to school. So the big box at the top will be “Class,” and the two branches below will “not go to class” and “go to class.” At the bottom of each corresponding box, you can fill in the possible consequences of going to class and not going to class. You are welcome to add as many branches to the tree as you like.