The four steps
1. Look at the other person (look)
2. Use their name (name)
3. Tell them you are sorry and what you did that was wrong (sorry)
4. Promise not to do it again (promise)
If you explicitly teach the process and use it consistently it will not take too long before students can share an apology independently. Prompting by using the key words: look, name, sorry, promise can also be helpful when the student is familiar with the process but just needs a little help. You will find that before long, students can formulate their own apology based on this simple structure.
Here's how the apology might sound:
"Michael, I am sorry I took your ball without asking. Next time I will ask you before I take anything belonging to you. "
The other child should acknowledge the apology by responding, "I forgive you, Nick" or "I accept your apology, Nick." or "Thanks for the apology, Nick" Being hurt in any way by another person is not ok so I prefer not to respond by saying, "That's ok."
Restoring is an important aspect of setting things right in a relationship. Many schools use restorative practices as part of their behaviour support process. My experience says that in most cases when students are asked what they require to help restore a situation or relationship, they ask for an apology. I often suggest a restorative action that aligns with the problem. Some examples....
If the ball was thrown away........ go and get it back
If a mess was made..............clean it up
If a child was excluded from a game.........invite the excluded child to play
Ideally some time should be spent with each student alone to prepare them for their part either; saying sorry or accepting an apology. It is a time to renew relationships and the process should therefore allow both parties to express themselves and be a simple, calm, healing time for all.
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