As a veteran educator, I have had the pleasure of teaching a few thousand students. Regardless of the subject, I have often found myself teaching social skills. These include “following instructions,” “disagreeing appropriately,” and “getting an adult’s attention,” among many others. However, I would argue one of the most important skills is that of making an apology.
I have taught and practiced this skill with students through many modes of delivery. Some students balk at the seeming drudgery of this repeated exercise. However, when they observe an adult use this skill appropriately in a social situation, quite often they “get it.” We all make mistakes, and we should express our sincere regret in a socially acceptable manner, and not make excuses.
One set of “steps” I have used in teaching the skills of making an apology is:
1. Look at the person
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2. Use a sincere voice
3. Begin with, “I want to apologize for…”
4. Do not make excuses.
While these steps are fairly straightforward, they do not express one of the most important tenets of making an apology. That is acknowledging or taking responsibility for the offense. Linked below is an article in the Harvard Health Blog “The Art of a Heartfelt Apology.” Adding words like “If I did this or that…” to an apology is not sincere. It sounds as though the apologizer does not truly believe that he or she may have done anything wrong.
To be clear, I believe we all make mistakes, especially when we feel passionate about a subject. However, that passion does not excuse intimidating or menacing behavior. We should learn from our mistakes, and make sincere efforts to redeem ourselves.
On a somewhat related note, I would like to clarify that as someone who has spent 27 years in the classroom, having taught history, mathematics, and family and consumer science, I believe that the only “agenda” among educators is to ensure our students become better people who are capable of critical thinking.
Article link: https://bit.ly/3mjjVxU.