Evidence That It Works
Scientists have found that students as young as six actively make amends for their misbehavior, in addition to focusing on personal improvement and learning to avoid wrong behaviors. Studies show that children are also capable of aligning their method of repair with the type of offense, whether moral or conventional in nature.
Why Does It Matter?
Developing students’ self-efficacy, or the belief that they can succeed in a task, is critical to healthy child development. Hence, when students are directly involved in rectifying their own misbehavior along with adjusting their shortcomings, they are cultivating a sense of agency around their ability to resolve difficult social interactions and growing their identity as capable social and moral agents.
Rather than directly telling students how to behave and fix their misbehavior — as some school-wide curricula and programs do — adults should engage students in discussions that help bring out students’ natural propensities for assessing their own behavior and self-correction.