SEL Tip: The "Do Over"

Sometimes students become aware only later, after reflection, that they could have handled a situation in a better way. Lay the groundwork for students to request a "do-over" so they can address a mistake or misunderstanding after the fact.




One of the core competencies of social and emotional learning is self-awareness. As we teach social and emotional learning skills on a consistent basis, our own self-awareness, and that of our students, will expand.

One of the tricky things about self-awareness is that it is often a delayed response. That is, often we don’t realize until after something has happened that we wish we had handled it differently. When our insights into our own behavior are delayed, what can we do with them?

Sometimes it makes sense to ask for a “Do Over” so that we can correct a mistake or a misunderstanding. When we request a “Do Over,” we are asking someone to allow us to revisit a moment that we now understand differently. For instance:
 

Marcus: Justin, I realized afterwards that I cut you off when you were trying to say something during group work this morning. Can I have a Do Over?”
 
Justin: Okay.
 
Marcus: I wish I had said, “ What is your idea?” instead of talking over you. Do you want to share your idea now?
 
Justin: How about I share my idea at the beginning of our next group work session? Thanks.
 
Marcus: Sounds good. Thanks!

 
“Do Overs” are much simpler than negotiations, mediations, or visits to a Peace Corner, because one party has already reflected on what happened and increased their self-awareness. They simply want to share what they have learned and correct the mistake. “Do Overs” are as much an offering as they are a request to engage.
 


The How
 

  1. Hold a class meeting to explain the idea of “Do Over’s” to your students. Explain that very often, we don’t realize until after something has happened that we wish we had handled things differently.
     
  2. Share this simple definition: Do Over: A request to revisit a moment that you wish you handled differently.
     
  3. Explain that “Do Overs” are different than negotiations, meditations, or visits to the Peace Corner. They can happen any time, they do not take as much time, and they are initiated by someone who wants to correct a mistake they feel they made.
     
  4. Brainstorm ideas with the class about times when they might want to request a “Do Over.”
     
  5. Ask if anyone would like to request a “Do Over” now and allow volunteers to practice. Provide feedback on their real-time practice.
     
  6. Post a sign in the classroom with these simple steps:
  • Do Over: A request to revisit a moment that you wish you handled differently.
  • Ask for a “Do Over.”
  • Explain what you wish you had done differently.
  • Ask the listener if they want to share or respond and practice active listening.
  • Thank each other!