Restorative Practice – the theory behind it

Today for NTIP we had the opportunity to learn about the idea of restorative practice.  The first message we received was how this framework helps us, as teachers, become better at being fair, firm, and consistent.  This idea plays into the entire framework of it.  In order to be effective as a teacher that practices restorative methods you need to be able to find the perfect balance.  This leads you away from creating the rules that students decrypt in order to understand why towards a culture of creating rules with students that they know and they agree upon.

The other key takeaway from this session was the idea of the restoration part of the framework.  The key is not what discipline the student is receiving but really the idea of owning up for your mistake and learning how it effected the others in your class community.  The other piece is the reintegration into the community after they have had this issue.  We spoke about how the old model of discipline lead towards shame, insecurity, and self-conscience thoughts.  When we had top-down discipline and did not have reintegration we would hope the students would stop the action and then learn the impact their actions had.  The restorative practice takes away the guessing game students have when trying to understand the way they impacted others.  To do this the community meets in a circle.

The idea of the circle comes from aboriginal mentality of community and equality in the group.  Everyone can see each other and no one feels a hierarchy is in place.  In the circle each person has a chance to talk about their feelings and how they were effected by the situation.  I think this is great because seeing people and hearing their tone would convey the message to the perpetrator but would also help them begin to build empathy.

I really like the idea of restorative justice because I have used the phrases from my teaching overseas and saw the benefits.  From the brief description what do you think?

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