Restorative practices employ empathy and build responsibility in order to right wrongs, repair broken relationships, and, where punishment must be levied, re-integrate students back in to the school community. Research shows that the practices support academic achievement and perceived safety campus-wide.
Restorative practices cultivate and tend to our human need to belong (Maslow), and are increasingly being applied in individual schools and school districts to improve school climate and culture, address youth behavior, and rule violations. Restorative practices are processes that proactively build healthy relationships and a sense of community to prevent and address conflict and wrongdoing. The practices improve relationships between students, between students and educators, and even between educators, whose behavior often serves as a role model for students. They allow each member of the school community to develop and implement a school’s adopted core values.
Additionally, restorative practices support the Common Core Anchor Standards in Speaking and Listening, and enhance students’ skills in collaboration, disagreement, and cooperation. Cultivating these skills is required if we are to deliver the Common Core the way it is designed to be delivered.
Traditional Discipline vs Restorative Discipline
Research shows that exclusionary discipline – kicking students out of class and out of school - is harmful to developing brains, and promotes anti-social behaviors and affiliations. It is common sense that we need students to be in school and we need school to be safe and productive for everyone.
What is a Restorative Best Practices Approach
Restorative practices are time tested, solution-focused, high control and high support alternatives to removing or excluding students from their educational setting.
The work keeps students in school by cultivating their sense of belonging through proactive community building and responses to misbehavior that support them to repair the harm they did and restore the relationships that their actions damaged. The use of restorative practices has been proven to decrease misbehavior, reduce the need for disciplinary actions, increase perceived safety, and increase academic achievement campus-wide.
We work to support adults in schools in unlearning some of the ways that we were disciplined in school and to teach teachers, staff and school administrators to speak, ask questions, listen and respond to challenging behavior in ways that build belonging and cohesion among classmates, and that hold students accountable with fair and consistent discipline and structure as they simultaneously demonstrate their support and care.
This is not another doing, it is a way of being with most people in many situations.
Restorative practices employ empathy and build responsibility in order to right wrongs, repair broken relationships, and, where punishment must be levied, re-integrate students back in to the school community.
Be the Difference
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