The phenomenon occurs in schools, especially when students are being treated as criminals. Schools rely on suspending or expelling students who continue to misbehave. Even in the early childhood years, teachers can tell which students are on a road to getting in trouble in school and with the law. In return, these are the students who continue to get in trouble in younger grades, and then as they age it becomes the expectation set by previous teachers and administrators.
Schools, like the justice system, continue to put blame on the student, instead of evaluating the larger system. Application and Best Practices. For more information on Best Practices, visit these resources:. Conversations and Perspectives: Interview. All Rights Reserved. Advanced Search. Partners In Learning. Request new password. The way that teachers communicate with students has a direct correlation to their social, emotional, and academic view of school. Children will also learn to identify themselves based upon the language that you use with them. Using postive language when referring to students will help them to choose positive identities.
Example: Instead of saying "students" or "boys and girls" choose to refer to students as readers, writers, mathematicians, or scientists, depending upon your focus content. Use Logical Consequences : A logical consequence is an idea the children would implement if they were to abuse the rules. The consequences need to be simple so that students are able to understand and adapt quickly to them.
For example, if a student misuses materials, they lose the privilege of using them. Positive Time Out : When a student becomes seemingly frustrated, upset, or exhibits negative behaviors, allow them to "take a break. Apology of Action : This technique of restorative classroom practices allows students to learn about empathy.
An apolog of action provides a means for students to discuss what it means to be truly sorry. An apology of action also allows students to discuss and create a list of steps to take when saying sorry isn't enough.
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- Teaching Restorative Practices with Classroom Circles - Center for Restorative Process;
Morning Meeting : Everyone in the classroom gathers in a circle for twenty to thirty minutes at the beginning of each school day and proceeds through four sequential components: greeting, sharing, group activity, and morning message. Establishing Rules : Teacher and students work together to name individual goals for the year and establish rules that will help everyone reach those goals.
Energizers : Short, playful, whole-group activities that are used as breaks in lesson.
Quiet Time : A brief, purposeful, and relaxed time of transition that takes place after lunch and recess, before the rest of the school day continues. Closing Circle : A five to ten minute gathering at the end of the day that promotes reflection and celebration through participation in a brief activity or two.
Investing Students in the Rules : Students collaborate to establish classroom expectation based on individual goals. Brain Breaks : Short breaks in lessons used to increase focus, motivation, learning, and memory. Active Teaching : A straightforward, developmentally appropriate strategy for delivering curriculum content. Components : Teacher presentation, explanation, illustration, and demonstration. LiveSchool : Online program that rewards students with points for positive behavior, and can take away points for negative behaviors.
Effective Classroom Management
Students can then use the points to "purchase" rewards. Has been beneficial in the classroom, but like any other program, the students either care about their points or they do not. Conversations and Perspectives: Interview Principal : Every year there is a new behavior management program or idea that is believed to be most effective.
We try to implement new ideas, however to see if they really work we have to keep at them consistently. When a Restorative Practices approach is adopted by a school community, the lens shifts from traditional discipline responses to a restorative approach. A question that I commonly hear from educators operating from a traditional response includes, "How will the student be punished? The hypothesis of restorative practices is very simple: people are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their behavior when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them.
Using this hypothesis, think about a time that you did something for a student or to a student. Was there a positive long-term outcome? I suspect it may have had a good result in the short term but this approach came up short when seeking continual change. A seventh grade teacher is at her wits end with a student who frequently leaves his books and supplies in his locker. A permissive teacher would help this student by providing her own supplies for the student and allowing him return to his locker each day to get his work.
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A teacher who responds from a more authoritarian mindset would send the student out of class and give him lunch detention. A restorative teacher would have an existing relationship with this student and find a time to meet individually with the student to discuss this behavior pattern, including sharing with the student how his behavior has negatively affected her as well as the entire class.
During the conversation, the teacher may discover this student lacks organizational skills so she refers him to the school counselor where he can attend a group that focuses on student success skills that can be applied to all aspects of his academic life. In a respectful manner, the teacher aided the student in taking responsibility for his actions and connected the student to resources that may help him develop new skills resulting in a greater chance for long-term change.
Remember this is not a cookie-cutter program that can be purchased; rather, it is a philosophical framework that provides a different way of responding to challenging student behavior in our school communities.
In Classroom Discipline, A Soft Approach Is Harder Than It Looks
Restorative Practices views the offense through a different lens. It requires that we view our students from a growth mindset, rather than a fixed mindset. We must believe change is possible and discover the assets within our students. We must take into account the worldview of our students, including any past trauma and negative life events that may be impeding their success.
The need for dynamic responses to challenging behaviors is mandatory; no longer can our responses be static or reactive. In my training sessions with educators I commonly ask if anyone thinks a baby is futile because the baby cannot talk, walk, or read. To date, no one thinks this to be true; they understand the baby hasn't learned to do so yet. So then I ask, "What leads us to think that our middle school students have been taught how to behave or respond appropriately when faced with adversity?
Within restorative school responses, students receive support to learn new behaviors as well have the opportunity to sit face to face with the person harmed to hear how this person has been affected. In doing so, we are providing space to heal, and learn new behaviors, as well as build empathy. An overall goal of moving to a restorative approach is to create a healthier, more exceptional school community.
When implementing and practicing from a restorative lens, we can see multiple positive ripples occurring in our classrooms, schools, and communities. Each incident works to foster an understanding of the influence of the behavior. Shame is a common feeling associated with misbehavior. In some cases, I witnessed students eventually gain labels from their behavioral choices e.
Within the restorative response, we work diligently to see and separate the behavior from the student by focusing on the intrinsic worth of the student while rejecting the negative behavior. I frequently ask educators during a training session to make a list of the students they have the most behavioral problems with in their classes. Next, I ask them to write three words to describe each student on the list.
What I Learned About the Power of Restorative Justice in Schools
We typically discover the identifiers are fairly negative. To conclude this activity, we work to shift the teachers' thinking about about these students. For example, how can we turn the original "less than positive" descriptive term, argumentative, into an asset? Could this student be persistent?
Or maybe this student has strong communication skills? By flipping the frame, we may begin to view this student differently. The student may be surprised or respond tentatively because it may be the first time an educator has shown genuine concern and interest. Stay the course and continue working with the student. Restorative Practices seeks to repair the harm that was done to people, relationships, and the school.
When this is accomplished, educators and students can engage in teaching and learning. Restorative Practices is not merely a discipline approach. Although it is helpful as a means of managing classrooms, when students are actively engaged and allowed to take greater responsibility for their own behavior and responses to harm, teaching and learning will also be enhanced. One concrete strategy is key when we adopt a restorative approach. First, you will want to become familiar with the affective questions see below used when there has been a problem or conflict. These questions view conflict as a learning opportunity and work to rebuild relationships.
As students first learn these skills, you will want to be more hands-on and involved. You can also model this approach.