Before I started student teaching, I have heard of restorative practices but did not really understand what it was. Luckily, I was given a book by my principal about restorative practices. It is called The Restorative Practices Handbook.
First off, it is important to define what restorative practices are. In some of the articles, I will include in this post, it is also called restorative justice. According to “What Teachers Need to Know About Restorative Justice”, restorative justice/practice is a theory that focuses more on meditation and agreement rather than punishment. In restorative practices, it is important that the students take responsibility for their actions and understand how their actions made them feel and the people around them.
In “Behavior Management: Not Systems, but Relationships”, Miss Night talks about how each student has a choice. While this post is not directly related to restorative practices, I thought it was a good idea to talk about her classroom management strategies and how they can relate to restorative practices. When students are given choices, they are making the call if they are doing right or wrong in terms of their morals. This is something that restorative practices play off of as well. With restorative practices, we make the student see their behavior in the larger scale of things. They need to see how their behavior is a problem for them, their peers, and the teacher/other staff members. In “Behavior Management: Not Systems, but Relationships” and “Restorative Practices: Fostering Healthy Relationships & Promoting Positive Discipline in Schools”, the authors talk about the importance of relationships when using restorative practices.
There are many ways to go about restorative justice but my favorite is the Circle Process. By having the student hear directly from their peers about how their behavior affected them, they see that they are not just responsible for themselves. These kinds of meetings can open the eyes of students and help them to understand what behavior is appropriate and what is not.
Overall, restorative practices are beneficial in a number of ways. First of all, they help students see how their behavior affects others in a calm and relaxing way. Restorative justices are also a chance for the student to voice their opinion on why they did something wrong. This is different from the traditional ways because we have just labeled students as bad kids but never ask them why they are performing this way.
Click to access Restorative-practices-guide.pdf