The teacher walked into the room and found Charlie and Scott in a full-blown argument.
She raised her voice and told them both to have a seat.
Neither boy heard her.
She attempted to split them apart.
But that wasn’t going to happen alone.
She called the Principal in the room for help.
Both boys were immediately taken to the office and suspended.
Isn’t there a better way to deal with fighting in schools?
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As an ED teacher, there is a lot of conflicts that pop up between my boys in the classroom. One way we resolve these
issues is through restorative practice.
We have talking stick talks over when a student destroys my room or when two of the boys get in arguments.
Restorative practice is an easy way to hear both sides of the story without people interrupting or getting into a more significant argument.
What is Restorative Practice?
- Address and discuss the needs of the school community
- Resolve conflict, hold individuals and group accountable
- Repair harm and restore positive relationships
- Reduce, prevent and improve harmful behaviors
- Build healthy relationships between educators and students
Restorative practice is a process that builds healthy relationships and community in your classroom to help prevent conflict and misbehavior.
Why Restorative Practice?
Removing a child from a classroom or expelling a child from a school due to a behavioral issue is not a beneficial way to change that behavior nor build relationships.
A zero-tolerance approach will hinder the child’s relationship with their teacher as well as their willingness to change their behavior. This type of discipline has created a school-to-prison pipeline. It has endangered educational opportunity and increasing the incarceration of the students.
Types of Restorative Practice
There are many types of restorative practice that you can try at home or in a school setting.
Restorative justice is an evidence-practice. It is used to lower suspension, explosion, and disciplinary referrals. The goal is to place value on the relationship and focus on repairing harm done.
We want the students to work together to repair the wrongdoing that was done.
It involves all participants in the conflict. This allows everyone to contribute to the conflict resolution process.
This service allows everyone involved to provide meaningful community service to individual improvement.
This process allows students who have broken the rules to go up in front of a peer jury. They will discuss what rule was broken, who was affected, and how the referred student can repair the harm they caused. Here is how a Chicago elementary school set up a peer jury.
The circle process provides people with the opportunity to learn social skills such as speaking and listening. In the circle, students have the chance to speak and listen in a safe environment.
Teaching concepts and discussing conflicts can also be done in the circle.
Preventative and Post-Conflict Resolution Programs
This program provides students with problem solving and self-control skills. This program walks students through the
steps of resolving a conflict peacefully and appropriately.
A peer meditation is where students can talk through and resolve conflict with other peers. This is done with the help of a student mediator.
This method helps reduce violence in schools and build relationships.
Informal Restorative Practice
Also, restorative practice can be informal in the classroom as well. Such as…
- Using effective statements
- Use of effective questions
- Positive environment
These will help students…
- Reflect on how their behavior has affected others.
- What to do to change their behavior
- Prevent the behavior from happening again.
Restorative practice is a great way to help children learn how to resolve conflict appropriately. This helps the child become a productive and positive member of society.
Restorative practice is changing the way schools look at discipline and social-emotional learning.
Have you found restorative practice helpful in your child’s classroom?
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I can’t imagine having to mediate between students when they’re not your children- especially in this day and age. I have to mediate between my kiddos during our homeschool day, but if they don’t listen I just turn into “mom” and ground them. LOL!
Great post! I’m all for helping everyone, not just kiddos, learn ways to better manage their emotions and their actions. I totally agree that building relationships is key!
This sounds like a much better way to handle issues in the classroom, I always found it crazy how things are handled sometimes.
I hate zero-tolerance policies as it fixes nothing, just a way for the school to no take responsibility. I think restorative practices are a much better alternative! It sounds like a great way for kids to learn how to interact and handle conflict with each other.
This sounds like a much better way of dealing with conflict. Kids want to be heard.
I really like this idea! What a way to teach kids a critical life skill! Resolving conflicts is something most adults can’t even do because they were never taught it.
i’m not a teacher but I can see this being super helpful in the classroom!
To be honest, maybe because I am not in education, I’ve never heard of restorative practice. It sounds like a great tool to use. Thank you for sharing.
This is great. More schools should adopt this approach. We all know that suspension and expulsion is not a beneficial practice. It just further proves to the offending party that they are “bad” and all they deserve is punishment. This is a much better way to help fix behavior.
What is an ED teacher? Is it Special Ed?
Is there an ideal age for this? We have some integrated classrooms at our school. It seems like the entire class leaves when there is an issue with one child. I feel like a lot of teachers don’t have enough resources (time or help) to carry out this kind of approach.
I love the peer mediation. Such a good idea.
Peer mediation works really well in my kids’ classrooms.
This is a great idea to help kids use their mind in the classroom. I love that we’reworking towards a more progressive education.
This is an interesting read and I agree with you that zero-tolerance approach is just not helpful. I would love to learn more about this restorative practice. I am in the academe and this is something worth looking into.
This is a great resolution for behavior conflict. I should use this within my home too!
This made for such an interesting read. So enlightening, the number of ways classrooms have become more enlightening for students…