5 Reasons Why Restorative Practices Supports Effective Behaviour Management
How to help students take responsibility for their behaviour
Schools often struggle with how to teach students to be accountable for their actions and to take responsibility when they have acted inappropriately.
Howard Zehr, the restorative justice pioneer, coined the three “restorative questions” that guide restorative practices. Compare these questions with the “retributive questions” that characterise our punitive society’s response to crime and wrongdoing:
|Restorative Justice||Retributive Justice|
|What is the harm that was done?||What is the law that was broken?|
|How can that harm be repaired?||Who broke that law?|
|Who is responsible for this repair?||How should they be punished?|
Restorative Practices is based on victim offender reconciliation. By holding offenders directly accountable to those they have harmed, and giving victims a direct voice in the process of repair, safety and trust is restored within communities, providing more meaningful outcomes for everyone affected.
In the school context, all parties come together to be heard, to take responsibility for their part in the conflict and to take action to repair the relationship.
Restorative Practices helps students take responsibility for their own behaviour management by:
Focusing on relationships.In Restorative Practices, the emphasis is on promoting, fostering and sustaining positive relationships and teaching students what to do when there is conflict or difficulty in a relationship. At Lyons School in …….it is called the talking cure because they talk everything out. Talking improves understanding and empathy. This takes the retribution out of the equation and lets students know that relationships can be restored after conflict or difficulties. Read here how to build relationships with students.
Building empathy.Students are made aware of the real consequences of their actions by facing the person who was harmed and hearing how that person feels and what they are thinking. By developing compassion and empathy for others and understanding how their behaviour affects others, students can learn to regulate their own behaviour.
Agreeing on relevant and supportive consequences.Reparation is decided between the two parties so that any follow up is relevant i.e. related to the harm e.g. if a student spoke rudely to a teacher, then the student may repair the harm by apologising and promising to ask for help when feeling stressed in future; and supportive e.g. the teacher agrees to help the student when the work is difficult. Read about logical consequences here.
Using a no-blame approach.When students and teachers agree to a restorative conversation, respectful language is used in a non-threatening and non-confrontational manner. When students are given the opportunity to be accountable for their behaviour in a safe, supportive environment, they are more likely to accept responsibility and be prepared to change their behaviour. To hear about how powerful this approach can be, view here.
Giving everyone a voice.
Students are given an opportunity to speak their truth, to tell their story and be heard. This process gives schools more information about what is going on for students and can help teachers assist students to avoid those difficult situations in the future. For more on how to get a student to own their behaviour click here.