Restorative Approaches: What it is.. It is about seeing the person and not the behavior. It is about planning for the future and repairing the harm that has been caused. Key principles that are within restorative approaches include: Taking responsibility for ones own actions and their impact on others; showing empathy with the feelings of others; fairness; allowing the participants of conflict to engage; non-judgmental, blame free approach and a willingness tp create opportunities for reflective change in pupils and staff.
Punishment or Discipline.. What is the difference? Punishment is to inflict pain on a person for breaking the rules and discipline is to train by practice, especially to enable self control and positive regard.
“Restorative Practice is an approach to offending and inappropriate behavior which puts repairing harm done to relationships and people over and above the need for assigning blame and dispensing punishment. ” Restoring Respect for Justice, Wright (1999)
After reading ‘Implementing restorative practice in schools’ by Thorsorne and Blood I have summerised the key points I have taken from it most:
- Restorative practice can also be known as restorative approaches and restorative measures
- Practitioners since the nineties have been using it in different solutions and settings and it is about working out a way forward if a problem has occurred.
- A restorative approach is about understanding that when something wrong has been done, we need to work with those involved to help them take responsibility for their actions, learn from it, and what actions can be taken to repair the harm that has been caused.
- It is highly important that attention is given to the stories of those who have been harmed, in order to repair the harm, and to help the person responsible understand how their actions have affected others.
- A key quote direct from the book in which I find invaluable and paramount to remember when situations arise with in an educational setting was: “Punishment has a compounding affect on children who are already dealing with stress and trauma in their lives. Punishment contributes to this stress, something that may be very evident in those children who are easily aroused and explode in anger and rage on being challenged about their behavior. “
- Doidge (2008): The brain can change, by creating new experiences (with focus and repetition) new brain pathways can be formed.
We use restorative approaches to help encourage members of the school community to effectively resolve and learn. It helps pupils learn empathy and understanding of other peoples feelings and can help promote a positive school ethos. Pupils seek fairness from adults who are dealing with disciplinary issues within the classroom, school or playground. Restorative approaches helps children understand the consequences of their actions and behavior and moves away from a win/lose culture to a more fair process.