TDT: Restorative Practices

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:

  1. Restorative practice can also be known as restorative approaches and restorative measures
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. “
  6. 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.

Developing Classroom Talk…

After the lecture on classroom talk and looking the reading by Pollard (chapter 12) I have a much better understanding on the importance of classroom talk and how effective it can be in the classroom if used properly, from the pupils involved but also teacher dialect.  The power of talk helps the brain to build connections and build its capabilities (Perkins 2012). Within the general teaching council Scotland, it highlights as one of its main criteria’s that teachers should be able to communicate effectively and interact productively with learners whether individually or collectively. Teachers use talk for many purposes, this includes to: Instruct; Check understanding; Maintain control; Develop learning and help pupils see learning trajectory. Pupils need to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding to promote discussion and thinking, further developing their range of question types, and developing un understanding of people will have different opinions and views in which they need to learn to respect and value. When asking questions, it is important to give pupils appropriate time to answer, and asking questions to which there may be more than one answer. It is important to engage with the answers given, particularly the wrong answers as it can help generate as to why a pupil may be thinking something giving the teacher an insight on where progression and future goals may go. Exploratory talk is to explore ideas and probe others thinking. When planning for opportunities to talk within the classroom it is important to have a clear learning objective in mind, developing a clear plan of the context to be covered, concepts to be developed and issues to be explored. Materials should also be prepared, such as websites, questions or dvd’s as an example. Its important to set ground rules within the setting and deciding on how to evaluate and assess the questions and answers that are given. Questioning is a vital part of teaching and is paramount for both pupil and teacher as there can be low order questions and high order questions. Questioning can give an informal way to assess how a child is getting on, and gives immediate feedback on pupil’s thinking and where progression strategies may lead. (Pollard) —> Communication can be verbal and non verbal as body language and facial expressions can contradict on what is being communicated verbally. Tone, pitch, and volume are all ways we project our voice and are part of the communication process. Language skills are fundamental to communication, as we need to think about what we are going to say successfully to get information across to someone else, but in turn listening to their point of view and information understanding how to process it and understand what they are trying to communicate to us and how to respond to it both verbally and non verbally.

Reflection: Where am I now?

Dereks Lecture (pedagogical studies) – Reflections/Evaluation on professional practice. 

One of the most important moments for my professional development in semester one is the working together module. As a whole it was really good to work with other people from the same and different professions, building and developing a professional and also friendly partnership. I feel my confidence grew and became one of the “leaders” of the group. I feel after getting my peer feedback it put my mind at rest, as I often over thought if I was having too much input and being annoying. The group I was with were fab, and although our CLD individual left the group, it made us stronger and come together more as we pulled together and cracked on with the work and tasks we had to do (as this was after our visit). We all shared equally the presentation preparations and discussing who should say what. I feel by doing this with individuals that I previously didn’t know, I have learned to take a step back and realise that not everything is in my control. Reflecting, I feel I developed my communication skills better as I was able to take on board everyone’s point of views and understand why they thought or came up with an idea. I feel it helped me develop a further understanding that everyone has their own expierences and backgrounds, and how that influences the way we think, hence viewing situations differently.

I feel I developed a sense of empathy, when someone was off before we got to know each other, I feel I was judgemental and assuming they were skipping the class. Hoewever, when relationships were formed and I got to know people and they were off, I had a better understanding of why they were off, and the reasons behind it. I feel I have become a lot less judgemental and slowly realising that not everything is as it first seems, and that I need to go deeper rather than just scratching the surface. Everyone has their own life and circumstances and it is important to realise that individuals can have more going on in the background than others. In the future I will take this nugget of information and use it in the classroom, in the aspect of being non-judgemental in the classroom, and making sure that I do my upmost best to always meet the needs of the children in my care, ensuring they are in the best environment to learn in and be themselves.

In relation to further developing, I hope to bond with my placement class, and learn of the needs they will have. I hope this will help me plan effective lessons which they will find fun and stimulating, ensuring they are learning from it too. I am looking forward to getting to know them individually, and finding ways to help them reach their full potential in the time that I am there. In order to help me reach this development goal, I will communicate and also get to know the teacher who’s class I am in, and also build an effective professional relationship with them.