Independent Thinking on Restorative Practice: Building relationships, improving behaviour and creating stronger communities (Independent Thinking On ... series)

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Independent Thinking on Restorative Practice: Building relationships, improving behaviour and creating stronger communities (Independent Thinking On ... series)

Independent Thinking on Restorative Practice: Building relationships, improving behaviour and creating stronger communities (Independent Thinking On ... series)

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The approach fosters better relationships, which, in turn, lead to better behaviour, but some students will need restorative conversations once an incident has happened. The following model is the one we use as the cornerstone to underpin relational practice. It is based on a model originally created by Malcolm Glaser, but more recently promoted by Ted Wachtel and Paul McCold. It’s called the Social Discipline Window and it's the basis for a restorative practice model built on high challenge and high support. (Actually, the original version uses the word ‘control’, but I replace it with the word ‘challenge’ in the work I do for reasons that will become clear.) This is not how we do things. When things go wrong, we involve the person who did the deed and those who have been affected in a discussion, and ask them the following questions: what has happened? Who has been affected? How can we make things better? What can we learn from this experience? And how can we prevent a recurrence? Brighton and Hove City Council have pledged to be a ‘restorative city’ and use restorative approaches across their work. This is intertwined with their relationship-based practice framework within Children’s Services. This short video takes you through a restorative conversation in the context of difficulties between neighbours.

A recently retired Police Sergeant her police role, latterly, was managing a dedicated team who worked with young people in a range of youth settings including Youth Offending Teams, Schools, Residential Care and within the community. Deb also managed a unique, multiagency funded Restorative Justice team supporting victims of serious crime through restorative processes. The work included writing and developing interagency policy and processes around both areas of business.Mark describes the challenges and successes of restorative practice with honesty and gentle humour, sharing his rich experiences in these approaches. The value of strong relationships underpins every chapter, empowering educators to build trust and reciprocity across their school community. At its heart, restorative practice is all about relationships. Our connections with the children, young people and families that we work with, as well as each other, are so important for learning or change. Relationships don’t just ‘happen’ they need to be nurtured in our everyday interactions and steps taken to repair them when things go wrong. This inspirational TED Talk from Rita Pierson ‘Every Kid Needs a Champion’ reminds us of the importance of relationships with children and how we can all adopt a few simple things to not only connect with them, but each other. We must involve people in decisions that affect them, listen actively to one another, be empathic, and deal with conflicts and tensions in a way that seeks to repair harm and sustain relationships. This is the core of restorative practice. The top left-hand box is when you engage in high challenge, low support practices. It describes when you are doing things to young people. ‘Just do this and you’ll pass the exam.’ ‘Just get on with it as I showed you.’ ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ This is the ‘TO’ box and the original version uses the words ‘authoritarian’ and ‘punitive’ to describe behaviours typical of this style of practice. Never underestimate the power of this simple premise. Do you connect with students, their families and colleagues at the outset, before you go anywhere near the content? If so, how?

You can see clearly that the bottom left-hand box is the domain that is built not only low on challenge but also low on support. ‘This is Mr Davies, your supply teacher, and here is a worksheet to do’, ‘When you finish your work you can colour it in?’ ‘What do you expect from kids round here?’ We call this the ‘NOT’ box and the original version of this model has the word 'neglectful' as a way of summarising this way of doing things.


When asking who has been affected do not stress the impact on yourself first, listen to them impact on them before you do, we will come to discussing how you highlight your dissatisfaction. Try questions like: This is an exciting opportunity for eight Surrey primary schools to join a pilot project, fully funded by Surrey County Council and jointly led by L30 Relational Systems and the Specialist Teachers for Inclusive Practice (STIP). This quote - 'without relatedness, no work can occur' - is at the centre of Mark's writing. Let's now get on and try it. I think good things will happen! Next, we’ll ask who has been affected and how, and follow this by examining and exploring the impact on people and relationships.

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