Your school or campus might already use conferences to deal with behavior issues, but restorative conferences are a bit different. In restorative conferences, victims, offenders, and their friends and family take an active role in resolving any conflicts.
A restorative conference is an example of restorative discipline. You should use restorative practices when you wish to repair harm done and reestablish relationships within your school as opposed to strictly punishing students. During a conference, your students get a chance to deal with the consequences of their wrongdoing and decide how to best repair and harms caused together.
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You’ve likely heard the term “restorative discipline” used on your campus before. It’s a philosophy that’s been getting a lot of attention lately in the education world. But, despite the term’s growing popularity, you might not know what restorative discipline really is.
Restorative discipline is just one branch of the larger restorative practices tree. The international Institute of Restorative Practices defines restorative practices as, “social science that studies how to build social capital and achieve social discipline through participatory learning and decision-making.” You might be confused by this definition, but it simply means that restorative practices focus on repairing social harm by involving the community.
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Restorative circles are strategies you can use in your classrooms to develop relationships, build communities, and respond to conflicts and problems that arise. With restorative circles, you give everyone an equal opportunity to speak, and be listened to.
When you’re building your restorative circles, the basic structure is easy to learn. Gather everyone around in a circle, and follow the guidelines of whatever circle type you’re using!
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