Restorative justice is a philosophy of justice that focuses on repairing the harm caused by wrongdoing, rather than simply punishing the offender. It is based on the belief that all members of a community have a responsibility to each other, and that we can all learn from our mistakes and make amends.
It is a powerful tool for building positive school climates. When students feel safe and respected, they are going to be more engaged in their learning and behave in positive ways. Creating a sense of community and belonging by teaching students how to resolve conflict peacefully.
Organisations like the Restorative Justice Council (RJC) provide a space for practitioners to connect, share and develop best practice for embedding restorative approaches in Education.
There are many ways to promote restorative justice in schools. Some schools have implemented restorative justice circles, which are facilitated conversations between those who have been harmed, those who have caused the harm, and other non-partisan individuals. Restorative justice circles are used to address a wide range of issues, from bullying to school violence. Other strategies include practices such as peace-making circles, peer mediation, and conflict coaching.
It’s not a quick fix, but it can be a powerful tool for building positive school climates. When implemented effectively, restorative justice can reduce conflict, improve student behaviour, and create a more supportive and inclusive learning environment.
We’ve listed some specific strategies below:
Create a school-wide culture of respect and responsibility.
Teach students about the importance of respecting themselves, others, and property. Embed these values into the overall school ethos.
Provide students with opportunities to learn about restorative justice.
This can be done through classroom lessons, assemblies, and other school-wide events. It is important to teach students about the principles of restorative justice and how it can be used to resolve conflict peacefully.
Create a restorative justice team.
Put together a team of staff members, students, parents, and governors. The team will be responsible for developing and implementing restorative justice practices at the school.
Make restorative justice a part of the school’s discipline policy.
Restorative justice should be considered as an option for resolving conflict, rather than simply punishing the offending student.
Evaluate the effectiveness of restorative justice practices.
Ensure that restorative justice is having a positive impact on the school climate. Analyse academic outcomes and gather feedback from staff members and students to gain a better understanding of their experiences with restorative techniques.
Restorative justice can be a powerful tool for building positive school climates. When implemented effectively, it will reduce conflict, improve student behaviour, and create a more supportive and inclusive learning environment.
What are your thoughts on restorative justice and implementing these practices into everyday school life? Let us know in the comments section below.
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