Discussion in 'General Education' started by amybear, Apr 17, 2019.
Apr 17, 2019
Does anyone have any experience with restorative discipline? Pros and cons?
No formal experience, though I want to say the theory or spirit or it is almost a natural part of behavior teaching in lower elementary.
I really love the idea of restorative discipline all throughout schools in an official capacity. I think it's logical and civil. From what I've read about experiments with it, it does indeed reduce suspensions but without the side effect of having a lousy classroom--apparently many teachers claim they feel the classroom runs smoother.
That said, the idea of taking the time to set it up in our rush-rush, data-focused, bell-to-bell learning world makes me wonder how much pushback from staff or administration would happen.
And, of course, there is that subset of students with whom it just won't work. Which is fine, but a school ought to have a clear plan for quickly identifying when it's not working due to the student and not the system.
We have used it for years. Previous admin bought into it 100% and did not have any real discipline of any kind. Like anything else, it works well for the mild, "normal" behavior issues, you know, issues that any behavior system would work for. It did nothing for severe issues. Kids quickly learned there were no consequences and that misbehavior led to extra 1:1 attention from adults. I also didn't like that the restorative conversations basically forced the victim into a) spending more time with the aggressor, and b) forgiving the aggressor. Theoretically they could say no, but most of the victims are nicer kids who feel like they need to please adults. Yes, on paper suspensions and such went down. That doesn't mean the actual behavior stopped. That means they quit giving suspensions.
Current admin came in last year and changed things around a bit. We still do the restorative conversations and the "make it right" things, but they also recognized that there are situations where a "make it right" simply isn't good enough, and actual consequences are sometimes necessary. Behavior in the building has improved significantly.
Apr 18, 2019
This is big, here. We have peer juries, 1:1 conferences/talks, calm classroom meditations, etc. The only write up I ever did this year was for a kid who called another kid several derogatory names. The offender was forced to read an article and write about the history of that language before meeting with the victim for a discussion. This makes sense to me, but I don't think we should "throw the baby out with the bathwater," so to speak. I've seen the pendulum swing towards zero actual consequences. Detentions and suspensions are heavily frowned upon. I thought the aforementioned kid should do all that work while also having a detention, but he didn't get one. Kids are taking advantage of the softer approach and going wild. Like with anything, I think restorative practices need thought, planning, and buy in across staff. You can't just start doing them haphazardly.
I don't have any experience with it but doing some research on it I'd definitely be interested in expanding my own understanding of it and possibly implementing into my school.
Apr 19, 2019
It seems like a lot of schools are using restorative justice without consequences. I am personally not a fan unless the school works time in during the day. I'm not sure when teachers are expected to run restorative justice circles during the day. I personally think a mix of consequences and restorative justice is the best.
Apr 25, 2019
We do it in my district. It's a lot like waterfall described. I haven't written an office referral since we started it. I just email the AP when students have issues, and she deals with it. Seems like a lot of work for her, and, personally, I would never want to be the one having all of those conferences with students. In general, I think the philosophy is good, and it works for a lot of of students and situations. It doesn't work for everything, though, and some kids just get away with too much.
Separate names with a comma.