Restorative Instructional Practices: (Un)interrupting the Teaching of Restorative Approaches

Restorative Instructional Practices: (Un)interrupting the Teaching of Restorative Approaches

Mike D. Revell (Prince George's Community College, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2827-3.ch004

Abstract

Recently a randomized study over two years within a large urban school system has confirmed that restorative practices can positively impact classroom and schoolwide socio-emotional attainments, as evidenced by reduced school suspensions and increased attendance. However, many of the teachers surveyed in this study overwhelmingly reported that having a “lack of time” was the biggest constraint to developing community through restorative practices as this “time” was considered distinctly separate from the “time” needed to deliver instruction. This perceived dichotomy revealed that restorative practices existed as a competing opposite to the design, delivery, and development of academic instruction, as the current routine of planning, preparing, organizing, and executing restorative practices happens either “TO” or “FOR” rather than “THROUGH” core academic content and “WITH” instructional delivery practices.
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Introduction

Restorative practices are a process for resolving conflict while building positive interactions. Typically, seated within the format of a circle, learners discuss the complex interplay among cognition, feelings, and actions by designing, delivering, and developing affective statements and questions. It is through this process that learners trace and convey how interruptions of harm can or has impacted healthy interactions. These discussions occur formally after an experience of harm has occurred or informally before conflict emerges. The increasing popularity of restorative practices as a means for growing positive relationships within schools has prompted researchers to investigate its presumed usefulness. Recently, a randomized study over two years within a large urban school system has confirmed that restorative practices can positively impact the classroom and schoolwide socio-emotional attainments (Rand Corporation, 2018) as evidenced by reduced school suspensions and increased attendance (Petrosono, Gukenburg, & Fronius, 2012; Rumberger & Losen, 2016). However, many of the teachers surveyed in this study overwhelmingly reported that having a “lack of time” was the biggest constraint to developing the use of restorative practices in schools. As such, the “time” needed to build community through restorative practices was considered distinctly separate from the “time” needed to deliver instruction. This perceived dichotomy revealed that restorative practices existed as a competing opposite to the design, delivery, and development of academic instruction. Not surprisingly the current routine of planning, preparing, organizing and executing restorative practices happens either “TO” or “FOR” rather than “THROUGH core academic content and “WITH” the delivery of high leverage instructional practices. In response to this dichotomy the study, therefore, recommended using the components of restorative practices to, not only, build community and resolve a conflict but also deliver “core academic content.” This recommendation implicitly suggests that resolving the assumed dichotomy of competing opposite that currently exist between the use of restorative practices, on the one hand, and the delivery of instruction, on the other hand, is essential for developing restorative practices beyond its current underuse.

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