Connections Quarterly Winter 2019 - Restorative Practices - Page 23

C I R C L E PRAC TI C E ens organically into the family and neighborhood. ity to learn math and reading. Teaching the community to live together well becomes the foundation of a successful school. • The Task of Changing Cultural Habits Schools have several advantages in the pro- cess of changing cultural habits: • They are smaller units of community and are well-defined, making coherent change easier to attain. • Schools are communities where the same group of people, more or less, are together for many hours, potentially for a good number of years, providing sig- nificant time and opportunity to prac- tice new behaviors. • Children learn new habits more quickly than adults—and have fewer habits to unlearn. • The impact of new habits can be seen more quickly because of the size and coherence of school communities. This provides crucial feedback and reinforce- ment to motivate continuous effort. Changing habits is very difficult. We need structures that help us practice the new habit until we no longer need the structure. Circle is just that. Circle is a space to practice being together in a slower, more thought- ful, more value-based way with an end goal of learning to live together with diminished discord and increased harmony. Circle is the space for us to practice that way of being until it becomes second nature and, ideally, we reach a time when can do it without the supportive structure of the circle itself. Educators are in a powerful position to trans- form our culture by practicing, modeling, and teaching a new way of being until it becomes second nature to both students and adults. No work is more important than that. l Children are natural ambassadors, tak- ing new habits back into their homes. Dissemination of the practices happ- Kay Pranis teaches and writes about the dialog process known as Peacemaking Circles. Since her initial exposure to the use of Peacemaking Circles in the justice system, Kay has been involved in developing the use of these Circles in schools, social services, churches, families, neighborhoods, museums, universities, municipal planning, and workplaces. Kay has authored or co-authored several books about Circles including: The Little Book of Circle Processes—A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking; Heart of Hope—A Guide for Using Peacemaking Circles to Develop Emotional Literacy, Promote Healing & Build Healthy Relationships; Circle Forward—Building a Restorative School Community. Kay can be con- tacted at CSEE Connections Winter 2019 Page 21