Connections Quarterly Winter 2019 - Restorative Practices - Page 4

Starting with a Pause: How Restorative Communication Transforms Schools By Annie O’Shaughnessy True Nature Teaching How can we hold students accountable and help them recover from harm in ways that do not damage but instead enhance their connectedness? Restoring good relations in meaningful ways is the key, and it is what restorative measures are designed to do. ~ Circle in the Square, Riestenberg I t’s the first day of school and John enters my high school English classroom late, sits down in the back and says, “English f ’ ing sucks” at no one in particular. His words hang heavily in the air as the rest of the students look at me, waiting for my reaction. I invite you to pause to reflect on how you might respond in this moment. Would you say: “Using those words in school is inappropriate and will not be tolerated. This is your first warn- ing.”? Do you respond with humor and sarcasm, “That’s a fine way to start class!”? Or do you simply ignore his words and get the class started? What would a response sound like that not only holds the student accountable but also deepens relationship and personal growth for both parties? I asked myself this question countless times over the 25 years since I first became a teacher. Studying mindfulness, trauma-informed care, and restorative practices helped me to finally articulate an answer worth sharing. Page 2 Winter 2019 CSEE Connections