Connections Quarterly Winter 2019 - Restorative Practices - Page 41

R ES TORATI V E S C HO O L D I S C I PL I N E Restorative Pedagogy formal restorative group conference circle, all rely upon a very specific type of com- munication and interaction to accomplish equally specific goals. What and how does restoration teach? The short answer is that it teaches us how to be in relationship with each other when there is conflict, disagreement, destructive inter- action, or trauma. As a process it organizes a conversation in such a way that we can talk openly about what’s happening, how we feel, what we need. It requires us to put a plan in place to meet those needs. It shows us how ac- countability and empathy can work together. Generally speaking, all restorative commu- nication has five distinct goals: 1. Establish connection with empathy to build trust. 2. Create a safe dialogue space for ex- pressing and acknowledging feelings and perspectives. Last year an 8th grade teacher where we implemented the whole-school approach shared with me how she used the restor- ative process to guide a class discussion about the current crisis of immigration. After taking her class through the process over several days, she asked her class “What does restoration look like?” Her students created a restorative agreement that in- cluded numerous restorative actions. First on that list was “We need to stop calling them immigrants, and start referring to them as refugees.” l 3. Facilitate a shared understanding of what has happened, or is happening. 4. Discover the underlying thinking, reasons, issues, and potential unmet needs compelling the challenging be- havior/incident. 5. Co-create a plan of action with the stu- dent (or others) to meet those needs with a measurable agreement to follow through and affect change. Dr. Will Bledsoe is the founder of Restorative Way, a leading US restorative practice organization. Since designing and implementing one of the nation’s first university restorative justice programs at the University of Colorado, Dr. Bledsoe has taken restorative practices to a wider audience by establishing them as the primary methodology for conflict resolution. He is a highly regarded conflict mediator, trainer, and consultant with extensive experience in the design and implemen- tation of trauma-responsive restorative programming in a number of different industry sectors including education (primary, secondary, and tertiary), correctional, and corporate. He is a keen fly fisherman so dedicated to sustainability that he puts everything he catches back in the river. You can contact Will at CSEE Connections Winter 2019 Page 39