Connections Quarterly Winter 2019 - Restorative Practices - Page 7

S TA R TI N G W I TH A PAU S E The crucial learning that transformed my communication approach came from ex- amining how the restorative approach de- fines “holding students accountable.” RC uses a relational approach and inquiry to examine the unmet needs that are at the root of the harm (whether done to others or to themselves), explore harm that has been done, and work collaboratively to restore the situation and relationship. Through this process, multiple stories emerge that reveal the complexity inherent in every human interaction and activates empathy. In this way, RC builds relationship and account- ability concurrently. Therefore, if I were to cause harm, being “accountable” would not be about identifying which rule I broke and what punishment I should endure, but about being “counted” as a valuable person in a community who has impact on others, who matters, and who is seen as capable and caring enough to repair the harm and move forward. When we really get this, re- sponding by ignoring or punishing is no longer an option. Restorative Communication v. 2.0 Building upon the strengths of NVC and Affective Language and considering the school context, a stronger model for RC is built upon these basic tenants: “ Connection and relation- ship provide the ‘ballast’ that prevents ‘flipping over’ during challenging (shaming) conversations and situations. ” • Connection and relationship provide the “ballast” that prevents “flipping over” during challenging (shaming) conversations and situations. Shame is like the wind that tips a sailboat. We can handle it when we feel love and belonging, but when we don’t, shame can “flip us over” and activate behaviors like blaming others or ourselves, with- drawing, or avoiding. 1 • Providing equal opportunity for voice improves everyone’s ability to listen, feel connected, and feel that they matter. • Providing a grounded presence that communicates re-spect 2 promotes productive dialogue and provides co- regulation. 1. “4.5. Compass of Shame | Defining Restorative | What We Do.” https://www.iirp.edu/defining-restorative/compass-of- shame. Accessed 24 Oct. 2018. 2. I use the hyphen to signify a specific meaning of respect based on it’s etymology, “to look back on, or to look again.” Re-spect then is a verb that says, I will drop my assumptions and biases and look again to see our shared humanity. Continues on page 6 CSEE Connections Winter 2019 Page 5