A few days ago Lindsey Halman, a middle school educator, restorative practices trainer, and active VTLFF participant, gave a professional development webinar on Restorative Practices with her colleague Annie O'Shaughnessy. Restorative Practices are emerging as a reparative, inclusive, and balanced approach to school and community justice. "The restorative approach in schools requires a paradigm shift in how we approach relationships with students, behavior 'management' and discipline," says Lindsey.
It is a shift that asks us to:
see creating a sense of belonging, safety and voice as essential to learning;
view misbehaviors as opportunities for learning and relationship building;
recognize every student as having something important to contribute to the success of the class and the resolution of conflict; and
look beyond the labels we give kids to see their essential goodness.
Vermont Learning for the Future sees restorative practices as a positive, disruptive force to realizing greater equity in education. They provide greater balance and strength to the youth-adult partnerships in learning, greater opportunity for building empathy, bridging differences, and strengthening more just, joyful, and sustainable communities.
For a deep dive into Restorative Practices in Vermont schools, watch Lindsey and Annie's webinar (embedded below), and click over to the International Institute of Restorative Practices for more Restorative Practices resources.