Restorative Practices at Fairholme
Repairing, resolving and restoring relationships respectfully through a proactive and purposeful problem-solving process
Restorative Practices can take place in any setting and in many forms, ranging from a restorative chat, an informal discussion, a structured conversation, a class meeting or a full conference. Ultimately each approach is founded upon an aim of increasing understanding about self and others as we exist in community with one another. It is about responsibility for actions, understanding of effects and acceptance of consequences – ‘whatever we do, whether good or bad, will have an impact on someone else.’ (Thorsborne)
Restorative chat » Informal discussion » Structured conversation » Class Meeting » Conference
All restorative conversations - whether unstructured or structured, draw from the following questions:
To help me/us to understand what happened can you share with me/us:
- What happened?
- What you were thinking at the time?
- Was it the right or wrong thing to do?
- What you have thought about since?
- Who has been affected, and in what ways?
- What needs to be done to put things right again/or to fix the situation?
- What can you do or say to assure us that this won’t happen again?
- Is there anything anyone needs to hear from you?
- How can we help you?
The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway. Henry Boyle
The Social Discipline Window
The Social Discipline Window depicted below has been adapted from McCold and Wachtel’s (2003) model. It demonstrates 4 possible ways in which adults respond to children in situations of conflict or disagreement. Most of us cross between quadrants depending upon the situation, our energy levels, or available support. We all have a default position learned from our own childhood experiences; a position that we have learned unconsciously.
The quadrants below demonstrate the 4 approaches, each yielding a varied response from the child; from submissive to defiant to compliant to collaborative. If we want children to change their behaviour, we must first demonstrate, and/or change our own. The central tenet of Restorative Practices is to work with those affected by a situation towards a positive, learning outcome. Educational behaviourist, Glasser (1985) reminds us that: ‘warmth and care are done with students, not to or for them. If students reject warmth and care, they do so because they believe it is not sincere.’
(See Vandering, D., (2010) ‘A Window on Relationships: Enlarging the Social Discipline Window for a broader perspective’)
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Albert Einstein
Sometimes an incident requires more significant intervention and in such circumstances, a restorative conference will be offered as a possibility. Conferences are voluntary. Should girls or families decide not to be involved then the incident will be dealt with differently, often in a more traditional and punitive way.
When a conference is decided upon as a means of positive resolution, then a member of staff, trained in Restorative Practices, brings together those directly affected by an incident or relationship breakdown; often this includes students, family and staff members. Conferencing allows time for respectful, honest conversations, careful listening and considered resolution to situations where hurt has occurred. A conclusion is reached through an agreement, jointly constructed by conference participants, and one that is then monitored for completion.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:23-25
Fairholme - a nurturing Christian school, is committed to the development of a vibrant learning community; one that challenges students to become confident and respectful contributors within our global society.
Restorative Practices @ Fairholme
Fairholme is committed to building and growing healthy relationships between all members of the College community. We believe that positive relationships and a demonstrated ethos of care are integral to the creation of a strong learning environment where collaboration, cooperation and negotiation are fundamental components. The use of a restorative practices methodology when resolving conflict, restoring relationship difficulties, or repairing harm reflects a commitment to the core value of respect, a belief in accountability and an acceptance of responsibility for our actions.
An enormous body of research supports this methodology which is underpinned by the following core tenets:
- Wrongdoing is harmful to people and to interpersonal relationships
- Damage to people or to interpersonal relationships creates responsibilities
- Responsibilities for one’s wrongful actions means putting right the wrongs, or fixing the harm that has been done
How Can Parents Assist?
The philosophy of restoration offers hope for those of us who want our children to grow up in a world where they understand that whatever they do, whether good or bad, it will have an impact on someone else. (www.thorsborne.com.au)
- By understanding the process and its philosophical underpinnings
- Incorporating the restorative questions within your own problem-solving
- Modelling a restorative, collaborative, conciliatory approach in your daily life
- Supporting your daughter and the College through engagement in this process, should the circumstance arise
- Seeking support from key members of Pastoral staff in relation to the process.