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Using Restorative Practices in the Classroom

A positive classroom environment is composed of many factors, but perhaps one of the most significant elements is how conflicts and discipline are managed.

In a supportive classroom environment, disciplinary procedures aim to turn infractions into learning opportunities. Restorative practices in the classroom help educators embrace the power of positivity to help students learn and grow socially, emotionally, and academically.

Benefits of Restorative Practices in the Classroom

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and social-emotional learning (SEL) provide a strong foundation for restorative practices. Schools that use these methods often find that incorporating restorative practices helps to improve school climate over the long term.

No matter where your school is on its journey to improve school culture, you can impact the students in your classroom by using restorative practices to resolve conflicts.

Restorative practices in the classroom have many benefits, including:

Development of SEL skills

Teaching students to manage their emotions, problem-solve, and understand how their actions affect others are all critical skills in social-emotional learning. Restorative practices can help to underscore student development in the five CASEL competencies.

Healthy peer relationships

Students who learn to respond appropriately to the actions of others are able to form healthy relationships with others.

Positive teacher-student relationships

Restorative practices create an environment of trust between teacher and students. This trust is the foundation of positive teacher-student relationships.

Improvement in student behavior

Resolving conflict in a peaceful manner allows students to develop positive behavior skills. Students who can problem-solve in a proactive manner are less likely to exhibit negative behaviors.

Decrease in office referrals

Solving issues within the classroom instead of allowing conflicts to escalate means fewer trips to the office for offending individuals.

Reduced classroom conflicts

A sense of cooperation and the ability to work through differences make for a peaceful classroom environment.

Respect and responsibility

Mutual respect among teacher and students, and the willingness to accept responsibility for actions and work through resolving issues are hallmarks of a restorative classroom environment.

How to Use Restorative Practices in the Classroom

Moving away from punitive discipline in the classroom can positively affect student behavior. Removing a student from the classroom environment for a behavior infraction not only hurts their academic growth, but it also impacts the rest of the class. In contrast, turning behavior infractions into learning opportunities improves outcomes for every student. Students learn how to problem-solve, offer and accept apologies, show compassion, and develop self-regulation skills. Making restorative practices part of your classroom management techniques can be a collaborative effort:

Mirror the schoolwide behavior matrix

Your school’s overall behavior matrix is the perfect place to begin. Establish expectations that are specific to your classroom, using the schoolwide matrix as a guide. Your classroom behavior matrix is where you outline many of the routines and procedures that help your days operate smoothly.

Seek student input

Depending on the age of your students, you can work together to establish a process to alleviate poor behavior. Discuss how you want to address hurtful and harmful behaviors as a class.

Common language

How you speak about behaviors is important. Students should have a vocabulary that describes what they are feeling, how others make them feel, and what they need to restore relationships. This common language can also help them to encourage one another.

Restorative circles

The hallmark of many restorative practice strategies, restorative circles can help repair relationships among your students. Establish the ground rules and goals and guide your students through this process.

Calming and Mindfulness exercises

Often students just need a moment to refocus or collect themselves. Introducing mindfulness exercises and calming techniques will allow your students to build self-regulation skills.

Restorative Practices With Navigate360

The goal of restorative practices in the classroom is to create a learning environment in which all students can learn and grow – not only academically but also socially and emotionally. These strategies can help to improve engagement, reduce disciplinary issues, and build resilience. That’s why Navigate360 offers a professional development course focused solely on restorative practices. Available as an asynchronous course or through virtual or in-person sessions, Restorative Practices for Educators PD can help you to integrate these strategies into your classroom. This PD session will define restorative practices, explain their importance, identify basics, and discuss best practices. Once you complete the course, you will be able to describe the concept of restorative practices, identify student behaviors that can benefit from these strategies, and incorporate these practices into your classroom routines.

Restorative practices can be a game-changer in your classroom. Our Restorative Practices for Educators PD is just one of many professional development courses offered by Navigate360. We’d love to tell you more! Just contact us to get started!

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