The use of restorative strategies in the classroom is an innovative approach to conflict resolution. It involves repairing relationships, including restorative actions by the offender and forgiveness on the part of the victim.
In the classroom, this approach is typically associated with bullying. But restorative strategies go beyond this to create true respect in the classroom between students and their peers and students and the teacher.
Restorative strategies teach effective conflict resolution and empower students to become mediators, working to resolve conflicts on their own, both inside and outside of the classroom.
Restorative Practices in Action
Implementing restorative practices in the classroom builds a better classroom community, where even the most troubling students learn respect for their peers and the teacher. This is accomplished with honest dialogue and a focus on “making things right” in the environment.
Restorative strategies are the antithesis of the “zero-tolerance” policies of the past (still in use in many places) or a discipline-heavy approach to education. Rather than harsh punishment for unruly behavior, issues are discussed openly. The goal is to find a way to repair relationships and restore order and harmony in the classroom.
A move to this type of classroom management can be challenging. For teachers, it helps to seek out professional development courses that deal with restorative strategies and how to practically implement them.
Examples of Restorative Strategies Classes
Fresno Pacific University offers classes on restorative strategies as part of the school’s offering of professional development courses that provide practical, job-related education in an online format.
FPU’s restorative strategies courses help teachers understand:
Classroom Restorative Discipline
This class focuses on problem-solving techniques that resolve conflicts and allow teachers to develop deeper relationships with their students.
Strategic Planning for Restorative Discipline
How can you plan, implement and sustain restorative discipline in your classroom? This course focuses on accomplishing that goal.
Peer Mediation and Conflict Resolution
This course focuses on the best way to resolve conflicts in the classroom. It also addresses the implementation of programs to foster conflict resolution not only in the classroom but also schoolwide. It is designed for teachers, administrators, and other educational professionals.
Student Mediator Training
Teachers learn the skills and strategies of becoming a mediator, as well as the dynamics inherent in conflicts. Further, they learn how to teach mediator skills to students, empowering them to resolve conflicts with friends, parents, siblings and teachers.
These classes provide practical, graduate-level skills for teachers interested in expanding their knowledge of using restorative strategies in the classroom. For teachers who want a better way to create order and discipline, it’s an option worth considering. Learn other ways you can build a positive classroom.