In the domain of restorative justice, conventional teaching methods often fall short. The 2020 RJ World Conference bore witness to this fact when Kathleen McGoey, along with her co-author Lindsey Pointer, showcased an innovative teaching methodology that leveraged the power of games and interactive activities to drive home the principles of restorative justice. Their presentation, available for viewing here, didn’t merely focus on theory; it made restorative justice tangible and relatable.
The previous year saw the introduction of restorative pedagogy through “The Little Book of Restorative Teaching Tools”. The reflections shared by McGoey and Pointer emphasized the significance of aligning teaching methods with restorative values. They believe, quite rightly, that imbibing principles is far more effective when the teaching itself mirrors the ethos of the subject. This innovative approach resonated with many, as they utilized games and activities to explain intricate concepts.
In a successive attempt to build on this foundation, the duo returned with an expanded repertoire of games and activities, geared towards facilitating community understanding of restorative justice. These tools weren’t just about theory; they were about praxis. They aimed to help learners grasp the restorative philosophy, discern the root causes of problematic behavior, hone active listening skills, and most poignantly, comprehend and work towards rectifying the “first harm”, as Edward Valandra labeled the injustices committed against the indigenous people of the United States. Each activity was meticulously detailed, with guidelines on its application and firsthand observations of outcomes.
Kathleen McGoey is not new to the world of restorative justice. Her credentials are a testament to her deep commitment to the cause. With an MA in International Peace & Conflict Studies, coupled with her role as the former Executive Director of Longmont Community Justice Partnership (LCJP), she has both academic knowledge and on-the-ground experience. Under her guidance, the LCJP orchestrated restorative justice programs that bridged the community with police and schools.
But McGoey’s contributions to the field extend beyond her professional roles. Her co-authored book, “The Little Book of Restorative Teaching Tools,” and her digital platform, RestorativeTeachingTools.com, provide a treasure trove of resources. This free online collection ensures that educators across the globe have access to activities that can revolutionize the way restorative practices are taught and imbibed.
In reflection, Kathleen McGoey’s presentation at the RJ World Conference was a confluence of innovative pedagogy and passionate advocacy for restorative justice. By combining the age-old wisdom of restorative principles with contemporary, engaging teaching tools, McGoey and Pointer are steering the community towards a deeper, more profound understanding of restorative justice. Their work underscores a vital message: for principles to be truly internalized, they must be taught in a manner that is both engaging and in harmony with the ethos they represent.