Solving the Restorative Practice Puzzle: Insights from Greg Jansen and Rich Matla

In an illuminating session, Greg Jansen, co-presenting with Rich Matla, provided attendees with invaluable insights into the intricacies of embedding and sustaining restorative practices in educational settings. With their extensive backgrounds ranging from classroom teaching, pastoral care, and middle management to policy oversight and school governance, both Jansen and Matla’s breadth of experience was palpable in their detailed discourse.

The presentation was aptly titled, “Piecing together the implementation puzzle.” Indeed, the integration of restorative practices into an educational system is akin to assembling a jigsaw puzzle, where each piece represents various considerations and complexities. Through their consultative roles with and, both Jansen and Matla have worked directly with numerous schools across New Zealand, equipping staff and parents with the tools and knowledge to navigate this challenging landscape.

Central to their talk was the introduction of a groundbreaking tool designed to assist educational institutions in gauging their current standing in restorative practices. This auditing tool not only identifies the strengths and potential areas of improvement but also provides a clear roadmap for organizations to enrich their practice and, by extension, their overarching culture. The tool’s uniqueness lies in its holistic approach, encompassing everything from interpersonal relationships to policy and governance structures.

The session was enriched with real-world examples, as Jansen and Matla delved into various case studies of restorative practice implementations. These narratives highlighted the tangible benefits of their approach while also emphasizing the practicality of the tool in shaping strategic planning and sustainability initiatives.

Furthermore, their collaborative work on “Responsive Pedagogy – Engaging Restoratively with Challenging Behaviour” underpins their commitment to promoting a responsive and restorative approach to challenging behaviors in educational settings. The emphasis on ‘responsive pedagogy’ indicates a departure from traditional punitive methods, championing instead an approach rooted in understanding, dialogue, and mutual respect.

One of the standout elements of their presentation was the palpable passion both Jansen and Matla exude for the welfare and development of young individuals. Their dedication to enhancing the quality of learning environments, nurturing the professional growth of educators, and ensuring the well-being of students was evident throughout.

In essence, Jansen and Matla’s session was not just an introduction to a tool but a call to action. It urged educators and school administrators to critically assess their restorative practice implementations, identify gaps, and proactively work towards a holistic, restorative school culture. The emphasis was clear: for restorative practices to be effective and sustainable, they must be deeply woven into the fabric of the educational institution.

In conclusion, the presentation by Greg Jansen and Rich Matla offered a comprehensive, practical guide for schools and organizations looking to integrate and sustain restorative practices effectively. Their combined expertise, innovative tools, and real-world case studies made for an invaluable session that is likely to inspire and guide many educational leaders in their restorative practice journeys.