Three perspectives on school culture

If you’re interested to learn about Australia’s initiatives to implement Restorative Practice in schools, have a look at the Real Schools Academy, and even better: Listen to the CEO Adam Voigt tackle the question “How do we work on the culture of a school if we’re not sure what it [culture] is?” *Psssst… his book Restoring Teaching will be launched soon… You can save your copy now!!! *

Margaret Thorsborne, who has a history of experience with implementing Restorative Practice in different schools and organisations in Australia, US, UK, South East Asia and New Zealand will shed light on the concept of “deep culture change”. Her presentation might be the perfect accompaniment to Adam Voigt and his exploration of the meaning of school culture. Additionally, Margaret offers some helpful tools to assess the “readiness” for the introduction of Restorative Practice initiatives, using a relational approach. More can be found here: Ready4RP. She will also share her key findings from her experiences supporting a variety of organisations in their efforts to acquire a restorative mindset.

Tom Shaw, a teacher, researcher and senior leader from the UK, is part of developing the Restore Our Schools Project. Curated by “a restorative collective of researchers, practitioners and school leaders”, stakeholders plan together for the return to the classrooms, playgrounds and corridors of schools. He will introduce the astonishing CMCS (Carr Manor Community School) model. This model bucks several local and national trends: “It has had zero permanent exclusions for 14 years, consistently has the lowest rate of fixed term exclusions in Leeds, high staff retention and the lowest staff absence for stress in Leeds. Pupils self-report higher than city-wide measures on the annual well-being survey”. Curious to find out what’s behind this magical model? Don’t miss his talk!

Restorative Practice in Schools – For, or beyond behaviour management?

Some leading experts understand the restorative approach in schools as a great way to manage behaviour. Amongst those is David Vinegrad, a well experienced trainer and conference facilitator in teacher education with wide ranging experience with international and Australian schools. Laura Mooiman, an international educational consultant based in the Netherlands, will share the insights as a project director for the Wellness Program and PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Support). The goal of PBIS, on which she will elaborate in her presentation, is to create “(…) systems and structures to prevent problem behavior, make students and staff feel safe, and shift staff mindset toward positive approaches to managing student behaviour.” If you want to learn more about this vision, check out her page: https://www.lauramooiman.com/about.

On the other side, some pioneers claim that a restorative approach can only unleash its full potential when thinking beyond, or outside behaviour management. Michelle Stowe, a name mentioned the Blogpost “Culture Change Starts in Schools“, explicitly articulates her passion to move “(…) conversations beyond ‘behaviour management’ and towards growing relational learning communities. In her presentation, she will explore the concept of leadership as modelling. In her view, thinking restoratively informs “how we think, speak, share, listen, ask and show up, all day every day in our classrooms and beyond.”

Graeme George, like Michelle, regards Restorative Practice as a practice beyond its purpose to manage behaviour. He has been a teacher for 38 years and focusses on the “transformative element” inherent to a restorative mindset. He will illuminate what he calls a “(…) truly relational pedagogy around the school values, in which the community’s guiding values can be brought to life – and to bear – in the students’ and teachers’ lived experience.” If this sounds exciting, you can learn more on his Website RP for Schools!

And also, check out our other posts about the topic “RESTORATIVE SCHOOLING”:
Culture change starts in schools: Meet the international changemakers behind the movement
The disputed concept of (school-) culture
Teaching and Learning after Covid?!

Restorative Practice in Schools – beyond behaviour management?

Some leading experts understand the restorative approach in schools as a great way to manage behaviour. Amongst those presenting at RJ World are David Vinegrad, a well experienced trainer and conference facilitator in teacher education with wide ranging experience with international and Australian schools. Laura Mooiman, an international educational consultant based in the Netherlands, will share the insights as a project director for the Wellness Program and PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Support). The goal of PBIS, on which she will elaborate in her presentation, is to create “(…) systems and structures to prevent problem behavior, make students and staff feel safe, and shift staff mindset toward positive approaches to managing student behaviour.” If you want to learn more about this vision, check out her page: https://www.lauramooiman.com/about.

On the other side, some pioneers claim that a restorative approach can only unleash its full potential when thinking beyond, or outside behaviour management. Michelle Stowe, a name mentioned the Blogpost “Culture Change Starts in Schools“, explicitly articulates her passion to move “(…) conversations beyond ‘behaviour management’ and towards growing relational learning communities. In her presentation, she will explore the concept of leadership as modelling. In her view, thinking restoratively informs “how we think, speak, share, listen, ask and show up, all day every day in our classrooms and beyond.”

And also, check out our other posts about the topic “RESTORATIVE SCHOOLING”:
Culture change starts in schools: Meet the international changemakers behind the movement
The disputed concept of (school-) culture
Teaching and Learning after Covid?!

Culture change starts in schools: Meet the international changemakers behind the movement

„Empathy: The heart of difficult conversations”

This is the first sentence you encounter on Michelle Stowe’s Website of the initiative she runs, called Connect RP. Michelle is one of our Irish presenters at the virtual conference RJ World 2020. More than 20 speakers from 7 different countries will be sharing their experience and insights around implementing Restorative Practices sustainably in the education sector. Speakers provide insight into primary schools, secondary schools and even beyond the bounds of the classroom! Check out Michelle’s Ted Talk to get a feel for the transformative potential of a restorative connection between students and teachers.

Gail Quigley, an Australian elementary school principle with a passion for social justice states: “I believe RJ is the golden ticket to overcoming inequality the world faces today!” In her presentation, she will explain how giving the children a voice in a mostly adult dominated environment obsessed with behaviourism, is necessary to create a just society. For her, and all our presenters on the topic of schools, schools are the place where future citizens are moulded. Thus, it is CRUCIAL to start in the classroom if we aim to see more positive relationships in our communities, families, workplace, organisations and all institutions.

Anna Gregory and Terence Bevington, both from the UK, will present their book chapter in Getting More Out of Restorative Practices in Schools. Anna and Terence explore the use of Restorative Practices through the lens of peacebuilding. Both presenters understand the progression of Restorative Practice as “something to help with behaviour management through to its potential to build culture.” Their talk is for everyone interested in how creative practices such as “Theatre of the Oppressed” help to create a “(…) culture of positive space”.

If you are interested in learning more about creativity and arts in the classroom, you will also LOVE Talma Shultz’s workshop. Talma is an experienced developer and facilitator of education programmes in the US, who integrates neuroscience, psychology, pedagogy and the arts grounded in equity and inclusion. The emphasis of her presentation is how to establish “creative arts as ways of knowing and being in community through circle.”

And also, check out our other posts about the topic “RESTORATIVE SCHOOLING”:
Restorative Practice in Schools- For, or beyond behaviour management?
The disputed concept of (school-) culture
Teaching and Learning after Covid?!

Europe leads the way in restorative cities

Get to know the EFRJ “Restorative Cities” Working Group

What… actually … does the concept of “Restorative Cities” mean? To get some clarity on this, I visited the Website of the European Forum For Restorative Justice (EFRJ), where I stumbled across the following explanation:

“Restorative Cities aim at disseminating restorative values (inclusion, participation, respect, responsibility, solidarity, truth seeking, etc.) in different settings where conflict may occur, such as families, schools, neighbourhoods, sport organisations, work places, intercultural communities, etc. The final goal is to strengthen relationships, encourage active citizenship and look at conflict as an opportunity for change, rather than a threat.”

Alright, basically a broad scale, (or better city-wide) implementation of restorative values that encompasses all social institutions and cultures. Make sense? If not quite yet, this year’s RJ WORLD 2020 has tons of eloquent speakers, researchers and change-leaders from all over the world to flesh out the idea of Restorative Cities for us!

One of them is Chris Straker from the UK. He is a national and international conference speaker who worked with cities on strategic, city-wide, implementation of restorative values. He is also part of the international Working Group on Restorative Cities hosted by the EFRJ. The agenda of this working group is to “bring together different local experiences which have the intention of creating a cultural change with citizens who are empowered in their conflict resolution skills and decision making.”

In his workshop, Chris will inquire further into the meaning of living together restoratively. Part of his talk focusses on debunking myths behind the concept of restorative cities. To do so, he uses the UK as a backdrop for participants to explore their own ideas on what a restorative city means. Further, he will also introduce some models for restorative cities but he is particularly interested in using the opportunity of the conference to create dialogue.

Sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? Especially, since Restorative Practice only unfolds its full potential in conversation. The belief in the transformative potential of dialogue is perhaps the connecting element between all our speakers of this year’s RJ WORLD 2020 conference.

Three other presenters who are eager to structure their joint presentation according to this motto are Prof. Grazia Mannozzi & Gian Luigi Lepri & Chiara Perini from Italy. Grazia was the first chair of the EFRJ Working Group on Restorative Cities and Gian Luigi is the current chair of the same group. Their presentation will open a dialogic space in which both former and current chair have a conversation.

In this talk, they will firstly discuss the “conceptual transition from restorative justice theory to the elaboration of the idea of restorative cities” to give insight into potential gap between theory and practice. Secondly, challenges around restorative cities will be explored whilst shedding light on the reasons why this has become a pivotal theme in the action of the EFRJ. Lastly, the speakers will analyse the idea behind restorative cities with regards to their popularity concretely in Europe. But that’s still not all this workshop holds for us: After that, the speakers will apply a “SWOT Analysis” to current restorative cities- projects. This will serve to evaluate the project’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Wow, what a holistic talk this will be…

And hey, why not have a look at our other post on the topic Restorative Cities:
From Restorative Communities, to Restorative Cities to Restorative States