Utilize restorative practices to create a safe, accepting, and equitable school climate where learning can flourish.
When students have unfinished learning, educators create opportunities for students to learn. Unfortunately, this role seems to end when it comes to behavior. How can we turn behavior into a teachable moment?
The Restorative Practices Playbook details a set of practices designed to teach prosocial behaviors based on strong relationships and a commitment to the well-being of others. Implementing restorative practices establishes a positive academic and social-emotional learning environment while building students’ capacity to self-regulate, make decisions, and self-govern—the very skills students need to achieve. In this eye-opening, essential playbook, renowned educators Dominique Smith, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey support educators with the reflection prompts, tools, examples, and strategies needed to create restorative practices around several key concepts:
• A restorative school culture, grounded in respect, that builds agency and identity, establishes teacher credibility, sets high expectations, and fosters positive relationships
• Restorative conversations that equip adults and students with the capacity to resolve problems, make decisions, and arrive at solutions in ways that are satisfactory and growth-producing
• Restorative circles that promote academic learning through dialogue, build consensus in decision making, and help participants reach resolution through healing
• Formal restorative conferences that foster guided dialogue between victim(s) and offender(s) and include plans for re-entry into the school community
• By becoming adept in the skillful use of restorative practices, educators will foster equitable discipline that reduces exclusion and creates a school community driven by relationships and respect.
About the Authors:
Dominique Smith, Ed.D. is Chief of Educational Services and Teacher Support at Health Sciences High and Middle College in San Diego, CA. He is passionate about creating school cultures that honor students and build their confidence and competence. Smith's major area of research and instruction focuses on restorative practices, classroom management, growth mindset, and the culture of achievement. In addition to his school leadership responsibilities, Smith provides professional learning to K–12 teachers in groups large and small, on many topics that address classroom and school climate and organization. He is a regular presenter at many conferences, including Empower (ASCD's annual conference). Smith holds his doctorate in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University with a focus on equity and a Master's degree in social work from the University of Southern California. He also holds credentials from San Diego State University in administrative services, child welfare, PPS, and attendance. He is the winner of the National School Safety Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council. He delivered a TED Talk in 2018 about building relationships between students and teachers.
Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High. Previously, Doug was an early intervention teacher and elementary school educator. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association William S. Grey citation of merit and an Exemplary Leader award from the Conference on English Leadership of NCTE. He has published numerous articles on teaching and learning as well as books such as The Teacher Clarity Playbook, PLC+, Visible Learning for Literacy, Comprehension: The Skill, Will, and Thrill of Reading, How Tutoring Works, and most recently, How Learning Works. Doug loves being an educator and hopes to share that passion with others.
Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is a Professor in Educational Leadership at San Diego State and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. She is a member of the International Literacy Association’s Literacy Research Panel. Her published titles include Visible Learning in Literacy, This Is Balanced Literacy, Removing Labels, and Rebound. Nancy is a credentialed special educator, reading specialist, and administrator in California and learns from teachers and students every day.