Featured Resources

Discipline Problem? Or Institutional Culture Problem?

Does talking it through really make a difference? Restorative Justice in Education practitioners see how discussion and dialogue at all levels of educational systems can start to make real change in schools and society.

Danny Malec, working with schools in Washington, D.C., says that the real issue is creating a more positive culture, which requires talking and listening to each other to focus on healthy relationships.

“Culture takes time to change. A lot of our students have grown up being suspended. They know that really well. What they don’t know well is how to sit down and repair damaged relationships. It’s the same with the adults in the building. It’s a foreign culture for all of us, and that takes time.”

What does this look like on the everyday level? A panel of educators in September discussed this in a webinar put on by the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice. Some of their experience includes facilitating circle processes with high school girls and training teachers for using restorative practices in the classroom.

How might language teachers and learners contribute to this discussion, given that we work regularly with cultural change and cultural learning? What tools could help educators navigate the new “language” of relationships, respect and repairing harm?

Advertisements

About clwoelk

Cheryl Woelk is coordinator of Language for Peace and specializes in language and peace education in multicultural contexts. She holds an MA in Education and a graduate certificate in Peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, USA. Cheryl currently lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with her spouse and son.

Discussion

One thought on “Discipline Problem? Or Institutional Culture Problem?

  1. This quote here seems to sum it up so well: “Restorative justice is about slowing down, it’s about listening to each other, it’s about involving a wider range of people in the process – the whole structure kind of has to shift with restorative practices, which makes it extra difficult and kind of scares me a little bit.”

    That’s seems like one of the biggest things that really makes it hard to achieve that ‘cultural change’ that needs to happen to make RJ really successful. It’s scary to think that things won’t get better fast…Soon after I arrived in Korea, I had a student who made class a nightmare. I wanted to tell him he wasn’t welcome in class because he was causing so much stress for me and the other students. It was really hard to let him come to the decision himself about whether he wanted to stay or not; I kept hoping and hoping he would decide to quit–it was just so hard to have him there. I remember feeling so guilty when he finally did decide to leave, because I was so relieved. I feel sad that I wasn’t ready then to really put RJ into practice. My heart wasn’t there yet. It still probably would have taken a very long time to see any change in that classroom, but I think if I had been better equipped, or more fully “on board” with the idea of RJ, it might have made me less desperate for him to go–and made me more able to help him know that he was wanted and valued. Even with a language barrier, it was probably very clear to him from my body language how much I was struggling to like him. I hope the next time I teach, I am able to do a better job of that. I think it’s really important for teachers and education administrators and families to get some real training in RJ practice…it absolutely does not come naturally for the majority of us.

    Like

    Posted by abigailjlong | November 3, 2015, 8:13 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Contributing Author

Cheryl Woelk is coordinator of Language for Peace and specializes in language and peace education in multicultural contexts. She holds an MA in Education and a graduate certificate in Peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, USA. Cheryl currently lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with her spouse and son.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: