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?