Smart, Proactive, Positive, and Effective Classroom Management
Restorative justice in education can be a smart, proactive, positive, and effective classroom management tool.
Every teacher, school, and district implements restorative justice in different ways, but fundamentally, restorative justice aims to resolve disciplinary problems through cooperative and constructive means, rather than through traditional methods of punishment.
Smart Classroom Management
Restorative justice can be a smart way to manage a classroom. For starters, restorative justice breaks the cycle of student misbehaviors, warnings, disciplines, and suspensions. Many restorative justice practices in the classroom are designed to allow disruptive students to accept responsibility and remain part of the group, rather than shaming and/or ostracizing them.
Proactive Classroom Management
Restorative justice in schools relies on proactive classroom management, rather than reactive classroom management. Teachers can tell students in advance what’s expected of them and perhaps even let them participate in setting guidelines and boundaries for behavior. This type of proactive classroom management can eliminate some issues entirely and addresses others while they’re still minor, preventing them from festering and becoming more problematic.
Positive Classroom Management
Restorative justice can take an extremely negative, potentially harmful, situation and turn it into a positive. For example, with traditional classroom management practices, if a student yelled at a teacher in front of a class of students, typically, he or she would be sent out of the room and punished.
In a restorative justice application, the same student might be asked to meet with his or her “victims” (the other students in the room who felt harmed by the behavior). Everyone involved (teacher, “offender,” and “victims”) would be allowed to constructively share their feelings. This type of restorative justice circle for disruptive behavior can help foster empathy: between the teacher and the student who acted out, between the teacher and the other students, and among all of the students. As importantly, it allows misbehaving students to alter their behavior and stay in the classrooms, which, big picture, could help them stay in school.
Restorative justice in the classroom, fundamentally respects cultural diversities, different learning styles, and student’s personal situations, while rejecting the notion that “one-type-fits-all” when it comes to resolving disciplinary problems.
Effective Classroom Management
When practiced successfully, restorative justice an incredibly effective classroom management technique. Restorative justice can reduce disruption, boost learning, and promote a greater respect among all students.
Online Professional Development Course On Classroom Management
At Education 4 Equity, we offer a 3-credit professional development course, Classroom Management: Restorative Justice In Action, that is delivered 100% online. This online classroom management course qualifies for graduate level credits and has been approved for LAUSD salary points, through the Los Angeles Unified School District.