“Restorative Practices”: Discipline but Different
from Education Weekly (URL)
Public schools are realizing that zero-tolerance discipline doesn’t work. If your goal is to educate students, then arbitrarily setting automatic penalties like suspensions and expulsions for what often takes place in much more nuanced situations forces principals to treat kids like criminals rather than emerging adults (if you’re dealing with teens).
I’m glad that the idea of discipline rooted in community, and within a positive teacher/student relationship, is coming to the fore. Nothing is more powerful than a positive relationship. When a student and teacher have invested in one another, there’s something to lose if the relationship goes south. And the teacher begins to save up a significant pile of “relationship capital” that backs up her behavioral demands in the classroom.
“It’s about building relationships and having [students] do what you want them to do because they want to do it—not because they’re afraid of what the consequences are,” said Rhonda Richetta, the principal of City Springs, which has 624 students. “We really want kids to change.”
The article talks about “restorative discipline” as a new thing. …. How have we come so far down this road of rule-based schooling?
The Law never works to change us into righteous people. All it can do is show us just how horrible we human beings are on the inside.
Once you go relational, you’ll never go back.
Is it harder to discipline in grace, and teach relationally? Well, that depends on how you define “hard.” Loving another human being always costs something. Grace always costs the Giver.
But I think it’s a much better cost than the stress and negative emotion associated with trying to manage a classroom full of kids who don’t care for your lesson, your subject, or you.