The International School of Delft (ISD) bases our self-management on the principles of restorative practices.
The key idea behind restorative practices is to look at the actions of ourselves and others and understand the reasons behind the actions. Then once the reasons for the actions have been understood, we can begin to look at who has been affected by this behaviour, how they have been affected and what we can do to restore or repair the damage that has been done.
When applied in a school setting, it leads to a change in behaviour over time. Students begin to learn and understand that their actions have consequences, they affect other people and that they need to be more aware of those around them and how they treat them.
We take action to deal with unacceptable behaviour in children. However, the key difference is that they understand why their actions have consequences, and they accept that the consequence is a justifiable action.
Restorative practices are also a key way to ensure that students begin to verbalise their thinking and understand their feelings of hurt, anger and frustrations. This is a key developmental stage in the emotional and social development of children. To help them through this process four key questions can be used by the parent or teacher to assist in their communication:
- What were you thinking when...?
- What are you thinking now?
- Whom has/have your actions affected?
- How can we fix this problem / How can we make sure this does not happen again / What support can I give you to make sure this does not happen again?
These questions, or variations of these questions, can be used with any age group. Initially everyone can find it very difficult to verbalise their thoughts and will often try to give you the answer they think you want to hear. The key is to walk them through the process and understand that it is a process and it will take time. Once you become more familiar with the approach, the amount of time needed will significantly reduce because you take ownership of your own actions.