As a part of our ongoing efforts to implement restorative practices into school culture, Eagle Rock’s faculty and staff met on a recent Friday morning to explore incorporating more restorative circles into our campus culture and instruction.
A restorative classroom practice strives to promote community, acceptance and belonging in a safe environment that works at strengthening relationships and repairing harm.
Beverly Manigo from the International Institute for Restorative Practices led a workshop for us that featured reading, discussion, and practical simulations for how we might implement circles.
After reading an excerpt from Restorative Circles in Schools: Building Community and Enhancing Learning by Bob Costello, Joshua Wachtel, and Ted Wachtel, the group explored the meaning in using different types of circles. “The circle represents a fundamental change in the relationship between students and authority figures,” the book explains. “It creates a cooperative atmosphere in which students take responsibility for their actions. Students respond because they feel respected and realize that what they say matters.”
While Eagle Rock has used reactive circles for years, our faculty and staff were excited to learn more about circles that are used proactively and during academic classes. With the trimester just starting, some of our House Parents also expressed interest in using proactive circles to build trust and provide a foundation for future conversation.
Several of our faculty members said they already use proactive circles in their classes and are interested in strengthening that practice.
“We use them on Mondays to gauge where the students are and look forward to the week,” said our Public Allies fellow in language and literacy, Jake Sund. “Students express concerns, talk around their metacognitive skills, and discuss what’s working and what’s not.”
Holly Takashima, Sund’s co-teacher and our language and literacy instructional specialist, wants to build on that ritual at the start of the new trimester. “I’m going to use it on the Continue reading…