Using Punitive and Restorative Approaches Together
Adopting restorative practices does not mean that you will stop using punitive approaches. It is important to explain this to your students. For example, you might say:
“One of the ways that restorative dialogue is different than punishment is that participation is by invitation. You can choose not to be in dialogue with the people who have been affected. Instead you can submit to the system of discipline based on punishment.
“Also, as your classroom teacher I may decide if I think that restorative dialogue is the best approach for a situation, or if punishment is. Restorative dialogue takes more time and in some ways is more challenging for everyone involved, although over long run it is often the best approach. So before using restorative dialogue we consider if there is enough time and if the people who are involved are likely to participate in a way that is respectful and leads to good results.”
Invite discussion and clarification of how restorative and punitive approaches co-exist in the classroom and in the school.
Punishment can have a positive psychological effect, especially when combined with restorative approaches. By enduring a reasonable amount of fair punishment a student may feel that she has earned their way back into the good graces of the school community. It is important for teachers and disciplinarians who are using restorative practices to be clear about this point, and to form ideas about what it means operationally. So, gather with your colleagues in a circle and pass the talking piece around. Here are a few high-quality questions to get you started:
"I thank all of you, students and parents alike, who worked hard to establish understanding and agreements, and address the hurtful and damaging behaviors that took place. It was a time of heightened emotions; each one of us, me included, came to a new understanding. This is the heart of being a human being--how we grow and learn in order to become more effective in the world."