“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict – alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.”– Dorothy Thompson
What is this lesson about?
Restorative Approaches (RA) is a conflict resolution style that is used widely in schools, justice systems, and many cultures worldwide. Currently, RA is gaining traction in school systems as an effective means for reducing out-of-school suspensions. The approach is facilitated by the use of the Restorative Questions.
What actually happened?
Who has been harmed?
Who is responsible for what?
How can we fix it?
What will students Do during this lesson?
Students will start this lesson with a fun team-building activity that will no doubt bring some conflict.
Students will attempt to work through their conflict to succeed at a team goal.
We will then discuss how conflict naturally occurs and how we can best respond to it.
We all bring our experiences to situations and how we see and respond to those situations. That doesn’t always mean that you are right or wrong but rather that different responses can be just that...different. It takes all kinds of kinds to make up a world that is unique and interesting. When someone sees something differently than us, we can try our best to embrace the difference and not to exploit it.
However, there are times when we see things differently and it leads to a conflict. To define conflict - it is any situation where there is no clear solution”. Even though conflict can be helpful, it can feel uncomfortable and even painful when we are in the middle of a conflict that we don’t know how to solve. Today we are going to learn an easy way to solve most of our conflicts - the RESTORATIVE QUESTIONS. These are really simple questions you can ask in most conflicts to help find a solution. This approach is useful but will only work if everyone is willing to agree to a few ground rules. If you really want to solve your conflict, you need to make sure that everyone involved can agree to:
take responsibility for your own actions and not blame others
Wait for your turn to speak and listen when others speak
tell the truth
be willing to find a solution
1. What actually happened? This question is important because it is your chance to tell your side of the story. This is not a time to place blame but rather a time to stick to just the facts and keep it as short as possible. If all sides agree with the same, or at least similar story, the it is time to move on to the next question. 2. Who has been harmed? This question is asking about the different types of harm that might occur in a conflict including physical, emotional, monetary, social, and/or academic. For example, if two people began to push each other on the playground, they might not realize that they also harmed anyone who saw or heard about it by causing them to feel unsafe or their family by causing them to feel worried or upset.
3. Who is responsible for what? The purpose of this question is for each person or group to take responsibility for his or her own actions. Keep the focus on yourself for this question rather than pointing out what others are responsible for. Another way to think about this question is “What other part of the harm did I cause?”
4. How can we fix it? There is no pre-determined answer to this question. This is a chance for everyone to voice their opinion about what they can do, or what they need from others to feel like the harm is fixed. The emphasis should be on repairing the harm and finding a solution that everyone agrees with.
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