Creating Safe and Inclusive Classrooms: Restorative Justice, and PBIS – Part 1

by | Feb 7, 2023

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Defining Restorative Justice, Positive Behavior Intervention Support, and Responsive Classrooms

Restorative justice, positive behavior intervention support, and responsive classrooms are all approaches to creating positive, safe, and inclusive learning environments for students. They all have similar goals of promoting positive relationships, reducing disciplinary actions, and fostering a sense of community in the classroom. However, each approach takes a slightly different approach to achieve these goals.

 

Restorative Justice: Repairing Harm and Building Positive Relationships

Restorative justice is an approach that focuses on repairing harm that has been caused by a behavior. This is done by bringing together the person who caused the harm, the person who was harmed, and a facilitator to have a conversation about what happened, how it affected everyone involved, and what can be done to make things right. This approach is used to address behaviors such as bullying, harassment, and other forms of harm.

 

An example of how restorative justice might be used in the classroom is if a student were to take another student’s pencil without asking. The student who took the pencil, the student who had their pencil taken, and the teacher would have a conversation about what happened, how it made the student who had their pencil taken feel, and what the student who took the pencil could do to make things right. This might include apologizing, returning the pencil, and finding ways to prevent it from happening again.

 

Positive Behavior Intervention Support: Promoting Positive Behaviors and Rewarding Students

Positive behavior intervention support (PBIS) is an approach that focuses on promoting positive behaviors. This is done by creating a set of clear expectations for behavior and rewarding students when they meet these expectations. This approach is used to address behaviors such as disruptions, absenteeism, and other forms of negative behavior.

 

An example of how PBIS might be used in the classroom is if a teacher were to establish a set of clear expectations for behavior, such as staying seated during class, raising your hand before speaking, and being kind to others. The teacher would then reward students who meet these expectations with tokens or points, which can be exchanged for prizes or privileges.

 

Responsive Classrooms: Creating a Positive and Inclusive Classroom Community

Responsive classrooms’ is an approach that focuses on creating a positive and inclusive classroom community. This is done by teaching social and emotional skills, such as empathy, cooperation, and responsibility, and by creating a safe and respectful classroom environment. This approach is used to address behaviors such as bullying, harassment, and other forms of harm.

 

An example of how responsive classrooms might be used in the classroom is if a teacher were to start each day with a “morning meeting” where students greet each other, share news, and discuss topics related to social and emotional skills. The teacher would also create a safe and respectful classroom environment by teaching students to be kind and respectful to each other and by providing opportunities for students to work together in groups.

 

Instructional Strategies and Activities: Putting the Approaches into Action

Here are some instructional strategies that teachers can use for each approach:

  • Restorative justice: Use “circle time” to bring students together to discuss and resolve conflicts. This can be done by having students sit in a circle and take turns sharing their perspectives on a situation. The teacher can facilitate the discussion and help students come to a resolution.

 

  • Role-playing can be used to help students understand and empathize with the perspectives of others. For example, if a student has taken another student’s pencil without asking, the teacher can have the student role-play the situation and then reflect on how it would feel to have their pencil taken without permission.

 

Encourage students to take responsibility for their actions by having them come up with a plan to make things right. For example, the student who took the pencil can apologize, return the pencil, and find ways to prevent it from happening again.

 

  • Positive behavior intervention support: Use positive reinforcement to encourage desired behaviors. For example, give students tokens or points when they meet expectations, such as staying seated during class or raising their hand before speaking. These tokens or points can be exchanged for prizes or privileges.

 

Use visual cues, such as posters or charts, to remind students of the expectations for behavior. This can help them understand what is expected of them and make it easier to meet those expectations.

 

Use “catch them being good” to recognize students who are demonstrating positive behaviors. For example, if a student is working quietly and independently, the teacher can give them a positive verbal or written reinforcement for their behavior.

 

  • Responsive classrooms: Use “morning meeting” to start each day with a positive and inclusive community-building activity. This can be done by having students greet each other, share news, and discuss topics related to social and emotional skills.

 

Use cooperative learning to provide opportunities for students to work together in small groups. For example, the teacher can assign a group project that requires students to work together to complete a task. This will help students develop teamwork and communication skills.

 

Use “class meetings” to provide an opportunity for students to discuss issues, share their feelings, and make decisions. This can be done by having students sit in a circle and take turns sharing their perspectives on a situation. The teacher can facilitate the discussion and help students come to a resolution.

 

It’s important to note that these are just examples, and teachers can tailor the strategies to fit their own classrooms. Additionally, it’s essential to regularly assess and evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies to make adjustments as necessary. The key is to create a positive and inclusive classroom environment where students feel safe, respected, and supported.

 

Conclusion: Creating Safe, Positive, and Inclusive Learning Environments

In conclusion, restorative justice, positive behavior intervention support, and responsive classrooms are all approaches to creating positive, safe, and inclusive learning environments for students. They all have similar goals of promoting positive relationships, reducing disciplinary actions, and fostering a sense of community in the classroom.

 

However, each approach takes a slightly different approach to achieve these goals. By understanding the differences between these approaches, teachers can choose the one that best fits the needs of their students and create a positive and inclusive classroom community.

 

References and Further Reading

 

  1. Restorative Justice: An Overview” by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/249768.pdf
  2. “Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports” by the Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. https://www.pbis.org/
  3. “Responsive Classroom Approach” by the Responsive Classroom. https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/responsive-classroom-approach/

 

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