How can restorative practices catalyze a school's transition from traditional education to a more progressive, project based learning model?
Walking around my school’s hallways always left me with a feeling of frustration. First of all, classrooms did not look like project-based learning classrooms. There was little to no student work on the walls, seats were usually in rows, teachers were in front of the classroom, lecturing, and the most frustrating of all, you could hear them talking to students in very commanding ways, with firm voices that left no room for student voice and choice. I decided to change this since I thought our school had come to a stop in its transition process. My main motivation was my own kids, who go to this school, and also the students I work with as a School Psychologist. I thought they deserved to be treated as intelligent, responsible and creative human beings. My solution was the implementation of Restorative Practices. The road was very bumpy, and I encountered a lot of resistance and setbacks, but in the end, I was able to facilitate restorative circles where my colleagues witnessed the power of restorative practices. Teachers started thinking about using circles to motivate their students to learn, to push the work forward, to get to know them better, to make them feel part of the community, to help them express their emotions in an effective way, to involve their families, to solve conflicts, and most importantly, to change the way they had been doing things. Throughout my research, I examine how restorative practices became the missing link for my school to continue to become a progressive, respectful, peaceful, project-based learning school.