Restorative Practices

Restorative Practices Video Introduction

Restorative practices is an emerging social science that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections within communities” – International Institute for Restorative Practices

The purpose is to build healthy communities, increase social capital, decrease disruptive and antisocial behavior, repair harm and restore relationships.

Use these resources to dig-deeper and expand your knowledge of Restorative Practices!

Two Paradigms: Power-Based and Collective Based

  • Read A Tale of Two Paradigms
  • Reflect on the following questions:
    • What are the characteristics of zero-tolerance (traditional) discipline approaches?
    • What are the characteristics of restorative discipline practices?
    • To what extent does each meet the needs of students, teachers, families?
    • To what extent does each likely support improvement to the academic performance profile of the school


Consider the state of relationships in your child’s school community. Reflect on the questions below.

  • How do schools build and foster relationships between staff?
  • How do schools build and foster relationships between students?
  • How do schools build and foster relationships between staff and students?
  • How do schools build and foster relationships between families and the school?

Connection + Challenge = Change

Think about a leader or mentor whose advice you have sought and taken.

  • How does your experience relate to this formula?
  • What is the value of social capital in supporting individuals to change?

Understanding the Social Discipline Window

Participants Complete My SDS (Social Discipline Style) Worksheet

  • In which box is your SDS located most of the time when you consider your work with students?
  • Did you find yourself in multiple boxes?
  • What influences your placement in the predominant box?
  • Is your placement different when you are with family and colleagues? If so, why?
  • If your school were assigned an SDS, in which box would it be located?

The Issue of Shame and Its Impact on Positive Discipline

Read more about the issue of shame:

  • What does shame have to do with restorative discipline?
  • How is shame destructive to ourselves and others?
  • How can shame be “harnessed” to help transform behavior?

Affective Language and Restorative Questions

  • What is affective language?
  • How accessible is it to most people and under most circumstances?
  • What are restorative questions? How do they make use of affective language? How are they different from questions that an administrator, in a zero-tolerance environment, might pose to a student who is written up by a teacher for disrespectful behavior or fighting?

The Magic Circle: The Power to Connect and Heal

Refer to and/or play videos referenced in the Prepare for the Session instructions.

  • What gives the Circle its special meaning in restorative work?
  • What are the mechanics of organizing a circle in a classroom?  Is it necessary to have participants sit in a circular arrangement or is the Circle a conceptual element that signifies something that the convener wants to convey?
  • How are proactive and reactive circles different?