Schools across the country are moving away from an era of zero-tolerance policies and shifting toward methods that involve restorative justice, encouraging students to resolve their differences by talking to each other rather than resorting to violence. In New York City, five schools that have implemented this system are already seeing results. NewsHour Weekend’s Megan Thompson reports.
Does it work?: The case for conflict resolution education in our nation’s schools
In March, 2000, a gathering of educators, practitioners, and researchers took place in Washington DC in a research symposia sponsored by the United States Department of Education and convened by the Conflict Resolution Education Network. This group came to share their colective knowledge about CRE research, how the research is informing practice in the field of CRE, and what direction future research should take. This 155-page manuscript is a product of this gathering.
The chapter structure is as follows:
Chapter 1: Conflict Resolution Education in the U.S.
Chapter 2: Impact on Students: Conflict Resolution Education’s Proven Benefits for Students
Chapter 3: Impact on Educators: Conflict Resolution Education and the Evidence Regarding Educators
Chapter 4: Impact on Diverse Populations: How CRE Has Not Addressed the Needs of Diverse Populations
Chapter 5: Impact of CRE on School and Classroom Climate
Chapter 6: Conflict Resolution Education: Issues of Institutionalization
Chapter 7: Does It Work? Shared Insights and Future Directions
It’s about Relationships: Creating Positive School Climates
When teachers wonder “What should I do?” in response to challenging student behaviors, the answers are not as simple as they might seem. What teachers can do also depends, at least in part, on external demands (e.g., discipline codes, principal expectations, time pressures on teaching content and testing) that can either facilitate or thwart positive resolutions of conflicts. The most effective teachers in working with challenging students had very positive relationships with them. For years, many school districts have provided training or support around positive discipline but with little evidence of improving the culture of punishment that pervades many New York City schools. This author found that most educators were not directly trained in the strategies their schools were trying to implement. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a tiered framework of positive behavior systems in a school. Success depends on having clear expectations that are taught, rehearsed, and reinforced consistently across settings. In spring 2012, The Atlantic Philanthropies awarded a three-year, $300,000 grant to the consortium that helped cover start-up costs, technology, and professional development. With this grant, the consortium has sought to support schools regarding student behavior. This was the beginning of what would become the Positive Learning Collaborative (PLC), an initiative jointly run by the United Federation of Teachers and the New York City Department of Education to help educators create positive school environments. The Positive Learning Collaborative (PLC) is a holistic approach that focuses on teaching reflective and restorative practices and was implemented in the New York City school system. To that end, educators are coached to be mindful of their own internal dialogue and to teach students coping skills to deal with feelings such as anger and frustration.
Restorative Practices: Fostering Healthy Relationships and Promoting Positive Discipline in Schools
As educators partner with districts to move away from zero tolerance discipline policies and ramp up e orts to strengthen safe and supportive schools, address con ict, improve school climate, and build a positive school culture that students are connected to, many campuses are looking to implement alternative, restorative approaches.
This toolkit was developed to illustrate how restorative strategies can be seamlessly integrated into the classroom, curriculum, and culture of schools. It de nes what restorative practices are, explains why they are a transformational tool for fostering healthy relationships in schools and shows how they can be useful processes for students, educators, and learning communities.
This toolkit is intended for all educators who support the growth and health of students in schools. It is an introduction for those new to the concepts and will help support and enhance the work of teachers already implementing these practices in their classrooms. e toolkit includes digestible models, frameworks, and action steps for school-wide implementation, accompanied by guiding questions to support re ection for practitioners looking to make restorative methods part of the fabric of daily life in schools. It also recognizes the signi cant role all education professionals play in maintaining a school community that models respectful, trusting, and caring relationships.
Five Critical Steps for Reducing Peer Aggression: Early Childhood Practitioner Training Program
STEPS for Early Childhood Practitioners is a comprehensive training program using The Ophelia Project’s Five Critical Steps framework. Through this training, Early Childhood practitioners learn to observe aggression in the classroom and develop skills to carefully and consciously change the social climate of preschools and childcare centers. The training modules empower practitioners to integrate using positive language and pro-social norms as part of their everyday interactions with children and also shows how to create lesson plans to promote empathy, conflict resolution, respect, civility, and manners.
Let’s Be Friends Elementary Curriculum Grades 2-3
A prevention curriculum teaching young children positive social skills, “Let’s Be Friends” presents useful tools that enable students to co-create a positive social environment that fosters kindness, compassion and responsibility. The 45-page pdf provides 8 lessons targeted toward early elementary students.
Lesson One: Positive Attributes
Lesson Two: Internal & External Strengths
Lesson Three: What is a Friend?
Lesson Four: Qualities of Friends
Lesson Five: Understanding Conflict
Lesson Six: Building Empathy
Lesson Seven: Ways to be a Friend
Lesson Eight: Reflecting on Friendships
IREX Conflict Prevention and Peer Mediation Toolkit
The Conflict Prevention and Peer Mediation Toolkit provides the training notes, handouts, sample agendas, and resource templates needed to initiate a peer mediation program for youth. IREX and partner organization Foundation for Tolerance International (FTI) created the Conflict Prevention and Peer Mediation Toolkit to support the creation of peer mediation programs at schools in Kyrgyzstan as part of the Youth Leadership for Peace Project funded by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). After receiving training on conflict prevention, peer mediation, and use of the Toolkit, teachers and youth from the Batken and Chui regions of Kyrgyzstan initiated peer mediation programs at 16 schools. From January â€“ June 2013, peer mediators held more than 60 mediations, with 90% of mediations resulting in a signed mediation agreement.
Navigating the Unchartered Waters of Cross-Cultural Conflict Resolution Education
It is the author’s view that conflict resolution educators should in part draw from participants’ real-life experiences in order develop more culturally appropriate conflict resolution processes (an elicitive approach). Additionally, trainers should hold their knowledge lightly, and elicit conflict-resolution strategies from the group. This dialogical approach allows local and introduced knowledge of conflict resolution to permeate each other in dialogue, thus developing dynamic ways to deal with conflict. In this model, the students become the teachers and vice versa, as problems are explored and concepts are developed as a group. The author also advocates the use of local co-facilitators to establish trust in the local capacities for peace. Participants and trainers alike gain the opportunity to further develop conflict resolution practices that are rooted in their own experience but enhanced by the knowledge of others.
Bully Prevention in Positive Behavior Support
A 52-page handbook focusing on giving elementary students the tools to reduce bullying behavior through the blending of school-wide positive behavior support, explicit instruction, and a redefinition of the bullying construct.
Bully Prevention in Positive Behavior Support for Middle Schools
This 45-page handbook focuses on school-wide positive behavior support, explicit instruction, and a redefinition of the bullying construct in a middle school.
Quick Guide to Implementing a Peer Mediation Program
A 7-page pdf providing a series of annotated questions designed to help a school plan for the implementation of a peer mediation program. Draws on the many years of experience gained at School Mediation Associates, a long-standing peer mediation advocacy and training organization.
Teachers Without Borders Dr. Joseph Hungwa Memorial Peace Education Program
This 300+ page guide provides a full professional development curriculum in peace education. It was developed by Teachers Beyond Borders. The goal is to bring Peace Education to new audiences around the world.
The program is divided into three units, which progress on a continuum from theoretical to practical. Unit 1 provides the history of peace education, a selection of definitions, an overview of the key thinkers in the peace education field and the core concepts. Unit 2 focuses on the Scope of Peace Education, reviewing different approaches to peace education, or different lenses through which peace education can be viewed. Unit 3 moves from theory to practice, addressing the pedagogical approaches to peace education and practical ways to introduce peace education into your classroom and community.
The Challenge of Culture Change: Embedding Restorative Practice in Schools
Paper presented at the Sixth International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices: â€œBuilding a Global Alliance for Restorative Practices and Family Empowermentâ€. Sydney, Australia,March 3-5, 2005. Argues that Restorative practice, with its emphasis on relationships, demands that schools attend to all aspects of the school culture and organisation and that they develop a range of relational practices that help prevent incidents of inappropriate behaviour from arising in the first place. Presents stages for the implementation of this kind of cultural change process.
Social and Emotional Learning and Bullying Prevention
21-page briefing paper prepared for the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
(CASEL) and the Social and Emotional Learning Research Group at the University of
Illinois at Chicago. “Schools using a social and emotional learning (SEL) framework can foster an overall climate of inclusion, warmth, and respect, and promote the development of core social and emotional skills among both students and staff. Because bullying prevention is entirely congruent with SEL, it can be embedded in a school’s SEL framework. The aims of this brief are to (a) provide a basic description of a school-wide SEL framework, (b) illustrate the relationship between social and emotional factors and bullying, and (c) explain how an SEL framework can be extended to include bullying prevention.”
Mixitup: 2008-2009 planner
50-page pdf document, “designed for teachers, counselors, students, administrators and others looking for activities and ideas to organize Mix It Up at Lunch Day, reduce social boundaries at school and promote an inclusive learning environment for all students. It includes lesson plans for early, middle and upper grades based on content standards and can easily be adapted for use in school clubs. For additional activity ideas, online polls and essay prompts, visit www.mixitup.org.”