Restorative Practices

restorative practicesRestorative Practices in CPS World Language

Restorative circles have been incorporated into the World Language curriculum as a key instructional practice. Circles begin in English at the start of the year in sixth grade, and then slowly transition to a full immersion circle in the target language as students achieve higher proficiency levels. Circles are often conducted once a week and provide a chance for reflection on class norms, overall class culture, and students’ experiences as adolescents in an uncertain world.

All Cambridge Public School World Language educators have been trained in restorative practices with support from the district’s Conflict Mediator. Circles are offered regularly to staff as a voluntary way to deepen educators’ understanding of circles and fine tune skills as circle keepers. Staff have used “The Little Book of Circle Processes: A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking” by Kay Pranis as a guiding text in implementing this initiative.

Restorative practices differ from restorative justice in that there is a greater emphasis on relationship building as part of daily class routines. Classrooms that have a strong restorative practice culture as part of a daily instruction are skillful in reducing and preventing harmful behavior and also have tools to quickly resolve or avoid conflicts while holding students and adults accountable.
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