Relational and Restorative Practices

Training Workshops for 'Special Character' Schools

Introduction

Society is changing and the former focus of ‘managing’ or ‘punishing’ behaviour is no longer effective in many educational settings. There is a global emphasis moving towards reconnecting people with values, morality and healthy relationships. The focus is moving toward managing relationships rather than behaviour. Breakdown in relationships is causing disenchantment with school and a lack of student engagement. In order to move forward it is recognized that harm done to relationships, by conflict or wrongdoing, must be repaired. Underpinning this training package is the belief that "the problem is the problem"; or in Christian terms “Love the sinner, hate the sin”. This approach eliminates blame and enables people to work collaboratively to address problem issues within a continuum of respect and support. If adults focus on the importance of modelling pro-social, respectful ways of communicating and dealing with problem issues, or conflict, opportunities emerge for youngsters to witness healthy relationships and to advance in their growth toward social and emotional intelligence.

Kath with Student

Training focuses firstly on school philosophy and culture; it invites reflection on adult practices; how staff relate to one another and students and why things go wrong. It is our hope that the school staff will be energised by this opportunity to reflect on their own positioning and pedagogy; to examine the effects of power and language; and to develop the skills to initiate classroom systems and facilitate restorative conversations. It introduces other ‘restorative tools’, for example: restorative classroom practices including the use of ‘Mahi Pai/ Mahi Hee’; establishing restorative classroom relationships, mini-chats, conversations, mediations, whanau hui and conferencing.

Training takes place over three days initially, with provision for further training to support culture shift including educating students and the broader community. There will be opportunities to ensure that practices, pathways and policies within the school environment are inclusive and support restorative relationships and a culture of care.

Why choose this training package?

This training package is unique in that:

  • It works to restore relationships at the site that they have been broken down. It seeks to restore the relationship between the persons involved long before it becomes necessary to pass on to a higher level of management. In this way, the effects are two-fold; firstly, it rebuilds the authority and respect of the classroom teacher, who may no longer feel the need to ‘pass-on’. Secondly, it means that focus is on restoring important relationships, rather than attributing blame and managing behaviour; and while it emphasizes the need to restore any harm done, it views incidents primarily as ‘teachable moments’. This approach upholds the importance of reconciliation and promotes as its core value an understanding of healing and forgiveness
  • Senior Leadership Teams are not perceived as the sole ‘keepers’ of discipline and this shared responsibility of managing relationships enables them to focus on leading the school in an effective and creative way.
  • The Restorative Conversation tool will provide a different slant on problem –solving; one that will open space for those concerned to connect with their strengths in order to overcome the problems involved, while at the same time it will provide insights that have the power to enhance relationships.

About the Trainers

Ron Cronin-Lampe BTheol, DipSW, PGDip Couns.
Kath Cronin-Lampe Dip T. B.Ed, M.C.(Hons).

Ron and Kath are experienced counsellors, educators and trainers who have worked in school settings for over twenty years. They are both deeply spiritual people who promote 'special character and pastoral care' in all their training work. Ron and Kath currently work part time as counsellors/ supervisors and together they deliver Restorative Practices training workshops throughout New Zealand. Ron is an experienced social worker and celebrant.  He worked in pastoral ministry during the 1980’s and it was during this time, while working with the poor and marginalised, that he first connected with Restorative Philosophy as it had been presented in his Theology Degree. Ron has extensive experience in Restorative Justice and Conferencing through his years working within the Child, Youth, and Family Agency. Kath worked initially as a Health Social Worker and Life Skills Educator prior to completing an Education Degree at Waikato University, followed by a Masters in Counselling. Kath initiated the movement into a school setting and it was her passionate advocacy for young people, alongside her belief in Restorative Philosophy, that motivated this training package. Kath was an educator in ‘special character programmes’ for over twenty years prior to taking up her Counselling studies. Ron and Kath have been members of the University of Waikato’s Restorative Practices Development Team since the late 1990’s, and their training package encompasses a narrative approach to restorative conversations.

The name of Ron and Kath’s business “Pilgrim Practices” comes from the hymn; “We are pilgrims on a journey; we are pilgrims on the road; we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load”. Central to their life work is the commitment to accompanying and assisting others, both on individual journey’s or, as in the case with schools, on their collective journeys.  This package provides many opportunities for them to assist schools in their desire to practice restoratively.