Sunday, 19 July 2015

Restorative Practices and Social Emotional Learning

Restorative Practices are a powerful part of Social and Emotional Learning
Social and emotional learning is intrinsic in all aspects of the life and work of the school. To be successful in school and in life students need to develop capabilities in the areas of
 - Self-awareness
 - Self-management
 - Social-awareness
 - Responsible decision making
 - Relationship skills
As a result we need numerous pedagogies to support Social and Emotional Learning.  Each pedagogy is of greater or lesser value according to the people involved, purposes, needs and context involved.
['Context' includes the histories, experiences and capabilities of those involved including staff, families and the community.]

Common pedagogies for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • quality teaching - supporting all learning as a social and emotional endeavour
  • literature studies - all good literature includes social and emotional content
  • role playing games - provide novel experience and new insights
  • active supervision - engaging with students in a range of contexts
  • circles, meetings conferences - engaging collaboratively around social and emotional matters
  • restorative questions - for when things go wrong 
  • SEL programs - using some of the many available programs to specifically address social and emotional learning - see KidsMatter (for primary schools) and MindMatters (secondary) for information on a wide range of SEL programs. Also the The Australian Guidance and Counselling Association index of programs
  • philosophy - teaching thinking skills, ways of thinking and acting and addressing social and emotional issues
  • themes and topics - structured learning sequences focusing on chosen social and emotional matters
  • leading: directing for action, coaching for skills, mentoring for understanding, collaborating for effectiveness
  • expectations - embedding explicit social and emotional expectations in the life and work of the school
  • action learning
  • solution focus
  • values, rules, regulations -
  • structures, organisation, policies -
  • problem solving, responses and consequences
  • engaging in dialogue - discussion, agreement, negotiation, mediation, arbitration
  • counselling, therapy and other support services
  • acknowledgements: greetings, feedback, tokens, awards, celebrations...
  • modelling:  often needs to be made explicit
  • ...
The aspects of SEL overlap and so it is not necessary to address each one separately. Each of the above pedagogies can be used to support SEL in each of the four areas
Implement SEL through improved pedagogies
  1. Focus on quality teaching
  2. Start by including emotional literacy within regular literacy lessons
  3. Follow up with incidental SEL coaching within active supervision including 
    • Affective Statements
    • Restorative questions
  4. Extend this to include emotional literacy within all learning areas
  5. Use everyday circles, check-in and check-out...
  6. Develop restorative problem solving practices including problem solving circles

Negative Social and Emotional Learning
  • harassment
  • unfair exclusion
  • put-downs
  • intimidation
  • taking advantage of younger, more naive people
  • ...

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