An effective school leader provides safe and collaborative school and classroom environments by developing relationships and building community, with a strong understanding of the distinction between classroom management and school discipline. While these two concepts are often used interchangeably, they are very different.
Classroom management deals with how things are done in the classroom including the procedures, routines, and structures. Classroom management is the responsibility of the teacher. Discipline is no longer about ensuring the compliance of children or young adults under the guidance or direction of an authority figure. It is about students taking responsibility for their own behavior and self-monitoring their behavior while working collaboratively with their peers.
Restorative practices help educators to proactively prevent problems like bullying and violence. An increasing body of research indicates that restorative approaches are effective in transforming student behavior and building healthy school communities.
Circles and groups provide opportunities for students to share their feelings and to build relationships and solve problems. When there is wrongdoing, students play an active role in addressing the wrong and making things right (Riestenberg, 2002).
This course module provides practical strategies for implementing restorative practices to create a positive school community and classroom culture in which every student feels respected. Positive school cultures foster rich learning environments where student achievement is enhanced. School stakeholders—principals, teachers, and parents—must be willing to assess the school culture and help to shape it positively through conscious individual and collaborative efforts.