Home' Independence : Independence Vol 33 No 1 May 2008 Contents Independence Volume 33 No. 1 71
To be successful
must be a whole of
A key process in restorative practice relates
to fairness. The rules for fair process are:
• Engagement -- involving others in
decisions that affect them, asking for
input, allowing them to refute ideas/
• Explanation -- why decisions are made;
feedback enhances learning
• Expectation of clarity -- once decisions
are made, particularly those involving
new standards and penalties for failure,
they must be clearly stated so that
Fair process also involves asking the right
questions. As an illustration, some ques-
tions useful in two kinds of situation are
set out in Figure 2.
What is important about the questions
used in restorative practice is that:
• The questions are neutral and non-
• They are about a person's behaviour
• They are open questions that require
• The person asking the questions is
likely to be seen as objective and
• They actually allow a person to tell
• They are more likely to promote
• They seek to build an understanding
rather than to blame
• The questions require a person to
reflect on who has been affected
• They are likely to help a person develop
some empathy for those affected
• They can be applied in any situation.
In restorative practice we ask thinking
questions to elicit feeling responses.
We need to try to work or practice in a
way that will assist in building positive
relationships and engender respect for the
restorative practitioner. Consider 'fair'
and 'firm'. If I asked you what is your
experience when someone is firm but not
fair, fair but not firm, neither firm nor
fair or consistently firm and fair, your
responses would probably shape into
something like the diagram in Figure 3.
When I talk to young people and show
them this model they generally and intui-
tively know in which domain to place
parents ('TO' and 'FOR'). They also use
this knowledge to their advantage in play-
ing parent against parent, which can some-
times be a contributing factor in family
violence. They also know which teachers
are in which domain and what buttons
can be pushed to achieve a desired out-
come. I have often spoken to students who
know which particular behavior will cause
them to be removed from a class they don't
like or are struggling with. I have found
some teachers place themselves in the
'WITH' domain when clearly they are not.
The relational domain is the optimum
work practice, from the least to the most
formal setting. Imagining a continuum
of restorative practice, the most informal
setting is simply what is called the 'affec-
tive statement', then affective interaction,
small impromptu conferences, then large
groups and at the extreme end of the
continuum, the formal conference. There
will be occasions that require another
domain to be used, but practice should
still be relational.
I recommend the use of restorative circles
in the classroom on a daily basis. Once
young people understand they are safe,
circles will empower them to talk about
issues that affect them. This will alert the
teacher (and Principal) to often covert or
John Lennox has had 30 years' experience in
community policing, training and conferencing
of juvenile offenders. This article is an edited
extract of his session address at the 2008 AHISA
Pastoral Care Conference. Further information
about JLD Restorative Practices is found at
Challenging a behaviour
• What happened?
• What were you thinking at the time?
• What have you thought about since?
• Who has been affected by what
• In what way?
• What do you think you need to do
to make things right?
• How can you fix this?
• How can I help you?
Helping those harmed
• What did you think when you realised
what had happened?
• What impact has this incident had
on you and others?
• What has been the hardest thing
• What do you think needs to happen
to make things right?
Figure 2. Types of questions used
in restorative practice
Figure 3. Fair and firm domains
Adapted from 'Social Discipline Window', Paul
McCold and Ted Wachtel, 2000.
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