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By Janet Moeller

Head of Junior Years

Parent Info Workshop #3: Restorative Practice

More than 20 parents attended the Restorative Practice: Beyond Bullying Prevention event. During this session, David Vinegrad from Behaviour Matters shared ways that parents and teachers can work in partnership to help students live out the College Values and IB Learner Profile Attributes.

Avoiding the Why?

When you ask children why they did something, they most often shrug their shoulder and say “I don’t know”. In some cases, the why question allows students to justify their actions (i.e. I did it because he/she did [this] first).

To help raise children with the values of resilience, respect and kindness, we want to partner with you to help students identify their behaviours and become part of the solution. The best way to get them talking about their own behaviours, we ask the questions who, what, when and how.

For example, you might use the questions below if you get a phone call from the College saying that your child has been aggressive toward others:

Restorative Questions

  • Tell us what happened with the bullying incident?
  • What were you thinking when you got involved and weren’t honest with us on Friday night?
  • Who has been affected? / In what ways?
  • What have you thought about since?
  • How can you make things right?
  • What would be a good plan?

Consider the different response you would get from your children if you used the phrases above rather than the traditional responses (the ones our parents likely used with us!). The phrases below stop the conversation and shut down communication.

Traditional Questions – telling

  • Why are you bullying other kids?
  • Do you know how much trouble you are in?
  • You should feel very ashamed of what you have done!
  • Did you forget the discussion we had last month about honesty?
  • Go to your room until I decide what should happen to you!

Danger Phrases

The uninvited lecture –
“When I was your age….”
“If I was in your shoes I would….”

Appeal for common sense –
“If they put their head in the fire….”
“If your friend jumped off a cliff….”

Leave BUT out of it –
“You did well but….”
“I like what you did there but….”

Empty questions –
“How are you feeling….?”
“What happened today….?”

Getting children talking at home
You: How was your day?
Child: Fine
You: What did you do?
Child: Nothing

Does this conversation sound familiar?
Teaching students the values involves engaging them in daily conversation. David shared with parents questions other than “How was your day?”

Ask positive & open questions

  • What was the best part of your day at school?
  • Who did you decide to play with today?
  • Let’s play 2 truths and 1 lie (dream) over dinner…
  • What would you like to tell me about your day?
  • Tell me two interesting things that happened with your friends today?
  • Let me know when you are free so we can chat about our day together
  • Can we do a job together and talk?
  • Play ‘would you rather…’
  • Remove the ‘devices’

If you have further questions on how you can better help partner with teachers in encouraging students to demonstrate College Values or IB Learner Profile Attributes, you can contact the classroom teacher, the College, College Counsellor, the College Pastor or the College Chaplain at any time.


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