Saturday, January 21, 2012

Our Project: Links to Restorative Practices

Over the past few months Dave Kroschinsky and I have been offering a series on Restorative Practices.  The group has been reading the book “The Quality School:  Managing Students without Coercion”.  One of the main topics of our conversation is on Quality World Quality World is basically the photo album of pictures (or perceptions) you have in your mind that represent what you best enjoy in your life (p.59).  Your photo album is full of pictures of your family and friends, things you like to do, places you have fun, fulfilling jobs -- all the people and things you find need-fulfilling.

The interesting thing is how Quality World fits with our project.  Kids that are disengaged from school have basically removed ‘school’ from their Quality World as a need-fulfilling place.  They have removed ‘school’ and most teachers from their picture of what satisfies their needs. 

The big question is What can we do to facilitate these kids putting school back into their Quality World?  because if they don’t – then they will continue to be disengaged  in school or they will physically drop out of school. 

Guess what?  This is exactly what we are looking at in our project.  What are the two biggest ways to facilitate kids putting school back in their quality world, or for that matter, facilitating all our kids keeping school in their quality world?
-       relationships – helping kids feel they belong with us, in our classrooms, and in our school.
-       engaging students through their interests, strengths, and helping them connect their work to their world…. meaningful work. 

So why do strategies like 2 x 10 work?  Why do kids attend our classes more than other classes when we are open to their strengths?  Why are they more interested when there is novelty, fun, interesting assignments?  Because you have been actively facilitating students keeping school in their quality world, you are helping them get their needs met, giving them some power over their work through choices and interest, and providing places where they at least see the potential for meaningful work.

Glasser, W. (1990).  The Quality School:  Managing Students Without Coercion.  New York:  Harper and Row Publishing.