All Listening for a Change programs support the goals and work of Restorative Practices
- Develop a school environment where students and staff feel respected, heard, and connected with others.
- Develop social-emotional intelligence and build social and human capital.
- Increase the school community’s ability to communicate and address changes.
- Build a campus community that embraces both shared values and differences – a place for healing and inclusion.
Storytelling is a Core Tenet of Restorative Practices:
Storytelling offers a unique and familiar way for students to engage with one another and lay the foundation for developing healthy relationships. Listening for a Change is built on the conviction that we Create Connections, One Story at a Time and it is imperative we find meaningful ways to understand the rich and complex cultures among us.
Unfortunately, storytelling is not simple. It involves:
- Active Listening
- Understanding and Acceptance
- Personal Reflection
- Asking follow-up questions
The Restorative Practice Pyramid
Too often, we neglect to prioritize important aspects of our daily lives. For students, it’s no different. Learning to understand different perspectives and valuing the experiences of others is critical to their social-emotional development. The Restorative Justice Pyramid identifies the following as school-wide prevention practices to conflict.
1. Develop healthy relationships
2. Identify common values and guidelines
3. Develop social-emotional understanding and skills
4. Promote and strengthen sense of belonging and ownership
The idea is that if preventative issues are addressed at the base, and difficulties are managed at the second tier, there will be fewer in need of intensive intervention at the top tier. (Restorative Justice: A Working Guide for Our Schools, Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, School Health Services Coalition)
Listening for a Change can help schools foster a culture that integrates Restorative Practices into classrooms, hallways, cafeterias and beyond to create a respectful and reflective environment that advances and supports conflict resolution processes.
Inquiry Support and Training for School Staff, Administration, and Parents to:
- Investigate Needs of the School Culture through questionnaires, small groups, focus groups, etc. stakeholders are asked what they know about creating an academic community of respect and problem solving and what is needed to work toward this goal
- Facilitate workshops where participants share stories, practice active listening skills, and learn how to ask questions that elicit stories and grant access to personal wisdom. These activities foster trust, understanding, and enhance relational practices.
- Support “Relational Practices.” How individuals relate to one another and help build a cohesive, caring, school community
- Allow school staff to discover student assets, dreams, passions, contexts, etc., which will allow staff to engage students in meaningful and relevant ways
- Help create authentic caring, cariño Authentic caring can become a structured and integral component of curriculum with high school students (Valenzuela, Subtractive Schooling).
- Help school stakeholders define and teach respect and inclusion. Helps schools create pro-active experiences in order for students to be heard before they are caught in a troubled web. Then, if rules are broken students experience an expanded way in which to have their voices heard, reflection fostered, and restoration becomes a possibility.
- Support teachers by providing activities and curriculum to incorporate active listening and social-emotional development into the classroom.
- Our curriculum integrates storytelling and critical thinking with Common Core and California Standards in language arts and social studies. It is also well incorporated into Advancing Via Individual Determination (AVID) and classes that incorporate social/emotional development
- Support Restorative Justice Circles because engagement with others in a trusting manner is a concept that is critical in Circles. It is also a major factor in engaging stakeholders of a school community. Listening for a Change’s 3-way interviews are an excellent means to increase understanding, trust, and acceptance. Listening for a Change facilitates improving questions and follow-up questions to aid in the process. In addition, the impact is greater when participants take time to hear and reflect upon other people’s stories.
Implement consistent, ongoing opportunities for students, staff, parents, and community members to develop and improve relationships with one another.
- Weekly/monthly activities for students to share their perspective or experience related to specific topics such as bullying or feeling left out
- Mini-lessons for classes to encourage each student to share specific aspects of their personal narrative with their peers
- Student panel(s) that interview a wide range of school/community members to learn how they have overcome challenges and resolved problems
- Family members are invited and included to share their stories, acquire better listening skills, and participate in workshops
- “Underlying Restorative Justice is the vision of interconnectedness. We are all connected to each other and the larger world through a web of relationships. When this web is disrupted, we are all affected. But the value of interconnectedness must be balanced by an appreciation of particularity.” Howard Zehr, The Little Book of Restorative Justice
- “Storytelling is fundamental for healthy social relationships. To feel connected and respected we need to tell our own stories and have others listen. Having others listen to your story is a function of power in our culture. The more power you have, the more people will listen respectfully to your story. Consequently, listening to someone’s story is a way of empowering them, of validating their intrinsic worth as a human being.” (Pranis, K. (2001). Building Justice on a Foundation of Democracy, Caring and Mutual Responsibility (manuscript held by Minnesota Department of Corrections)