Restorative practice in the classroom?

Restorative practice is a whole-school teaching and learning approach that encourages behaviour that is supportive and respectful behaviour. Restorative practices remove power imbalances by focusing on building positive relationships.


Overview of restorative practice

Restorative practice focuses on building, maintaining and restoring positive relationships, particularly when incidents that involve interpersonal conflict or wrongdoing occur. Restorative practices are high in accountability and high in support as they draw out what harm has been caused and about being able to repair that harm.

Teachers have an opportunity to model restorative strategies for students in the classroom. Have a think about your own classroom practices.

Think about the following:

  • what do you do to actively ensure students in your class feel welcome and that they belong?
  • how does your classroom environment impact how students communicate with each other and with you?
  • how do you interact with the students in your class and how do you interact with colleagues?
  • how do you respond when you have a conflict with one of your students?
  • how do you respond when you see a conflict arising between students in the classroom?
  • what process do you use to resolve conflict or disagreement in your classroom?
  • how were students involved in the development of this process?

Restorative questions

Use affective questions to focus on the specific behaviours of concern or incident without blaming. It is important to use relational questions to draw out who was affected and how they were affected. Questions should be directed towards problem-solving – ‘what needs to happen to make this right?’

Restorative questions to respond to challenging behaviour

  • What happened?
  • What were you thinking at the time?
  • What have you thought about since?
  • Who has been affected by what you have done? In what way?
  • What do you think you need to do to make things right?
  • If the same thing happens again, how could you behave differently?
  • What support do you need? Who can you go to for support?

Restorative questions to help those harmed by other’s actions

  • 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 for you?
  • What do you think needs to happen to make things right?
  • Who can you go to for support?
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