Education officers learning restorative practices for conflict resolution in classrooms

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, November 8, 2018

Senior education officers are being trained to use restorative practices to develop good relationships and reestablish a sense of community in situations where there has been discord in classrooms.

The two-day Restorative Practices Workshop being held at the Princess Ramada Hotel, Providence, was facilitated by the IMPACT Justice project which seeks to improve access to the justice system in the Caribbean. It focuses on the use of restorative practices in schools and has trained over 1,000 educators across the region.

Regional Director of IMPACT Justice Project, Velma Newton explained that the aim is to add the concept to the Teachers Training College curriculum following the training. This ensures more teachers are exposed to and will introduce restorative practices in their interaction with students.

“We have already trained persons in Barbados, Belize, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. and now is the turn of Guyana… Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we can form a Caribbean network of restorative practices committees to share ideas and experiences for the betterment of relationships in our schools and communities.”

Facilitator of International Institute for Restorative Practices, Patricia Lewis described the concept of restorative practices as a grassroots movement. “I think that is because the change that occurs at the local level happens in your schools. So, when we build these strong positive communities in our schools it allows children to be the best that they can be. That is the real power of restorative approaches,” Lewis emphasised.

She further noted that one of the keys to the successful implementation of restorative practices is nurturing leadership among educators.

Restorative practice is a social science that analyses how to improve and repair relationships between people and communities. The purpose is to build healthy communities, increase social capital, decrease crime and antisocial behaviour, repair harm and restore relationships.

The IMPACT Justice programme is in its fifth year. It has been concentrating on the drafting of model legislation for the region, encouraging countries to adopt continuing legal professional development for the legal profession, public legal education on a number of topics and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Synieka Thorne.

Images by Keno George.


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