The Little Book of Restorative Teaching Tools: Games, Activities, and Simulations for Understanding Restorative Justice Practices

As restorative practices spread around the world, scholars and practitioners have begun to ask very important questions: How should restorative practices be taught? What educational structures and methods are in alignment with restorative values and principles? This book introduces games as an effective and dynamic tool to teach restorative justice practices. Grounded in an understanding of restorative pedagogy and experiential learning strategies, the games included in this book provide a way for learners to experience and more deeply understand restorative practices while building relationships and improving skills. Chapters cover topics such as:

  • Introduction to restorative pedagogy and experiential learning
  • How a restorative learning community can be built and strengthened through the use of games and activities
  • How to design games and activities for teaching restorative practices
  • How to design, deliver, and debrief an activity-based learning experience
  • In-depth instructions for games and activities for building relationships, understanding the restorative philosophy, and developing skills in practice

An ideal handbook for educators, restorative justice program directors and trainers, consultants, community group leaders, and anyone else whose work draws people together to resolve disagreements or address harm, this book will serve as a catalyst for greater creativity and philosophical alignment in the teaching of restorative practices across contexts.

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The Restorative Justice Ritual 

The restorative justice philosophy and conference process have shown great promise in providing a justice response that heals individuals and strengthens the community. Still, a few key questions remain unanswered. First, how is the personal and relational transformation apparent in the restorative justice process achieved? What can be done to safeguard and enhance that effectiveness? Second, can restorative justice satisfy the wider public’s need for a reaffirmation of communal norms following a crime, particularly in comparison to the criminal trial? And finally, given its primary focus on making amends at an interpersonal level, does restorative justice routinely fail to address larger, structural injustices?

This book engages with these three critical questions through an understanding of restorative justice as a ritual. It proffers three dominant ritual functions related to the performance of justice: the normative, the transformative, and the proleptic. Two justice rituals, namely, the criminal trial and the restorative justice conference, are examined through this framework in order to understand how each process fulfills, or fails to fulfill, the multifaceted human need for justice.

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Sustained Restorative Dialogue as a Means of Understanding and Preventing Sexually Harmful Behavior on University Campuses

Contemporary Justice Review 2019

This article describes the development, implementation, and outcomes of the Sustained Restorative Dialogue process piloted at Victoria University of Wellington in 2018. The Sustained Restorative Dialogue explored the issue of sexual harm and harassment on campus. It was a ‘sustained’ dialogue in that it was run over four sessions with the same participants. It was a ‘restorative’ dialogue in that it was held in a circle format and the conversation moved in sequential sessions through the main steps of a restorative analysis – What is happening? What are the impacts? What is needed to make things right? The aim of the dialogue was to examine the broader climate that gives rise to sexual harm in the campus setting and beyond, and to explore possible solutions. The model provided a structure for breaking down a complex issue and a space to explore practical ways to strive for a healthier culture, both on campus and in wider society. The process yielded a number of positive outcomes both for participants as individuals and as a larger group, suggesting the implementation of the model in universities could contribute to transforming the climate that gives rise to sexual harm.

Teaching Restorative Practices through Games: An Experiential Restorative Pedagogy

The International Journal of Restorative Justice Issue 1 2019

This article argues for the use of games as an effective and dynamic way to teach restorative practices. Grounded in an understanding of restorative pedagogy, a paradigm of teaching in alignment with restorative values and principles, as well as experiential learning strategies, this article introduces games as a way for students to experience and more deeply understand restorative practices while building relationships and skills. Personal accounts from the authors about the impact of using games to teach restorative practices in their own communities are also included.

Restorative Practices in Residence Halls and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Conflict Resolution Quarterly 2018

This article charts Victoria University of Wellington’s progress in implementing restorative practices, including restorative justice as a response to conflicts and rule violations, and proactive measures, including circles as a way to build a positive culture rooted in restorative principles. Survey results indicate positive outcomes including better communication, increased accountability, and a greater emphasis on relationships. Areas for further growth are also identified, including the need for a wider spread understanding of restorative approaches among staff, faculty, and students, the importance of full‐university implementation, and the need for learners to experience a restorative process to understand the impact.

Building a Restorative University

Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Vol. 49 Issue 2 2017

Abstract: This paper examines the progress of Victoria University of Wellington towards becoming a Restorative University. Both reactive measures, including restorative justice as a response to conflicts and rule violations, and proactive measures, including the circle process as a way to build a positive culture rooted in restorative principles, are discussed. The article suggests that Victoria University has developed a framework for building a restorative community that can be adopted in other universities.

Understanding Transformational Space: An Analysis of Restorative Justice Conferences through Religious Studies Theoretical Lenses

Restorative Justice: An International Journal Vol. 4 Issue 2 2016

Abstract: Implemented after a crime occurs, restorative justice conferences create a transformational space where victim and offender can move from feelings of enmity towards reconciliation and healing, and where the community can be repaired. This paper is an analysis of restorative justice conferences through the theoretical lenses of religious studies, in an endeavour to better understand the transformational space created by these conferences. Mircea Eliade’s comparative approach allows for a comparison between the transformative space of restorative justice conferences and processes and structures yielding similar space. An analysis through Victor Turner’s theoretical lens reveals the way in which restorative justice conferences closely resemble religious ritual through the presence of liminality and communitas. The utilisation of the Emile Durkheim functionalist lens allows for the functional similarities of restorative justice conferences to religious ritual to be highlighted.

Building a Restorative University

The Australasia Student Residence Management Journal Vol. 12 No. 1 2017

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