Finally in the series of RESTORE we come to engagement, aimed at when staff and students start to spend time physically together again.
This will be a tangible punctuation and perhaps even a seminal moment in time that provides new opportunity. An opportunity to review education and to put into action our reflections from a time of immense uncertainty and change. The big question here is how do you restart the system?
We understand that this time will be daunting and we want to offer a self supporting community. So from next week we will be launching a brand new community of practice #Restorative_Ed. This is not just about COVID-19 but about rethinking education more generally. More on that later!
For now we feel it is important to recognise that COVID-19 has and will be individual to us all, the common thread being that everyone’s experience will differ and therefore their needs are unlikely to be the same. Before we jump back into routines it is going to be essential to engage with the school community and allow people to share their stories. How this is achieved will differ, however allowing time to share stories will rebuild trust, offer safety and enable everyone’s voice to be heard and activate agency.
Agency is all about being able to make choices, initiating action, reflecting and being able to internalise self-efficacy. So without a period of taking stock and understanding the ‘now’ – enabling agency will be almost impossible.
Being explicit as school leaders (that you value this work) has the potential to greatly aid communities in beginning the healing process. Also engaging with this personally as leaders may help you reflect on your own challenges and by sharing this endorsement will validate the work of others demonstrating that you explicitly want to plan for recovery.
Thankfully schools are receptive to this work. We are hearing people prioritising relationships, encouraging their students to develop empathy and in some cases even rethinking the curriculum. The RESTORE framework has already been used by thousands, so building on this, we offer you a chance to engage with #Restorative_Ed a place to discuss issues relating to social justice, restorative attitudes, leadership, culture and pedagogy.
Our aim is that this will promote peace in schools and offer a community of practice for restorative ideas. So feel free to engage, use the hashtag and join the conversation.