The Methods of application and implementation are shared here and link to the themes in the Restore Outline. You are welcome to utilise these methods alongside the linked resources. Please simply acknowledge their provenance. We would encourage you to make contact with us regarding any queries and comments you wish to share. 

These Methods are written by Dr Belinda Hopkins and her approach is in synergy with the collective wisdom and experience of the collaborative group of Restorative advocates contributing to Restore. 

Belinda acknowledges the inspiration of Terry O’Connell, Marian Liebmann, Marshall Rosenberg, George Robinson, Barbara Maines and Teresa Bliss.


Restorative Practice is first and foremost a way of thinking about relationships and behaviour. When Restorative Practice is implemented across a school or other institution it influences the way people communicate, the way they respond to challenges and the way policies and procedures are developed and followed. Those inspired by the practice share a common commitment to:

  • giving everyone a voice, and valuing what is said
  • being attentive to, and encouraging the expression of, thoughts and feelings 
  • appreciating that all behaviour is a message, motivated by unmet needs
  • seeking to understand this message, and the unmet needs, through non-judgemental listening 
  • giving people ownership of their own problems, conflicts and decisions, encouraging collaborative problem-solving

This Methods section offers a range of Restorative Practices that will be ideal for exploring the issues and answering the questions raised in the 7 sections that make up the RESTORE package. Each of these methods operationalises the key elements of restorative practice as outlined above.

The Methods section is divided into practical ideas based on one of three restorative processes: 

  1. One-to-one listening, working in pairs
  2. Small group circles
  3. Whole class or staff team circles

All three processes are based on a way of thinking about relationships and interactions we call the restorative mindset or restorative thinking.

Restorative thinking

Before ever engaging with anyone else we need to stop, breathe and touch base with what is going on for us, and for those around us, so that any response we make is measured and coming from a grounded calm place. Call it the ‘restorative zone’! This is the place from which we can then use any of the three processes described below.

It only takes a few seconds to ask ourselves –

  • What is going on for me right now?
  • What am I telling myself about this situation and so what feelings are coming up as a result?
  • How am I being affected by what is happening?
  • What do I need right now to be able to give my very best here and now?
  • What can I do to address these needs?

Now from that place of self-awareness we are ready to step into the shoes of those around us and ask ourselves:

  • What might be going on for them?
  • What might they be telling themselves about the situation and so what feelings might be coming up as a result of these thoughts?
  • How might they be being affected by what is going on?
  • What unmet needs might help to explain what is going on? What might they be needing right now to manage the situation to the best of their ability?
  • What can I do or say now that is going to help them help themselves?

Once we have been asked ourselves these 10 questions, we are there – in the restorative zone and in a good place to facilitate any of the three restorative processes described above.

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