Milken Outstanding Educator, California, 1994
Restorative Justice, Responsibility Management, and Replacement Behaviors
There are three powerful “R” principles that will determine positive outcomes in classes everywhere! They are Restorative Justice, Responsibility Management and Replacement Behaviors
Restorative Justice Schools need to place more emphasis on not just making sure remorse is expressed for various discipline problems but also restore that which is broken, stolen, and damaged.
In a recent national teacher seminar on school discipline Gene was seen role playing with one of the participants. He escorted the participant over to another participant to reconcile and restore the damage he had witnessed. (A scene was created where a child was kicked.) The “offender” listened as Bedley said “ouch” to identify with the feeling of the child who had been kicked. After asking the child how he felt, he turned to the “offender” and asked her to state the feelings of the “hurt child.”
Once verified, Bedley returned to the “hurt child” and asked what would it take to correct the hurt. After exploring a couple of options from the option wall Bedley turned once again to the “offender” asking her what would she be willing to do to correct the situation? Bedley summarized the role-playing by saying “offenders” must be held accountable for their actions. “Offenders” need to restore and make right the damage that they inflict on others. Providing viable options that kids can choose from introduces Restorative Justice to the classroom.
If you take positive energy away from the classroom you need to return positive energy to the classroom.
Responsibility Management Personal Responsibility is the foundational values of all values. Gene Bedley s describes in his book and National Seminars titled The Big R Responsibility “You don t teach responsibility but rather you cultivate and encourage responsibility by setting up an environments where responsibility is practiced, hour by hour, day by day, and week by week.” If a teacher merely places a jar filled with ideas marked “Acts of Responsibility.” In their classroom & students practice responsibility daily by drawing different acts out of the jar you will experience significant progress in becoming responsible.
Bedley goes far beyond the Acts of Responsibility Jar in creating a climate and culture of responsibility by teaching kids self-management and self regulating skills. One of the more important strategies in promoting Responsibility in the classroom is to train students in how to respond to others when they are angry. In Bedley’s words “There are appropriate ways to express strong feelings and there are inappropriate ways.
“Children often don t know what they’re feeling or how to express their feelings, especially when their feelings are so strong. “There is a great need to design charts and post in classrooms entitled Ways to Express Strong Feelings I’d also recommend include Responsible Options on classroom walls titled Options Wall!
Responsibility is the foundational value of all values and must be the foundation for all discipline training. A teacher from the northwest Lyndsay Maciboba recently wrote after attending a discipline seminar: “Gene, you have so many great ideas on promoting Responsibility in the classroom. Your love and passion for what you do radiates (in everything idea presented.) Thank you for sharing your great knowledge with us. I can only hope to have the impact on my kids that you ve had on so many kids.”
“Discipline is like a bridled horse with the reigns held lightly”
Replacement Behaviors Teachers are faced with the choice of punishing kids when they are not responsible or praising them when they are responsible. There’s one more choice and that is to avoid rushing to punishment or praise but rather finding replacement behaviors that serve and strengthen kids.
If something is not working replace it with something that works. Spending time designing solutions and strategies makes a teacher more multi- faceted and able to guide children in becoming responsible people.
“Praise can be so addictive it’s like frosting on the cake. If you put too much on you can ruin the cake.” If you praise kids too much they will become dependent on others and less responsible. Simple punishment, or putting kids in a penalty box for repeated offensive behavior, will cause the students to blame the people who punished them rather than take personal responsibility for their actions. A quick move toward punishment also gets in the way of learning! Not that Gene’s totally against praise or punishment, he just discovered there are more powerful strategies and solutions available in transforming children s behavior in the classroom.”
In a recent national seminar in Toronto, Canada, participants were encouraged to be proactive! Bedley shared that he spends time designing the solutions and strategies that will replace inappropriate behavior often designing one solution per day. Gene states To merely acknowledge behavior expectations, or to administer punishment when behavior requirements are not met does not bring long term change. Practicing proven procedures that foster positive behavior results is what develops bedrock habits and serves the children. It’s up to the adults of the world to discover, design, and personalize the strategies for each child. Emmie Miller Primary Teacher in Irvine California stated Your programs on Responsibility spoke to me about getting kids to evaluate. It helped me to see the importance of replacement behavior strategies and solutions. We rush too quickly to praise and punish without spending the time in helping students see what the behaviors are that strengthen and serve them.
“Vagueness is the enemy of discipline”
Nationally recognized and highly acclaimed educator, Gene Bedley is transforming classroom discipline in schools across North America. A forty-year veteran educator and instructor for the Bureau of Education in Bellevue, WA, Bedley finds himself in front of hundreds of teachers weekly. Often teachers drive over 300 miles to attend his popular seminars held in major cities throughout North America.
The Bureau of Education and Research has just completed a three-part video series