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Using Restorative Circles to Have Tough Conversations
Now is no time to shy away from difficult conversations. Restorative circles can make these conversations easier.
It can be hard figuring out the best way to approach a difficult conversation. At times it seems easier to avoid the conversation and the complexities that could potentially come with it, altogether.
The restorative practice of circling up helps in facilitating difficult conversations. Circling up is about strengthening relationships and bringing people together while honoring individual differences, experiences, and opinions. Restorative justice circles are rooted in indigenous (pre-colonized) societies around the world, and their ways of ‘being’ with one another. Increasingly, schools are engaging with the process of circling up, aware of its benefits as an alternative to punitive ways of communicating with and disciplining students.
Seven core principles guide restorative practices:
- The true self in everyone is good, wise, and powerful.
- The world is profoundly interconnected.
- All human beings have a deep desire to be in a good relationship
- All humans have gifts and everyone is needed for what they bring.
- Everything we need to make positive change is already here.
- Human beings are holistic.
- We need practices to build habits of living from the core self.
Imagine, how different would the world be—would our relationships be if we engaged each other with these principles in mind? Conversations that had previously seemed impossible would become not only possible but meaningful and productive. In a time when difficult conversations are the ones we need most, it’s crucial that we embrace processes that best support and encourage these conversations. Our nation’s health and healing depend on our ability to communicate effectively with each other.
Check out recent XQ blog posts to learn about the Student Advisory Committee’s experience with a restorative circle and more information about holding circles. Have questions or comments about restorative circles? Leave them below and Nicole will respond!
Check out this Student Listening Circle on George Floyd from Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility.
- Can you think of a difficult conversation you would benefit from having with someone close to you at this moment?
- Given the state of our nation, what is your biggest hope, currently? Your biggest fear?
- In the midst of the pandemic and nationwide civil unrest, what is something you’re learning about yourself?
While you’re here check out…
“When They See Us” chronicles the wrongful arrest and incarceration of the five young Black men known as the Central Park Five. Explore the series and the underlying story more deeply with this new learning companion and field study lesson.
To change the future, we must begin with an honest reckoning with our past. The Equal Justice Initiative gives eloquent voice to the harrowing and shameful history of racism in America, beginning with slavery and continuing through the systemic injustices of today.On June 15, 2020 at 8:08 pm by Nicole Smith
Can you think of a difficult conversation you would benefit from having with someone close to you at this moment? Given the state of our nation, what is your biggest hope, currently? Your biggest fear? In the midst of the pandemic and nationwide civil unrest, what is something you’re learning about yourself?