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Restorative Approach

Chalmers West House zoom meeting on topic of resilience

Our Senior Deputy Head has been sharing some expert advice on wellbeing and resilience in virtual House Meetings

Merchiston Castle School in the snow at dusk

The Headmaster reports on some of the virtual gatherings hosted by the School as we continue to focus on the wellbeing of the boys and our community.

boy student talking with teacher

The primary motivator for learning is relationship. Or, to quote Dr James Comer of Yale University, “no significant learning occurs without a significant relationship of mutual respect.''

That is why we adopt something called a restorative approach to discipline, which puts repairing harm done to relationships and people over assigning blame and punishment. Connection over correction.

The approach is designed to build community and manage conflict by strengthening relationships. As a parent you will know that your son responds best when fair approach is taken with him. Think about it. Fairness is at the centre of dealing with any disciplinary issue involving your son. 

Our restorative approach helps teachers ensure that pupils, staff and parents can be part of a fair process whilst helping all involved to understand the impact of their behaviour on others.

In line with the national educational picture, it moves away from punitive sanction-based approaches and focuses on effecting change through learning and reconciliation. It gives attention and a voice to everyone affected, encourages personal responsibility, removes barriers to communication and impacts positively on:

  • Learning and Teaching
  • Active, as opposed to, passive learning
  • Bullying behaviour
  • Pupil engagement
  • Trust and relationships
  • Communication and listening skills
  • Emotional Literacy
  • Attainment
  • Pupil participation, pupil voice and decision making

If a child doesn’t know how to read, we teach.
If a child doesn’t know how to swim, we teach.
If a child doesn’t know how to multiply, we teach.
If a child doesn’t know how to drive, we teach.
If a child doesn’t know how to behave, we...
...teach?
...punish?

Why can’t we finish the last sentence as automatically as we do the others?

Tom Herner (NASDE President Counterpoint 1998, p.2)