Misbehaviour and bullying have been an inevitable part of our school lives and as a big part of social learning takes place in school, it is essential to shape students' attitudes here. It is important to underline that value education is not just a matter of individuals, but it is the matter of the whole community. Despite many anti-bullying programmes conducted in schools, bullying and misbehaving is not significantly decreasing. Better results have come from value-based, evidence-based, school-wide practices that include both prevention and case management tools and which are based more on value creation. In this light, restorative practices are a good way to make changes in schools. Restorative practices are transforming the way schools address disciplinary challenges and
misbehaviour. In this project, we build healthier school climates and communities, moreover, we are incorporating RP into our teaching to create a respectful dialogue between all parties of the school community and supportive atmosphere in lessons.
For this project, 2 aspects of RP are primary: community building and use dialogue to respond to harm. We build a culture of belonging, a sense of community where every member is seen, heard and respected. Preliminary observation in our schools indicated that we are lacking the sense of empathy and oneness, respect and caring. We are aiming to incorporate RP into our teaching to show that positive classroom environment helps to achieve higher academic goals. The project offers students an innovative and unique opportunity to develop their abilities, such as forming respectful opinion, teamwork, responsibility. The students are stimulated to form a mindset that will help them to become independent deciders, critical thinkers, objective and creative problem solvers, friendly connection builders and maintainers. The subject fields we are focusing on to
achieve our goals are sports and recreation; nature and outdoor education; social studies. The project will give a valuable addition and input to our curriculums, as we create lesson activities and plans based on RP to link the knowledge to real situations. We will achieve this with well-planned activities, each of which will serve the set goals. We aim to:
- create a change in a school climate
- respond to and prevent harm that can be seen in:
* inclusive school culture (non-exclusive lessons)
* fair decision-making practices
* a safe and caring mental environment
* effective and innovative learning and teaching by using RP methodology in lessons
* decreased bullying and other types of conflicts
* achieved greater awareness of the respectful connections between people in school
* increased ability to respond to inappropriate behaviour
* creation of understanding that misbehaviour seeks for more connection, not disconnection
* students' ability to address the impact of their actions
* reduced numbers of disciplinary acts
* increased confidence and satisfaction among students, staff and parents
The activities we planned in our project are based on the active participation of the whole school community, their involvement, initiative, and teamwork. We want students and teachers to develop a various range of skills, from realistic self-evaluation, school
climate evaluation to emotional and behavioural self-regulation in various situations. We want them to be active listeners, critical thinkers, active learners who express themselves freely in order to increase the efficiency of communication and build and maintain relationships. Planned activities promote our students to be more courageous to express their feelings and thoughts, to speak their mind and through that be more responsible for one's actions. Restorative circles will be the main methodology for our planned activities.Our target groups are students, teachers, school staff, administrative staff, parents, teachers and students from other schools in the local area. The project will create baggage full of RP-integrated resources, free to use for all. We will assess the project's field objectives effectiveness by: improved school climate assessment at the end of the project, nr of teachers using RP in lessons, nr of disciplinary reports per year, nr of RP methods integrated into lessons, School attendance records, nr of misbehaving students, nr of presentation for parents and students community on RP, nr of teachers creating the family groups, nr of subject curriculum changes, satisfaction surveys.
The longer-term benefit of this project would be the changed school climate we can enjoy, and big experience resource we will create with our partners. The international cooperation will make this project and its achievements relevant to all participants, as we are changing the way of how we deal with bullying and disciplinary problems from now on.
All our materials will be available for EU teachers through our website, eTwinning platform and other free sources.