Practice

Rationale for Educators’ Introduction to RE

This powerpoint presentation is the product of my work on my Educ 798 Masters of Education Project proposal.  It is a synthesis of what I consider to be restorative teaching practices and was designed to be presented at professional development workshops for educators in conjunction with hands-on activities, as well as made available in PDF form through email to teachers, administrators, and Educational Assistants. Along with educators who work with non-profit organizations and government agencies, this could be a resource for instructors who are interested in offering more inclusive, interactive, inquiry-driven, place-based, service learning opportunities for the young people they work with. I am including this artifact because it is a timely resource that demonstrates my understanding of what other teachers are seeking to improve their practice.

 

This presentation offers a comprehensive and coherent introduction to my concept of Restorative Education (RE), and shows how these five main educational practices and the twenty supporting practices I have identified embody the definition, principles and curricula of RE.  By featuring images and instructional examples from my own practice, I believe this artifact is significant because it could help other educators implement some of the biggest changes in the new B.C. curriculum, such as the new focus on “Personalized Learning, Aboriginal Perspectives and Knowledge, Ecology and Environment, Historical Wrongs, and Flexible Learning Environments” (BC Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Orientation Guide).

 

This artifact demonstrates my understanding of which instructional practices are important to consider by educators, researchers and policy makers who hope to increase the educational engagement and academic achievement of Indigenous learners, especially those with executive function challenges associated with exceptionalities such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This presentation of RE includes but goes beyond Universal Designs for Learning (UDL), Response to Intervention (RTI) and Differentiated Instruction (DI) to incorporate and illustrate how a variety of Indigenous pedagogies support and can be given space to bloom if these special education practices are implemented in certain ways.

For example, my series of slides on “Inclusive” practices highlights how for UDL, RTI and DI to be effective, an educator needs to build a trusting relationship with each of their learners – or in the case of UDL, at least enough of them to get a sense of the diversity of needs and strengths within each class. A trusting, respectful relationship is required to get enough information from learners – whether from formative assessments, or through directly asking students about their learning preferences and goals – in order to design appropriate class-wide projects, small group supports or individualized interventions. My slides point out how this relationship can be built and valued from Raffi’s “Child Honouring” philosophy, which shares the emphasis on student-centered learning featured in Frank Deer’s portrayal of some Indigenous Pedagogies.

 

In my experience, non-Indigenous students often require just as much support in their socio-emotional development and self-management skills as do First Nations students, but some of the authoritarian or behaviourist strategies that work with the former will antagonize and alienate the latter, destroying their trust in the educator and their confidence in themselves. However, by designing a universal classroom that relies on strategies that work for Indigenous students with exceptionalities, I have found that all can benefit.

My removal of images of current minors from this powerpoint until I have an informed consent from both my students and their guardians reflects my growth in ethics as a researcher. I feel comfortable with still including the images of young people who are all over the age of thirty now, and they are images that have been published online dozens of times, with full consent of the people pictured to use them as I choose in the promotion of the Sierra Youth Coalition and sustainability education in general. However, I am interested in seeing what ways might be possible for renewing even this consent.