Badge for Microsoft Innovative EducatorMicrosoft Innovative Educator programThe IIRP Graduate School recently partnered with Microsoft Educator Center to create a free professional development resource for educators seeking to do effective anti-racism work in the classroom.

A series of courses for individualized, self-directed learning, the modules can also be worked through by an independent team of educators within a professional learning community.

The Anti-racism journey for educators with students includes a kit of resources grounded in social and emotional learning (SEL) and curated by experts in the fields of equity and inclusion, restorative practices and education technology.

The course empowers educators to build the knowledge and capability needed to support equity and anti-racism work with students. It can be a first step toward establishing an inclusive, caring classroom where students and teachers feel safe having authentic conversations on social justice topics.

Additionally, the courses are designed as a transformative adult learning experience for colleagues to engage in together. The course provides guidance on how to go through the modules with colleagues in your school or online.

“We could have built this solely as an individual learning experience, as Microsoft Educator Center has done so well in the past,” comments IIRP Executive Director of Collective Impact Keith Hickman. “However, the designers believed it was very critical to provide the opportunity for group learning and accountability.”

“The course uses a restorative framework to help structure the adult learning experience,” continues Keith. “When relationships are built between adult learners, they can hold each other accountable for what it means to do anti-racism education.”

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Once educators complete the first four courses on the topics of Terminology, Identity, Bias, Privilege and Fragility, they gain access to a fifth module of resources to use with students.

Keith emphasizes the importance of the symbiotic relationship between Social Emotional Learning and restorative practices:

“The basic competencies developed by SEL – self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills and responsible decision-making – are all supported by being in a restorative environment.

“Furthermore, the restorative ethos honors each voice and provides a container for challenging and relevant conversations to happen with students, teachers, administrators, families and the surrounding community.”

The group at Microsoft was supported by a team of Innovative Educator Experts. In addition to Keith, the designers included Megan Fuciarelli, Laura Lara-Brady and Ken Shelton.

“The more we normalize discussions about racism, and the more voices and narratives we bring into the classroom, the better,” comments Ken.

Megan concludes, “In partnership with some really great people at Microsoft, we were able to provide tactical solutions so that people who wanted to do the work but didn’t know where to start were able to go through this journey to make that happen.”

Visit Microsoft Educator Center to begin the Anti-racism journey for educators with students.

I had the recent pleasure of meeting with Ian Marder, Ph.D., Lecturer in Criminology at Maynooth University’s Department of Law, Republic of Ireland, to discuss his recent publication. The article, "The new international restorative justice framework: Reviewing three years of progress and efforts to promote access to services and cultural change," was published in The International Journal of Restorative Justice in 2020.

During our discussion, Ian highlighted the key advances in the international law, guidelines and policy pertaining to restorative justice. These move the conversation on restorative justice forward by reflecting key advances in domestic policy and practice in recent years. In particular, the new UN Handbook on Restorative Justice Programmes builds on its predecessors by stating clearly that restorative justice could be appropriate with any type of offense. A new European legal instrument likewise calls on countries to ensure that restorative justice is available throughout the justice process and for all types of crime. It also outlines restorative principles and their proactive applications, and explores how to embed these in ways that change the culture of criminal justice.

Craig W. Adamson, Ph.D., is Provost and Associate Professor at the IIRP Graduate School

purseHow do you engage children and youth in restorative and relational processes? This can be difficult, especially in these challenging times — but there is an answer … and it can be delivered online!

Following their highly successful involvement in the EU Erasmus+ projects, Les Davey and John Boulton, Directors of SynRJ, an IIRP Graduate School Partner based in the UK, found it increasingly evident that training children and youth directly is the key to consolidating implementation and fully embedding restorative processes. As a result, SynRJ has developed student workbooks and teacher's guides in their "Restorative and Relational Processes in Action" book series to achieve this in a very practical and engaging way.

Built around two different restorative stories, Lost Memories for ages 4 to 11 and Broken Windscreen for ages 11 to 18, each is about an incident of wrongdoing and a restorative meeting held to address it. Each student workbook and teacher's guide consists of two parts: Part 1 is designed to introduce children and young people to the general concepts of restorative and relational processes and Part 2 deepens this understanding by introducing the key elements of restorative practices appropriate to the age range.

The whole series is designed to introduce restorative and relational processes to students in a user-friendly and very practical way.

Learn more about all of the books in the series, including short promotional videos and a "sneak peek" function, at SynRJ.org. You may order at the SynRJ store.

Linda Kligman 480x600In 2020, IIRP Vice President for Administration Linda Kligman, Ph.D., received her doctorate in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Ethical and Creative Leadership and a specialization in Martin Luther King, Jr. Studies. Her dissertation, Widening circles: A Grounded Theory study of workplace leadership, received two honors from Union Institute and University: The Marvin B. Sussman Award for originality, interdisciplinarity, and social relevance in scholarship; and the Virgil A. Wood Award for excellence advancing the legacy of Martin Luther King. Linda has been invited to be the Social Justice Speaker at Union’s Spring Residency. Her thesis has been made available for free download.

When I came to work at the International Institute for Restorative Practices in 2010 it was a profoundly different experience for me. My career had largely been in the nonprofit sector, I had run community organizations, a private company, and served on many boards, but this culture of high expectations and abundant support felt remarkably different. We practiced giving and receiving candid feedback in team builders, we were encouraged to talk about and express our feelings, and instead of running decisions “up the ladder” we “circled up” to include others. I enjoyed coming to work even on the hardest days. This relational orientation allowed me to stretch and find my role within an ambitious, innovative and dynamic graduate school.

volcano.jpgOn June 3, 2018, the Volcán de Fuego (Fire Volcano) in Guatemala erupted, killing 300 people and leaving close to 2,000 homeless and relocated to temporary shelters. Lava flows buried the towns of Alotenango and San Miguel Los Lotes; El Rodeo was also highly impacted.

The government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international response was focused on relocating villagers to safe locations and providing health care, medicines and food, as well as initiating a formal plan to move entire communities that would not be able to live in those high-risk areas again.

However, the emergency response made no effort to listen to the people affected by the eruption or to provide them with a space where they could find emotional support and release some of the emotions around the trauma they suffered. Asociación para el Liderazgo en Guatemala (ALG), a local NGO that trains other NGO leaders in the country, offered an intervention that provided a space for both people displaced by the eruption and emergency response teams to find support in the use of restorative circles. This article will examine ALG ́s intervention and offer some lessons learned about providing circles to people affected by natural disaster, and how they can be helpful in coping with the aftermath of such a traumatic event.

A. Miguel Tello is an IIRP Lecturer and Executive Director of the Strachan Foundation based in Costa Rica; Flor García Mencos is an IIRP Trustee and Executive Director of the Asociación para el Liderazgo en Guatemala.

Read the full paper, which was published in ENGAGE! Co-created knowledge serving the public good, 1(3), 2020.

Daniel Goleman200x200The IIRP Graduate School sponsored the December 2020 WOBI (World of Business Ideas) digital event on the theme of emotional intelligence in leadership. Featured speaker Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., who wrote the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence (1995), joined IIRP President John W. Bailie, Ph.D., to discuss why emotional intelligence is more important now than ever, not only for business leaders but all of us.

It was an honor to speak with Dan Goleman. His work on emotional intelligence has been a tremendous influence on my personal practice as a leader. Dan’s thinking has also been foundational to the work of my institution, the IIRP Graduate School — the world’s first graduate school wholly dedicated to the science of relationships and community.

Our world is increasingly complex. The COVID-19 pandemic, political unrest, and economic realignment are all accelerating the pace of change. (Text continues below.)

Claire is the Representative for IIRP Latin America. She is based in San José, Costa Rica.

claire3What about the "restorative practices thing"?

When people ask me about this “restorative-practices-thing” that I am always talking about, I usually make a summary – unfair as all summaries are – that goes a little bit like this:

(1)  Restore the value of the person. Michael White said it well: the person isn’t the problem; the problem is the problem. To separate deed from doer helps us to honor each person’s dignity, even when we disagree or even disapprove certain behaviors

2020electionHow the IIRP Graduate School is using restorative practices to talk about the 2020 presidential election.

The IIRP Graduate School is aware of the uncertainty and stress surrounding the U.S. election. We held circles internally to help faculty, staff and trustees begin to process their feelings. We decided to share our process for others to use and learn from.

Watch Henry L. McClendon, Jr., Director of Community Engagement, and Lecturer Beth Smull share their experience using restorative practices to talk about the 2020 U.S. election in the workplace.

Read and feel free to adapt two agendas that demonstrate a proactive circle and a responsive circle designed to help organizations talk about difficult subjects, such as the 2020 U.S. Election.

Check out professional development opportunities to strengthen your restorative practices skills.

The IIRP is proud to announce that Trudy Junkroski is the 2020 recipient of the Shawn Suzch Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded in memory of Shawn Suzch, a young man who overcame adversity with courage and determination and gave his life for his country.

"One of the motivations for entering into this field of study is to support the implementation of restorative practices in response to serious crimes and incarceration," says Trudy. "At Everglades Correctional Institution in Miami, where I volunteer, incarcerated individuals in the Horizon program have become partners in building community and creating paths forward for those facing the challenges of life inside and outside of prison."

She adds, "I am a person who wants to step into difficult spaces, even when it's uncomfortable to do so. I am deeply grateful to receive the Shawn Suzch scholarship honoring his extraordinary life and the courageous partners in Shawn’s own journey. I look forward to proudly representing Shawn’s spirit in my own work and continued studies at IIRP."

Congratulations, Trudy!

Bruce and JohnBruce Schenk (right), along with IIRP President John Bailie at the IIRP Canada Conference in Toronto, 2018.It is with a great sense of warmth and gratitude that we say farewell to Bruce Schenk, who is retiring as Director of IIRP Canada after serving for 12 years. Bruce’s pioneering work in Canada has been instrumental in extending the ability of individuals and organizations to foster healthy, meaningful relationships in schools, justice systems, workplaces and other areas of society.

“When I started in 2008, restorative justice was a known thing in criminal and juvenile justice circles in Canada, and a little bit in schools, but not restorative practices,” says Bruce. “The thing I’m feeling really good about is how restorative practice is now seen as applicable to so many areas, especially education, and IIRP Canada has had a big role in that.”

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