- Showing 2 posts filed under: Conference [–], Practice [–] published between Oct 01, 2009 and Oct 31, 2009 [Show all]
Reflections on the restorative conference facilitator’s script
In mathematics and science, the term elegant is used to describe a formula or explanation that is both simple and comprehensive. Elegant ideas use evidence to braid together many of the messy strings dangling from a problem. They reveal core mechanisms and are easily related between individuals. Though it inhabits a world seemingly separate from the rigid logic of science and math, restorative conferencing is extremely elegant. The organization of conferencing approaches emotionally chaotic situations and provides structured opportunities to create solutions.
The straightforward information presented in IIRP course YC/ED 502 gave me the tools I needed to deconstruct the magic in conferencing and understand the mechanics of the process. I was very impressed by the thoughtful work that goes into preparing for conferences, as well as the well-ordered script. Conferencing feels very real. It seems to honor cultural differences and family norms. It acknowledges and disapproves of harmful behavior but avoids arbitrary punishments.
After reading through the Conferencing Handbook, watching demonstrations and participating in role plays, I began to appreciate how an organized meeting can lead to such powerful interactions. Conversely, I realized why conversations that do not honor the needs and emotional reactions of participants with clarity may lead to less satisfactory outcomes.
What are we looking for?
“Did you see remorse?”
“What are we looking for?”
“Why didn’t you ask about previous offending?”
For the last four years, I’ve volunteered as a restorative conferencing facilitator with a local community organisation. As a part of that work, I now ‘mentor’ new facilitators. Inevitably, I get questions like the ones listed above. It’s always interesting to see the focus of new volunteers as they go through pre-conferences.