Senior education officers are being trained to use restorative
practices to develop good relationships and reestablish a sense of
community in situations where there has been discord in classrooms.
The two-day Restorative Practices Workshop being held at the Princess
Ramada Hotel, Providence, was facilitated by the IMPACT Justice
project which seeks to improve access to the justice system in the
Caribbean. It focuses on the use of restorative practices in schools
and has trained over 1,000 educators across the region.
Regional Director of IMPACT Justice Project, Velma Newton explained
that the aim is to add the concept to the Teachers Training College
curriculum following the training. This ensures more teachers are
exposed to and will introduce restorative practices in their
interaction with students.
“We have already trained persons in Barbados, Belize, Grenada, St.
Vincent and the Grenadines. and now is the turn of Guyana… Hopefully,
in the not too distant future, we can form a Caribbean network of
restorative practices committees to share ideas and experiences for
the betterment of relationships in our schools and communities.”
Facilitator of International Institute for Restorative Practices,
Patricia Lewis described the concept of restorative practices as a
grassroots movement. “I think that is because the change that occurs
at the local level happens in your schools. So, when we build these
strong positive communities in our schools it allows children to be
the best that they can be. That is the real power of restorative
approaches,” Lewis emphasised.
She further noted that one of the keys to the successful
implementation of restorative practices is nurturing leadership among
Restorative practice is a social science that analyses how to improve
and repair relationships between people and communities. The purpose
is to build healthy communities, increase social capital, decrease
crime and antisocial behaviour, repair harm and restore relationships.
The IMPACT Justice programme is in its fifth year. It has been
concentrating on the drafting of model legislation for the region,
encouraging countries to adopt continuing legal professional
development for the legal profession, public legal education on a
number of topics and Alternative Dispute Resolution.