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Social and Emotional Vygotsky

I feel for Senior Secondary educators who teach and lead young people who’ve never known anything other than adversarial, blame-based, rule laden or judicial models at school.


Not only are they still stepping in as judge, jury and executioner every time their students experience conflict or make a mistake… they’re doing it with kids who’ve spent up to 13 years mastering the art of dodging personal responsibility in such systems.


It’s exhausting and it’s unproductive.


In social interactions, I like the idea of applying Vygotsky’s famed gradual release of responsibility principle, which has underpinned so much of our pursuit of academic success with students.


When I walk through a restorative past-present-future model for social screw-ups I’m:


  • Saving a lot of time that’s routinely wasted in the company of lying students while I still have no idea what on earth happened with these kids.
  • Teach them through relevant experience a simple methodology that they can use themselves to resolve future problems.


What I’ve found is that students are happy for me to run the process, then to share the responsibility for the process and then to enact the process themselves.


The final step is when I’m not even aware the process happened. My favourite example was seeing the evidence of conflict resolution done on a concrete footpath in chalk.


They’d made the conflict resolution process their own.  What they didn’t need any more … was me.


I’ll get over it.


Keep fighting that good fight,


PS. If you’re a school leader and want to discuss embedding restorative practices at your school, I’d love to hear from you! Book a chat here.

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