A clever friend of mine, Darren Hill, explained the Rule Of Six to me once.
Apparently radio stations use this rule when a new song is released. They have a quest to have you hear that song six times as quickly as possible, which is why it seems to us as though that song is being played every second track.
After six exposures to the song, we move from analysing the song and into familiarity with the song. Even if the song is horrendous (which happened to me in 2019 when that offence against music ‘Old Town Road’ was released), we tolerate the song and resist the urge to change stations – just because we’re familiar.
The Rule Of Six is the key to parent communication about approaches like Restorative Practices.
When we commence, parents are yet to hear our new song, but we tend to think that playing this tune to parents about our approaches to conflict and wrongdoing once is enough. It isn’t, because once doesn’t achieve familiarity.
Only when they’ve heard the message six or more times might we receive a blessed gift from parents who’ve been harbouring a long-established lust for punishment and retribution … begrudging permission.
Turning around parent perceptions isn’t likely to occur suddenly or come as an epiphany. It starts with “Oh right. This is that restora-stuff they’ve been banging on about. Let’s see how this goes.”
And that’s all we need. Winning parents over about abandoning their punitive mindset is about just one little win.
The bridge to that win is built with at least six planks of frank, expert and confident communication about what you’re actually doing and why you’re doing it.
Keep fighting that good fight,
PS. This article is about leading a culture. If you’d like to spend more time on this topic, I’m running a workshop called ‘Leading School Culture’ in June/July near you. I reckon (but that’s just me!) you should get there. Find out more at this link.
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