What is Classroom Conversations?
Classroom Conversations is a 10-week program for grades 1 through 8, offered by Restorative Justice, to any Chilliwack school in District 33. A trained facilitator from Restorative Justice will organize a 45-minute session per week, during which they will address social/emotional learning, empathy and inclusiveness. Schools who take-part in Classroom Conversations will receive a sponsored “Buddy Bench” upon completion of the program.
For more information on the buddy Bench, visit http://www.restoringjustice.ca/programs-and-services/prevention-programs/buddybench/
Weekly Session Topics
Building community, Communication skills, Self-esteem, Owning your actions, Self-awareness/Emotions, Perspective, Conflict, Teamwork or Social Media and Relationships/Friendships
Benefits for Students
Emotional Management- Ability to be aware of both negative and positive emotions, as well as display emotions in a healthy way.
Empathy- Relating to others with acceptance, understanding, and sensitivity to their diverse perspectives and experiences.
Teamwork- Abilities to collaborate and coordinate action with others.
Responsibility- Dispositions and abilities to reliably meet commitments and fulfill obligations.
Initiative- Capacity to take action, sustain motivation, and persevere through challenges, towards desired goals.
Problem Solving- Abilities to plan, organize, and resolve conflict among peers.
Testimonials From Students
“I like that I have a chance to speak and be heard.”
“I like to hear the different perspectives from my classmates.”
“I have more in common with other kids in my class than I ever knew.”
“I liked getting to know each other and that we could express our feelings.”
“I learned about other’s feelings, that everyone matters and people have different opinions.”
“We expressed ourselves and talked freely without the feeling of judgment.”
“I learned how to get out of my comfort zone and be honest with my feelings.”
I like “That we can talk openly expressing our feelings and play games and that lets off a lot of stress.”
Testimonials From Teachers
“I have students who have been previously disengaged, participating more than ever.”
“I really enjoyed and was pleasantly surprised by the insights my students had surrounding some of the topics.”
“I was surprised by some of the insights and sharing that came from this group.”
“It is so amazing, I wish it were in every class, it creates a special environment, I hope it can become a standard in all schools.”
“Thank you so much for this program! I highly recommend it to my colleagues!”
“The weekly routine of checking in and being comfortable sharing their thoughts and feeling others was valuable.”
Overall, teachers found that students were able to “handle anxieties,” “own their actions,” and “be mindful of their anger triggers.”
From 181 students, 94.4% enjoyed their weekly restorative circles, and 79.6% stated they learned something from the program.
Only 25.4% of the 181 Students reported a negative experience in the circles, many of which claimed their negative experience was due to disrespect from other students and/or because they wanted to talk about more in-depth issues.
A survey of 78 students who had completed the Classroom Conversations program revealed the following:
– In response to “I feel bad when someone gets their feelings hurt” 51.3% Said it was a lot like me or exactly like me, and 5.1% said it was not at all like me.
– In response to “I understand how other people feel” 39.7% said it was a lot like me or exactly like me, and 19.2% said not at all like me.
– In response to “I think it is important for me to understand how others feel” 56.4% said it was a lot like me or exactly like me, and 17.9% said it was not at all like me.
– In response to “I am happy when others succeed” 59% said it was a lot like me or exactly like me, and 3.8% said it was not at all like me.