Source: (2002) Paper presented at "Dreaming of a New Reality," the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, August 8-10, 2002, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This presentation provides a practical insight into why restorative practices have the potential to building a more inclusive and wholesome school culture. It will examine how, through the building of a relational framework,it is possible to introduce a normative restorative practices approach, capable of providin a clear rationale for why restorative practices do well at strengthening bonds and relationships. The challenge of consistently connecting values to all practice is then possible through the use of discrete relational questions similar to those found in the Real Justice Conference script. A key element of the presentation is demonstrating that restorative practices can shift the preoccupation around problematic behaviours, towards one which focuses upon ways of promoting healthier ones. This allows behavioural issues to be viewed as opportunities for insight, learning, social and moral development. It will also show that once school develops a normative (restorative) approach, many opportunities open up to casade these practices throughout the school community, particularly making these practices accessible to students, parents and families.