The Restorative Practices philosophy, which is in keeping with our Augustinian approach to education and behaviour management, provides our students an opportunity to develop self-discipline and positive behaviour in a caring, supportive environment.

A positive school climate, in which young people feel connected, is the best environment for learning. Our aims are:

  • To educate students towards self-directed right behaviour
  • To promote, nurture and protect healthy relationships among members of the community
  • To enable students to be accountable for the real consequences of any wrongdoing

We believe that our approach to student behaviour management should primarily be educational. The fundamental aim is for students to learn responsibility for themselves and their actions, and to make genuine, positive contributions to their community.

A Restorative Practices approach views conflict or wrongdoing as an opportunity for students to learn about the consequences of their actions, to develop empathy for others, and to make amends in a way that strengthens any bonds that may have been damaged.

This attitude values the person while challenging negative behaviour, echoing St Augustine’s call to “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

We do this by:

  • Insisting upon high standards of behaviour from every student
  • Providing high levels of support and care for struggling individuals

Valuing a strong sense of community and right behaviour based on sound moral principles, Villanova has high expectations of all its community members.

Students are called to meet high standards of personal behaviour and are challenged when they fall short of expectations. However, they are challenged in a way that respects them as individuals made in the image and likeness of God.

We see this as the fairest and most effective means of enabling them to correct their behaviour and make amends to those affected. Through developing empathy for others, students learn to become more positive, supportive and constructive members of their community.

Students perceive this approach as firm, but fair. We uphold this approach by:

  • Clearly articulating and reinforcing expectations
  • Adhering to fair processes in dealing with all cases of conflict and wrongdoing
  • Recognising that wrongdoing primarily causes harm to relationships, which must be repaired in order to move forward

At the heart of the Restorative Practices philosophy is an understanding of the Social Discipline Window, which depicts the possible ways teachers or parents can respond to undesirable behaviour in young boys.

Primarily punitive ideologies hold wrongdoers to high standards, but don’t provide the support necessary to reach them. Such an approach can alienate and stigmatise those capable of positive growth, which fails to instigate any real change in behaviour.

In a more restorative response, the wrongdoer can find the support he needs without being condemned for his actions.

The aim of Restorative Practices is to operate in the top right pane of the Social Discipline Window by holding students to high behaviour standards while providing the support, encouragement and guidance to educate and show them the path to right behaviour.

A Restorative Practices approach is authoritative, rather than authoritarian. An authoritative outlook holds tenaciously to community values and challenges members to demonstrate these values in all their emotional, social and spiritual interactions.

Key Elements of a Restorative Practices Philosophy

  • Encourage students to appreciate the consequences of their actions for others
  • Enable students to make amends when their actions have harmed others
  • Require students to be accountable for their actions
  • Encourage respect for all concerned
  • Adhere to Augustinian values

FURTHER READING

Restorative Practices

Restorative Practices – Conference Information Sheet

Social Discipline Window