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Circle Processes

Circle processes involves all parties coming together to share stories and learn more about harms created, effects of harms, and ways to repair the harms.   Participants assigned to participate in a circle should plan to be there for about 2 hours—but sometimes the conversation is longer. This practice usually involves larger participant size (4+ individuals). In a circle process, students are encouraged to be open and honest about their perspectives about the conflict, how they have been harmed, how they think others might have been harmed, and to come up with their own solutions on how to fix the harm created. All students sit in a circle and take turns participating and sharing their perspectives. Often, support persons and community members can also be present to provide their input as well. A circle process can be the result of a sanction from the Accountability Process or self-referral.

Facilitated Dialogues & Conferences

Facilitated Dialogues are an approach involving two or more students in a mediation-like setting. If students are unable to work out interpersonal conflict on their own, a facilitated dialogue provides a space where a trained facilitator can help students work through the harm, while also ensuring the students have full say in the process and desired outcomes. Facilitated dialogue is not necessarily designed to produce or work toward a set of agreements, but can serve that purpose.

A Conference is a conversation with more than two individuals or with a group of individuals in which a facilitator(s) helps parties overcome communicative barriers and engage in productive conversation regarding issues and concerns. Conferences are typically designed to produce or work toward a set of agreements.

Conflict Coaching & Conversations About Conflict

Conflict Coaching is a one-on-one meeting that allows the student to be empowered and prepared to manage conflict or difficult conversations on their own. A restorative practices facilitator will provide the necessary tools, guidance, and support for students to be able to engage in and productively resolve conflict. Participants may complete a self-assessment with a trained facilitator to better understand their conflict style. Conflict Coaching may be used to:

  • resolve a dispute (past, present)
  • prevent an unnecessary dispute
  • prepare for a conflict conversation
  • generally improve competency in conflict management

 

Conversations about Conflict is a one session, 2-hour program. It is meant for students to reflect on how they deal with conflict in their relationships with friends, roommates, family members, professors, university staff, strangers, and even themselves.  Through this one-on-one workshop, students will be given the opportunity to assess their own conflict style, discuss how their community is impacted by conflict, and develop skills for future engagement in conflict.  Upon completion of the workshop, students submit a reflection paper. 

Alternative Approaches

Not every restorative referral will result in a process or face-to-face outcome. Participants must be a good fit for a restorative process to occur, and for any repairing of harm to transpire. The Restorative Practices case coordinator will assess whether or not a referral will occur and whether or not an individual will participate. It is our hope to avoid additional harm through the process.

Apology Letters and Reflection Papers are an approach that may serve as a single approach or an additive to a recommended process. We use the Eight Key Questions to help students understand their actions and reflect on their decision-making.

Talking Pieces & Centerpieces

Talking Pieces: Talking pieces are traditionally used in Restorative Justice processes as a way to provide structure to the conversation and provide all participants the opportunity to share their perspective. A talking piece is an item that is passed from one individual to the next throughout the conversation and generally carries meaning for the group. The person holding the talking piece has the opportunity to share their perspective, without interruptions, while others in the group are empowered to listen. 

Centerpieces: Centerpieces are often a piece of cloth or other material on which participants can write or draw, and is laid in the middle of a circle. The centerpiece is used as a way to further connection and meaning to the group through commonalities shared on the centerpiece. 

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