Restorative Practices Professional Development Training

On January 13, 2022, thirty-eight staff from Cocke County Schools participated in a 1-day professional development training on Restorative Practices. The training was conducted by Janet Watkins, Project Coordinator, TN AWARE with the TN Department of Education Division of Student and Family Supports.

Restorative Practices is a strength-based, solution focused framework that focuses on relationship building. It provides tertiary prevention, introduced after the problem has occurred, with the intention of avoiding reoccurrence. The fundamental hypothesis of Restorative Practices is that human beings are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their behavior when those is positions of authority do things with them rather than to them or for them.

Restorative Practices have been proven effective in reducing misbehavior, bullying, violence, and crime among students while improving the overall climate for learning. The overall aim of Restorative Practices is to develop community and to manage conflict and tensions by repairing harm and restoring friendships. The use of restorative practices helps to:

  • Reduce crime, violence and bullying
  • Improve human behavior
  • Strengthen civil society
  • Provide effective leadership
  • Restore relationships
  • Repair harm

There is a widely held mistaken belief that the concept of restorative practices is merely a discipline approach. While teachers have found these concepts and practices helpful in managing their classrooms, the whole notion of actively engaging students and allowing them to take greater responsibility enhances the quality of teaching and learning in general. Such strategies have practical implications for educating young people to take responsibility outside of school and helps to improve students relationships, behavior and decorum, all of which positively impact academic performance. Cocke County Schools wishes to thank Mrs. Watkins and the Tennessee Department of Education for their unwavering work with districts on proactively building positive school communities.