Kris Miner at Restorative Justice and Circles has been pretty quiet lately, so I was very happy to see her return, especially with three wonderful posts at once.
The first post, Creating Learning “Containers” with Restorative Justice Circles, Two Techniques, contained this wonderful gem: taking turns listening to silence, or, as she puts it,
…ask participants to pass the talking piece, staying silent, and only passing it when they feel their silence has been “heard.”
She explains how this act can attune people in the group to non-verbal communication, and the importance of paying attention to these cues. I think this is a marvelous idea, especially when emotions are running high or people are having trouble remaining empathetic, and I can imagine it working well in a classroom just as a teaching tool too! This is going to be one of the first things I try once classes resume in the fall.
In her second post, Restorative Justice As Art: Three Experiences, One Blog Post, she reflects on the theme of vulnerability in RJ work in three ways (related to art).
On “the nakedness of art”:
I had just been to a deep meeting and discussion with someone preparing to meet with a surviving family member, in a multiple death traffic fatality incident. The nakedness of the art, the beauty, reminded me of how we have to get emotionally bare when it comes to Restorative Justice dialogue. As a facilitator when emotions are high, and grief over the death of a loved is present, you also become bare. Your own heart is present and you (facilitator) are in it alongside those requesting and agreeing to dialogue.
on perfectionism and art:
Preparing parties to sit face to face after damage and harm, especially when a loved one has died, requires zero attention to your own perfectionism. All ego of the facilitator needs to be removed, and working towards emotional safety and preparation is the art.
Restorative Justice as art. That means co-creating with those around you. That fits well, I teach that a Circle keepers job is to engage everyone as keepers in the Circle.