Restorative Practices

Circle Processes Q&A

All Relationships Can Be Transformed

Implementing restorative practice is about changing the hearts and minds of everyone so that they are focused on strengthening and repairing relationships in their classrooms and across the school community.


Change is a complex process and one that will probably fail if you do not capture the hearts and minds of your people and do not approach the implementation in a systemic way.


Margaret Thorsborne & Peta Blood

Restorative Discipline Practices In Texas

Restorative Discipline Practices in Texas began in the fall of 2015. The Texas Education Agency partnered with the Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue at The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work to participate in a statewide roll out. TEA provides a series of videos by Dr. Gay Lang.

Restorative Approach To Discipline

What happened?

Who has been harmed? How?

What needs to happen to repair the harm?

What Is The Circle?

The Circle is a carefully constructed, intentional dialogue space. It welcomes difficult emotions and difficult realities, while maintaining a sense of positive possibilities.


(from Circle Forward: Building a Restorative School Community by C. Boyes-Watson & K. Pranis)

Circles 7 Core Principles

1. The True Self in everyone is good, wise and powerful.

2. The world is profoundly interconnected.

3. All human beings have a deep desire to be in a good relationship.

4. All humans have gifts, everyone is needed for what they bring.

5. Everything we need to make positive change is already here.

6. Human beings are holistic.

7. We need practices to build habits of living from the Core Self.

(from Circle Forward: Building a Restorative School Community by C. Boyes-Watson & K. Pranis)

Types of Peacemaking Circles

Talking Circles

Circles of Understanding

Healing Circles

Sentencing Circles

Support Circles

Community-Building Circles

Conflict Circles

Reintegration Circles

Celebration or Honoring Circles


*In restorative schools, staff uses a combination of Talking/Community Circles, Circles of Understanding/Conflict Resolution, and Healing/Trauma Circles - depending on levels of need and training.

What Is Being Practiced In Circles?

  • Respect
  • Equality
  • Empathy and emotional literacy
  • Problem solving
  • Responsibility
  • Self-regulation and self-awareness
  • Shared leadership

Essential Elements Of Constructing The Circle

  1. Seating all the participants in a circle (preferably without any tables)
  2. Mindfulness moment
  3. Opening ceremony
  4. Centerpiece
  5. Talking piece
  6. Identifying Values
  7. Generating guidelines based on the values
  8. Guiding questions
  9. Agreements (if the Circle is making decisions)
  10. Closing ceremony

How Is A Circle Different From A Group?

  • The talking piece regulates the dialogue
  • Collective creation of the guidelines
  • The facilitator or "keeper" participates as another member
  • Constrained by values, not by specific outcomes



Circle requires a shift in power dynamics and relationships between adults and students. If that shift in power is not appropriate, Circle is not a good choice of process.

What is Restorative Practices?
More on Community Circles

Mediators Without Borders

Dialogue Circles and Positive Classroom Culture

Edutopia on Classroom Management

For Additional Training & Resources

Please feel free to contact:

Mark Ybarra, Ed.D. - mybarra@esc6.net - 936-435-8245

Fabiana Bezerra, LSSP - fbezerra@esc6.net - 936-435-8252