On March 30, 2016, I took the Criminology 315 (CRIM 315) students at the Simon Fraser University Burnaby Campus (teacher: Associate Professor and director of the Center for Restorative Justice, Brenda Morrison) through an in depths mind mapping process as they reflected on their understanding and learning during the course.
CRIM 315 is designed to contrast restorative justice with the dominant adversarial/retributive/punitive model of justice through a critical analysis of these two paradigms of justice. Several key principles, assumptions, and concepts necessary for understanding the foundation and practice of restorative justice are explored during the course.
This particular group of students has been focusing on restorative justice within the educational setting (from theory to practice to social echo). My role as guest teacher was to engage the students creatively and to discuss my restorative art-based practices with at-risk youth, young offenders and fragile populations.
I was delighted to have my former student, now colleague, Miko Philip participate as co-facilitator during my session. I shared my own restorative practices and successes within the secondary school setting through the lens of Miko’s personal experiences. Miko spoke openly about her time Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School, her personal struggles, her transformative experience in the summer of 2015 in the Inside Out Project at Mountainside Secondary, and her current powerful and life-changing studies at Rhodes Wellness College.
But before we began the mind mapping segment (outside in the sun), Brenda discussed delicious items for the students to keep in mind:
• Pedagogy– how do you achieve educational outcome?
• Discipline of the circle
• What does the circle add to higher learning?
• What is your discipline beyond criminology?
• Social Echo
• Spiral of Inquiry: Scanning, Focusing, Developing a Hunch, Learning, Taking Action, Checking.
Capturing dialogue and participant voices is such a treat and I love how the whole brain is engaged by the group. Students can see the process unfold and gain new insights and perspectives as a result.
At the beginning and part way through the afternoon, I utilized a couple of my favorite Lynda Barry exercises to cleanse our brains!
To really start the process, Miko asked the students the big question: What is Restorative Justice? Not so easy to answer it turns out!
We started with one word reflection per participant, then the students broke off into groups to create a sentence answer.
What is Restorative Justice?
An opportunity to grow as a person when you have done something wrong in a way that is rehabilitative rather than punitive.
A value based philosophical framework guiding a rehabilitation process.
An inclusive approach to learning that emphasizes passion, respect, empathy, positivity, and acceptance in a safe and productive environment.
A values based approach to building community by empowering stakeholders.
We then discussed what identity and belonging means to each participant to enrich the exploration:
Relationship based, learning from each other, growth, supportive community, different way of learning, listening skills, equal opportunity to talk, accepted and not judged, having a place, empowerment, voice, equality, spend time in a place despite being uncomfortable, inclusivity, understanding (less about knowing), safety, community (actions affect others), non judgmental, ontological security, transparency.
Groups then shared their reflections on the mind map on social echo:
The effects of stereotypes and perceptions; igniting your inner passion to make a change; being an agent of change; individual and collective; whatever you take from it; expanding knowledge; being a voice through which knowledge can be carried to a broader audience.…
We ended with a circle reflection!
Huge thank you to Miko Philip for being so open and enriching our day so much. And thank you to Brenda Morrison, Cristina Serverius and the students who participated to willingly!
Check out Brenda’s recommendations: