The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Building “Restorative Relationships” in Arab schools in Israel: An Actionable, Practice-based Model of Inclusive School Practice

Izabel Ramadan, Oranim College of Education (Israel)

Michal Razer, Oranim College of Education (Israel)


Exclusion is a relationship gone wrong.  Inclusion requires building “restorative relationships” that expand the role of the teachers as “caregivers,” rethink the definitions of success that guide teaching practice and involve the emotional work necessary to ensure the well-being of teachers and other school staff.   We will present, theoretically and practically, an actionable model of inclusive school practice that specifies the knowledge and skills that educators need to build restorative relationships.  From a theoretical perspective, the model draws from the psychosocial educational approach. We will present the implementation of the model in Arab schools in Israel which implies to consider deep cultural aspects, especially regarding the subjective-emotional aspect. The education system in the world is currently dealing with the consequences of the Covid- 19 crisis and the prolonged lockdowns. Educators, report aggravation in the behaviour of teenagers in schools compared to what was known before the pandemic. We see, on the one hand, an increasing case of violence in schools, and on the other hand, more students who are disconnected from learning and are isolated. The premise is that these extreme behaviours, both extroverted and introverted, are expression of great distress among students. There is a greater need, today, to build mechanisms in the education systems that will connect the learning processes with social-emotional processes. We offer a model for the promotion and construction of these mechanisms. The model describes the “cycle of exclusion” that traps both students and teachers. and is sustained by two systemic frames: “helplessness” and “false identity”.  Restorative relationship can reverse the cycle of exclusion through skills of non-abandonment, reframing, connecting conversation, and empathic limit setting.  Excluded young people often feel abandoned and protect themselves from further disappointment by pushing teachers away.   Teachers who feel rejected, and overwhelmed, protect themselves by distancing themselves and giving up on students, reinforcing students’ experiences of abandonment. Teachers cannot build restorative relationships with their students unless their own emotional needs are addressed. Dealing with the inner world, of students and teachers, is sometimes at odds with cultural concepts. Therefore, the model describes the emotional work and reflection on practice necessary to ensure teacher well-being. The model also describes how restorative relationships can be encouraged at the organizational level.




Action-research, teachers-as-caregivers, inclusive school, multicultural teacher training, cycle-of-exclusion  





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