Restorative Dialogue

Restore and learn from ‘hot moments’ in the classroom

This activity serves as a form of ‘restorative practice’ following a hot moment. Students are given time to reflect and exchange thoughts about a previous moment in class where a discussion became overly intense or certain remarks may have caused emotional harm.  

Hot moments are defined as instances when “people’s feelings — often conflictual — rise to a point that threatens teaching and learning” (Warren, 2006). While there is no single ‘correct’ response, how a teacher navigates these difficult moments in the classroom can significantly impact the learning environment.

Warren suggests that teachers should then “leave the dance floor of the discussion and our emotions” and “go up to the balcony to look for a relevant meta-level issue that raised the hot moment”. Additionally, listening to “the song beneath the words” and trying to hear the concerns or arguments behind the comments can be beneficial (Willner Brodksy et al., 2021).

Drawing from the principles of Socratic dialogue, this tool aims to address the students’ assumptions and emotions, fostering a constructive dialogue. 

Learning outcome

  • The student is able to reflect individually and collectively on a hot moment in class, identifying the underlying values of their actions and the diversity of (ethical) perspectives to engage in an open dialogue