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Better Than Carrots or Sticks: Restorative Practices for Positive Classroom Management
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Better Than Carrots or Sticks: Restorative Practices for Positive Classroom Management

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  473 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Classroom management is traditionally a matter of encouraging good behavior and discouraging bad by doling out rewards and punishments. But studies show that when educators empower students to address and correct misbehavior among themselves, positive results are longer lasting and more wide reaching. In Better Than Carrots or Sticks, longtime educators and best-selling au ...more
Published August 25th 2015 by Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (first published August 17th 2015)
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Peter Atkinson
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
In the opening chapter of Better Than Carrots or Sticks, the authors provide a chart that contrasts traditional approaches to discipline to restorative approaches:

Traditional Approaches Restorative Approaches
Accountability is defined as punishment Accountability is understanding the impact of the
offence and repairing the harm
Schools and rules are violated People and relationships are violated
Justice is directed at the offender and the The offender, victim, and school community all have victim
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, teaching
This isn't really a review, but here are my notes from the book in case they might be helpful.

In the restorative philosophy, “classroom management” is about “building relationships with students and teaching social skills along with academic skills.” Traditional discipline is focused on rewards and punishments, whereas the restorative approach emphasizes accountability: Offenders expected “to repair any harm they've caused and work toward a positive outcome.”

• causes shame/humiliatio
This book left me with a lot of feelings, both good and bad.

I'm happy to know that I'm doing the right things in creating a welcoming and supportive classroom environment but bummed knowing that what I'm doing in my own room isn't enough and that some teachers are holding back the school. Not to say that I'm perfect, of course...

I'm inspired to hear stories of how restorative justice can change students' paths, but I'm kicking myself for not using these practices earlier in my career. I can thi
Sarah Huntone
I was disappointed with this book overall. If you were unfamiliar with restorative practices and why they were important, this would be a good book for you. However, my school has spent a lot of time over the last few years building school-wide capacity with these practices. I was hoping for some practical ideas I could use to build my classroom management plan, and while I did get a few new ideas and reminders of some of the good things I've done in the past that work, it was just not what I wa ...more
Jessa Franco
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: librarian-reads
3.5 - I really want to rate it four stars but I didn't always like the tone of superiority and judgement that the authors had at times. I will also say that only about a third of the book actually walks you through the details of restorative practice. The rest is the theory and ideology, which is beneficial but I was hoping for a little more discussion of implementation.

I did get some good ideas and made myself a "cheat sheet" with reminders on how best to approach situations.
Mark Ballinger
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mark by: Elie
Shelves: teaching, room-107, crtl
I'll be taking lots of pieces from the first several chapters, as they all fit really well with the changes I'm making this year in my classroom.

Oddly, the chapter on classroom circles fell flat for me, and from there the changes discussed in the book were more systemic, so not things I can pull off on my own.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It really shouldn’t have taken me this long to finish this. I think this book presents an excellent intro into why we should be using restorative discipline in education, but I want more detailed ways to address behaviors that are repeated and intense. This book presents kids as calm and able to express themselves easily. I would like a more in-depth look at working with students with disabilities or who have suffered trauma. I think the HUGE benefit in this book is the descriptions of teacher t ...more
Megan Woodrich
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helpful content, but I wish it was more cohesive.
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
During my grad program we learned a bit about restorative justice ideas and practices. This book has a lot of great information and examples on the topic. My main problem with this isn't with the book or the information, but more on implementing it. It seems like you could, with a lot of work with you classes, implement many of these ideas within your classroom, but if your school and school district uses traditional punitive practices, it's going to be very difficult to uphold this system and t ...more
Tyler Wilch
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
This book is a solid introduction to the usage of restorative practices in classrooms with helpful overviews of conflict-focused meetings and relationship-based management. Framing incidents to be addressed as violations of community members rather than violations of rules or norms is particularly helpful. However, its so-so writing and advocacy for the usage of suspension and the presence of police in schools earned it a two star rating. Police operate in a fundamentally punitive manner and are ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book that I have read about restorative practices in the classroom and it certainly will not be my last. I read this for a book study in my school district as part of my continuing education credits and worked to apply what I was learning each week in the classroom. As I worked to understand my students better and gave them the opportunity to make restitution for any hurt caused during class, the entire climate of the classroom and learning environment improved. This is not to ...more
Kristina Peterson Labadie
I honestly think this is one of the best professional development books I have ever read. What a fabulous introduction to restorative justice - but in a way that is easy to understand and that educates the teacher behind the "why." I especially appreciated the in depth, but yet easy to follow, descriptions of the different types of circles. This is so helpful as so often we hear "run circles" but don't really delve into much more than having the students sit in a circle and have a voice. What a ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic read. I learned a lot about restorative practice and it has gotten me on fire for teaching in the fall, although I've gotten to try some of these tactics out in summer school. It goes to show how a relationship can really make a difference. I liked all of the stories and the different approaches that are offered in this book.

The only downside was the talking down to the audience. I didn't appreciate the tone of a lot of the book. Many times the authors writing suggests they hav
Joy Weese Moll
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is a slim paperback with lots of white space and pictures, meant for busy teachers to give them a new way of working with students and their behaviors. Obviously helpful for teachers, I think this could be useful in all kinds of ways — it’s helping me be more clear in my daily listening and speaking.

I wrote a round-up post about this book and two other books about education, race, and school discipline in 2017 on my blog: Books about Education
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better Than Carrots or Sticks is a short accessible book for educators interested in restorative practices. I enjoyed this book immensely because it provided both the micro and macro changes a educator as well as an entire school can make to support ALL students. This book has also instilled in me more confidence around dealing with students with chronic behavioral issues. I know I will be using this book as a reference for a long time.
Laura Smith
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Strategic and Optimisic

This well written, easy to read book was full of strategies including the why's and how to's. I appreciate this book because it has a positive and optimistic approach to challenging behaviors and school policy. I believe every school leadership should read this together in order to create a responsive, supportive, hopeful school system and environment for all kids, staff, and families.
Stephanie Gillogly
I am normally in too much of a hurry to read my next book to write proper reviews, but with this book, I have to take a minute to explain why I rate it so highly. First, it addresses an important challenge in many public school classrooms today-- behavior challenges. Second, it provides real ideas that can be implemented today by teachers and administrators to help improve their relationships with students and address some of our most worrisome behavior challenges. It provides real suggestions f ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first three chapters were difficult to get through, perhaps because we already have a growth mindset and reconciliatory philosophy at our school. They were generalized, basic and redundant. Some of the examples didn't ring true at all, as though the authors made up conversations to emphasize their points. However, the last three chapters were more engaging because there were useful strategies, tools and suggestions that I could implement tomorrow in my classroom.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The restorative practices outlined in this book dovetail with PBIS, Love and Logic, and growth mindset. I appreciate having a resource to utilize as I plan strategies for taking my classroom management to the next level. I love how it is about teaching children about the effects of their actions and building agency rather than retribution.
Alex T.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you are new to restorative practices, this book gives a great overview of both the philosophy and practical applications across all grade levels. As someone who has been immersed in restorative practices for a few years now, I was hoping for a little more depth, but I was still able to take away some great suggestions to use in my classroom and in my school!
Kevin English
Some helpful information about specific practices that teachers can implement. There was, however, a lot of repetition about the beliefs that go along with the implementation of restorative practices: repair harm rather than impose punishments.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good introduction to Restorative Practice. You won't get too many direct tips or training on how to specific restoratives practices, but you will get an overview of the purpose and principals of the specific practices.
Mary Beth
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this book is going to have a transformative effect on my classroom. Focusing on relationships and restitution is something I always knew was important but this book really drove the point home for me.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teachers, Administrators, Counselors
This provides a good introduction to the concept of Restorative Discipline. It covers a very wide topic in a short, quick-read volume, so those wanting to implement the program will need further research/resources. I support the theory of restorative discipline, but I felt this book ignored many of the realities teachers/schools are facing today. Overall, I would recommend this book to teachers who are looking for classroom management techniques beyond "traditional" approaches. The concepts in t ...more
Nancy Sherod
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book!! The possibilities for conversation are endless!! If you are a new PBIS school or just looking for new direction with perceptions of discipline and behavior change this is a great and quick read!!!
Living In Full Bloom
Great insights about restorative practices, especially for those new to the idea. I would have loved more data and examples - this book could have been a lot longer and I would have read it! For such an interesting topic that I want to implement, more real world examples would be helpful.
Shona Harris
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must Read

This book has so many nuggets that can transform the educational experience for children. Suspensions never helped anyone. Restorative practices help change thinking and increase problem solving.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Real life strategies for creating a positive classroom and school environment through restorative practices. Filled with data and resources and clear explanations. A solid starting point for teachers and schools ready to make changes to support positive behavior.
Meghan Moore
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, some solid advice.
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommend highly to teachers.
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“Classroom rules, procedures, and expectations are transmitted to students through a cluster of behaviors known collectively as teacher sensitivity (Allen et al., 2013).” 0 likes
“Consider all the behavior problems you have faced in your career. How many of them would you chalk up to students' lack of impulse control? How many were due to their inability to think through their actions before committing to them? How many occurred because an adult wasn't close by to stop the students from acting out? When students can't self-regulate, problems are likely to follow.” 0 likes
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