The art of asking questions is a skill a Circle-keeper, Restorative Justice Practioner needs to be building.
Imagine this . . . how were you harmed? People can express their hurts. Consider an event where many people contributed to the harm, there wasn’t a specific person. The question might be . . . how were you impacted? When you talk about impact, community members, supportors and even the offender can share the impacts of the harmful act.
When you pick your questions, you need to be monitoring the emotional climate of the Circle participants. The higher the safety, the more vulnerable you can make the question. You start at the stages of getting acquainted and building relationship – you get the values, the commitment to honor the values, some comfort and safety, then you can talk about the difficult things.
I also use a reflective or final stage, check out question. I ask what people thought it was going to be like, and what it actually was like. My question tips the scale that something about what they expected and experienced was different. I could ask a general reflective question, just have people “check out”, however, I know that novel, makes things memorable. I want young people to remember the story heard, from our volunteer speaker and from others in the Circle.
This TED Talk, the power of if a question asks up to opt-in or opt-out of organ donation. It’s an interesting perspective, the specifics about the question, starts about 5 minutes in: