The first step is to gain knowledge, the ‘how to’ of a Restorative Justice Circle. Then you develop experience, those experiences lend to your understanding and ability to predict what happens. Pour in some passion, some real care and authenticity to your work and you’ll develop an effective style of Circle Keeping. That blends to provide Circle intuition.
A few knowledge pieces:
- It is good to know, the four stages of Circle. How to move between the four, and what the philosophical rational is behind each stage.
- Members in Circle reflect your relationship. Build connections as soon as you can with those in Circle. This can happen in pre-conference (preparation meetings) or as you engage people coming to the session.
- Each Circle has something to offer you as a lesson. The Circle is the power, and in that the wisdom. Create safety, and people will share.
A bit about passion:
- Being passionate, is bringing your special relationship to Circle/Restorative Justice. Don’t leave what you find of value about Circles or your own values outside the Circle.
- People respond to genuine and authentic individuals, own your passion, and allow others the freedom and space to own theirs. I was working with an experienced group, I shared that I told a reporter I was a Circle-freak, some else shared being a Circle-addict. I’ve heard Circle-hog, as an apology for always suggesting Circle.
- Nothing substitutes for experience. You can read about riding a bike, or swimming, nothing like the experience. It is not just the experience of keeping, the experience of participating in Circle. Find places to be in Circle.
- Watch keepers, develop outlines, find a mentor, ask questions about the style and use of questions and techniques. An experienced facilitator will make decisions and guide a process for a reason.
- Create your own experiences if needed. I had a teen Circle for my daughter and few others, that was enough to give me two extra experiences a month. For a short time, I hosted ‘New Moon’ Circles, to give space to talk about values. Use a Circle demonstration when going to give an explanation of Restorative Justice.
Intuition is developed when you become more natural. Intuition is the deep inner knowing. Restorative Justice Circle intuition allows a keeper to move confidently. Consider the experience of each and every person in Circle. Seek to balance the needs of each person. When someone is sharing, observe how that is changing or impacting the emotional climate in the room.
When keepong, you have a general sense and an idea of where the Circle will go, you don’t control the outcomes for each individual. This balance requires an intuition about Circles. The more you develop knowledge, passion, experience and intuition, the more you will be invited to keep and the deeper and more effective the Circles will be.