My English Language Learners have always been so quiet and self conscious to speak. No matter what I tried, I felt like they would not open up or share their ideas to the whole class. When I joined RPIA, I decided to focus on student voice and bring restorative practices to my classroom to help get my students talking.
I reflected a lot with my RPIA Cohort Members about why they might be so quiet and how I could get them to open up. Little did I know that, with all of the strategies I had planned, the one that had the most immediate impact was sitting down with them while I was teaching. I did not realize until being in RPIA that I was always standing up while teaching them rather than learning alongside them, and that this simple change in my teaching could restore their sense of equality and voice.
As soon as I sat with them like an equal classroom community member to teach content, they started opening up and sharing more than I have ever heard them share before, even trying out new English words and phrases for the first time! While I am now bringing in more restorative practices to keep this positive impact growing, I had no idea how transformative it would be to sit down next to my students while I teach them. Now they are open to so much more and using their voices!