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Webinar Transcripts

Writing for Social Change: Using Restorative Writing to Enact Social Change

Presented August 15, 2018

View the webinar

Last updated 9/5/2018

 

Visual: The webinar begins with a PowerPoint title slide in the large central panel. A captioning pod, Q&A pod, and files pod are stacked on the right side.

The slide says “Housekeeping” and the following:

  • Recording
    • Will be available online within 24 hours.
  • Interact
    • Polls, files, and links are interactive.
  • Q&A
    • Now: Use the Q&A box.
    • Later: Send to writingsupport@waldenu.edu or visit our  Live Chat Hours.
  • Help
    • Ask in the Q&A box.
    • Choose “Help” in the upper right-hand corner of the webinar room.

Audio: Beth: Hello everyone and thank you so much for joining us today. My name is Beth Nastachowski, I’m going to be facilitating the session today. And, I’m just going to get us started by going over a couple of quick housekeeping notes, here.

A couple of things. The first is that we are recording the webinar. I will be posting this recording if you’d like to come back and review it in our webinar archive in 24 hours. Keep that in mind and you’re more than welcome to come back to this session if you have to leave early or you’d like to review it again.

I’d also like to note that we have lots of interaction for the session today, Ellen and Miranda have put together lots of activities where we will be using chat boxes so please do engage with us in those chat boxes but also note that you can download our slides here. And additionally, a handout in the files pod. That’s at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, that’ll be available throughout the session today, so feel free to download that at any time. And there are also links throughout the slides here to further information you might find is full. So, feel free to click those links when they are hyperlinked through the slides, those will open up on a new tab on your browser and then you can take a look at them now or save them for later as well, so either way works.

We also have a Q&A box on the right side of the screen. I’d like to note here too, I know we have both students and faculty joining us for this session today we’re bringing together many different people from throughout the Walden community and so for faculty I’m not sure how much, sometimes the sessions you have are more chat based we’re going to be using the Q&A box throughout the session today so I just wanted to point that out, it looks a little bit different. But it works in the same way and I’ll be monitoring that Q&A box, so if you have questions or comments throughout the session do let me know.

Additionally, if you have any questions after the session please feel free to reach out to the writing center. I have our email address here writingsupport@waldenu.edu and I’ll be displaying that at the end of the session as well. And then we also have our live chat hours, so feel free to reach out to us.

As I said we have the Q&A box if you have any questions or technical issues throughout the session please use that Q&A box I’m happy to help. And I’ll be posting announcements and other things as well throughout that Q&A box, as well. But you can also use the help box at the top right corner that’s a great place to go for any significant technical issues, as well.

With that Ellen and Miranda, I will hand it over to you.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the title of the webinar, “Using Restorative Writing to Enact Social Change” Walden University Writing Center’s Writing for Social Change webinar series. The speakers name and information: Ellen Zamarripa, Writing Instructor & Coordinator of Residency Planning, Walden University Writing Center and Miranda Mattingly, Writing Instructor, Walden University Writing Center.

Audio: Ellen:  Thank you so much Beth. So yes, I would love to welcome everyone to today's webinar. Using restorative Writing to Enact Social Change”. And I’m welcoming as Beth said, staff, faculty and students.  Kind of a unique webinar in that sense.  I’m really excited about that.  My name is Ellen Zamarripa I am a writing instructor in the writing center as well as the coordinator of residency planning.  And I’ll hand it over to you Miranda to introduce yourself.

Miranda:  Thanks, Ellen my name is Miranda Mattingly and I join Ellen and Beth in being super excited to talk to everyone today about restorative writing.  I am a writing instructor in the writing center and I'm going to be walking us through the first part of our webinar.  So, let's go on and get started.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Quick Writing Activity

Think about how you use writing in your daily life.

What different kinds of writing do you use?

Audio: So, to start today, we actually wanted to join in a conversation right off the start and get a little bit of chat going on.  Before we dive right into what restorative writing is, we wanted to have everyone to think about how you use writing in your daily life.  And the question we’re posing to you are: What are the different types or kinds of writing you use daily?  So, if you’d take a moment and put a few quick thoughts in the chat box and that will get us started for today.

[pause as students respond]

Okay awesome, we have so many ideas coming into the chat box already.  I’m seeing some common patterns here that we use.  Writing for emails and social media and texting.  Yes, that is  probably one of our most common daily uses. Although I see that some of you are also mentioning reflective journaling which is going to be a great topic that we’re going to kind of touch on today although a little bit different.  I can also see we've got some creative writers and poetry, this will be an interesting session for you all.  And finally, I'm also noticing in either in writing a paper or perhaps feedback to a paper, right? Because we have both students and faculty, thank you so much, you can feel free to keep eyeing those different types of writing into the chat box and I’m going to kind of move forward into our actual presentation for today.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Learning Objectives

  • Understand the concept of restorative writing and how it developed and why it matters
  • Use restorative writing to link personal feelings with events as a way to promote wellness and self-care
  • Use restorative writing to reflect on how you can make change within your community
  • Explore next steps for using restorative writing to influence social change in your community  

Audio: The reason we ask that question is because restorative writing is a type of writing but it may be something that is new or different to you, today.  And that’s kind of our objective, is to one, start off with understanding what the concept of restorative writing is and how it developed or even why it matters.  Now we’re going to provide some information on that today but the other thing that we’re going to do today is we’re actually going to have several restorative writing activities in our session today.  These kind of speak to our two second and third bullet points which is that we’re going to use restorative writing to link personal feelings two events as a way to promote wellness and self-care.  And we’re also going to use restorative writing today to reflect on how you can make a change on your community.

So those two aspects are our objectives, really speak to the activity portion of today and then finally what we will be doing, is we will be touching on some next steps for how you can use restorative writing to influence social change.  And that is really related to the handout that Beth mentioned at the top of the session that Ellen will be touching on at the final part of the session.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: What is Restorative Writing?

“when writing becomes a vehicle for transforming one’s pain into engagement” (Batzer, 2016)

Audio: So those are our objectives. To start us off today, since restorative writing can be a somewhat new topic or perhaps you are not familiar, we want to start with a definition itself.  Restorative writing in the research does not always have a precise definition, and you’re going to see that later on, when we explain how restorative writing develops.  But one thing in the literature we found that was useful was the definition we put here.  Restorative writing refers to when writing becomes a vehicle for transforming one's pain into engagement.

Now, we pulled this particular quote because it does a nice job of setting the context for when restorative writing applies.  Restorative writing really can apply to when you’re trying to deal with a difficult event, perhaps one that is filled with conflict or even can be traumatic, but it’s a way to work through that process and hopefully get to the sense of engagement understanding, healing and potentially even social change.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: What is the Goal of Restorative Writing?

  • Trauma’s Impact
    • Defined as “any event in which one is forced to respond to ‘the extremities of helplessness and terror’” (Herman, 1997, p. 33).
    • Trauma’s potency “derives from how our brains process and sustain” painful episodes (Batzer, 2016, para. 4).
  • Trauma Recovery
  • Herman (1997) noted trauma recovery occurs when victims:
    • Feel empowered again
    • Remember the trauma and describe it
    • Regain a sense normalcy and reconnect with community
  • Goal of Restorative Writing
    • Healing
    • Understanding
    • Self Care
    • Empathy
    • Engagement

Audio: So, we want to offer that particular definition because restorative writing is a concept of writing that’s rooted in understanding trauma.  Now, this can seem like a surprising connection here for writing, and today Ellen and I are by no means are trying to position ourselves an expert in trauma, but what we did want to do is momentarily apply the context for how restorative writing can be applied and established its connection to restorative writing's overall goal.  So that’s what we are kind of doing here, in this particular slide.

Let's dive in to what trauma is.  We are starting off with the definition and since Ellen and I are not experts in trauma we are really relying on the scholarship here.  We're using Herman, as our definition who defines trauma as, any event in which one is forced to respond to the extremities of helplessness or terror.  We’re referring here to events that can be traumatic, difficult to process, may take time to understand, heal and recovery from.  In that sense we’re really talking about traumas potency, something that derives from how our brain sustains a painful event over time.  It may not be something you can readily understanding and what we are looking at and our goal today is to explore how writing can help in that process.

Now, another aspect of trauma that we want to touch on is recovery.  And while we are not experts in recovery, it’s a rather complex topic but we wanted to highlight a few steps or details that impact trauma recovery in order to draw this parallel to restorative writing's goals.  In that regard, Herman notes that trauma recovery occurs when victims feel empowered again, they can have control back over the experience that they’ve, they can remember the trauma and describe it maybe in writing on a personal level.  But then also gaining a sense of normalcy over that event, your own way of life and finding connections with the community.

Now overall, these parallel quite nicely with the goals of restorative writing that we’re going to talk in more great detail about today, about. Those goals are about healing, understanding, processing information and also getting to a sense of self-care.  We also added empathy and engagement here, because restorative writing as we’ll talk today, can be used for the self but it can also be used to engage with your community.  So, that empathy is understanding how others have engaged with trauma or experienced a similar trauma or even engage in the community to promote change around the particular event.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Why Does Restorative Writing Matter? 

Given the conflict and violence we see and experience in our daily lives, Restorative Writing offers a way to:

  • Process
  • Understand and Heal
  • Express a Point of View Without Judgment
  • Build Stronger Communities
  • Enact Social Change

Audio: Let's dive deeper into why restorative writing matters.  Now in our daily lives, we see a lot of conflict and violence, whether it is a wildfire in California, whether it is a hurricane in Puerto Rico or whether it is a shooting that we see on TV.  As a result of that, it can be difficult to process that information.  Our goal today is to talk about how restorative writing can help you on a self and also your community to process that information.  To understand it and heal from it and then also move to a point where you can express your point of view.  And this one’s going to be really important for us today, we’re going to work on activities about expressing your point of view but in a space that’s without judgment.  We are not going to be grading or commenting on the writing today which I know can often be what the writing center does.  You come to us, you want to hear about APA, but that’s actually not our goal today.  This is the webinar based on social change.

So, in that regard once we talk through how restorative writing can be used to process information, understand and express were also going to talk about how restorative writing can be used to build stronger communities and to ultimately enact social change.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: What You Can Gain From Restorative Writing?

  • Ability to process difficult, even traumatic events and express your own thoughts, perspectives, and feelings through writing (Knieling, 2016)
  • Gain an enhanced understanding of the root causes of conflict and violence (Duckworth, Allen, & Williams, 2012)
  • Gain increased empathy for others (Duckworth et al., 2012)
  • Learn to think systemically about local, community, and global problems (Duckworth et al., 2012)
  • Learn ways to increase cross-cultural communication (Duckworth et al., 2012)
  • Discover new ways to enact social change and community building

Audio: So, one more aspect of restorative writing that I want to touch on and then we’re going to have a quick chat, I do believe. Is we are going to highlight a few things you can gain from restorative writing.  It is going into more detail from the previous slide.  In fact, we had so many things you could gain we felt a little limited here in this box. It was already filled with a lot of information. Let's walk through a few of them. 

One of the things you can gain from restorative writing is the ability, and this is one we’ve been talking about a lot, to process difficult or even a traumatic event and express your own thoughts and perspectives and feelings through writing. In essence we are really talking about restorative writing for the self. It can give you an enhanced sense and understanding of the root causes of conflict and violence. This might be understanding the policy, the lack of communication, the lack of funding, something that produce the conflict, or it might be related to how you feel about the conflict that has occurred in some way.  It’s kind of using writing as a way to understand the cause itself, the violence or the conflict. 

As we mentioned before, restorative writing can also increase empathy for others, in this case we’re often talking about understanding how different people experience trauma.  Sometimes that can be a matter of finding connections but other times it is about having different perspectives of the same event.

Restorative writing can also be a way to think systematically about local community or global problems.  So, we’re building outward from restorative writing of the self onto how it can impact your community, looking at those larger problems, policies that can create larger systematic problems. In this process, restorative writing can also increase your ability to have cross-cultural communication or conversations with others.  And in this case, we’re moving closer and closer to enacting social change and building community in the process of restorative writing. Now I gave you so much information here.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat

  • Have you ever engaged with restorative writing?
  • Or is the concept new to you?

Audio: So, we wanted to pause for a moment and ask everyone whether or not you have ever engaged in restorative writing before.  It maybe that you’ve engaged with it, it’s just been under a different name or if it is in an entirely new concept.  And it is okay if it is an entirely new concept.  I’m going to pause for a minute and see if, what everyone's reactions are.

[pause as students participants comment]

Okay we have several comments coming in.  And it sounds like we are actually getting somewhat of a 50-50 split.  I feel like every time I see it’s new to me, somebody else is saying that yes, I’ve engaged with it. Whether they journal daily or they’ve taken a class on it, which sounds amazing, I’d love to hear about that.

Also, it comes in different forms whether it’s journal and advocacy class, and that’s really something we're going to talk about later in the session, but it is okay too if it is completely new to you.  We actually going to do a bit of background information to get you acclimated to this concept before we dive in.  So, feel free to keep adding those ideas into the chat box.  And we’re going to keep moving on because I want to make sure we have plenty of time for the actual activities.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Background: How did Restorative Writing Develop?

  • Restorative Justice and Peace Education
  • Restorative English Education
  • Restorative Writing

Audio: So, before we move into the writing activity portion of this webinar, we did want to give some background on how restorative writing develops.  And as I mentioned at the top of this webinar, restorative writing builds on a longer history of writing as being a therapeutic way of understanding.  And I think this is what several people were saying in the chat box, they've either use journaling or they’ve been in and advocacy class of some kind, and as a result they have always done it. As a field or as a concept, it is still emerging.  We want to talk through the different places we have seen it in the scholarship to give us a little bit of a grounding of what it is.  In order to talk about it we will look momentarily at restorative justice and peace education, which aren’t exactly the same thing, but they have common goals and objectives and then we’re going to look at how the ideas from these two fields shift into restorative English education and eventually emerge into restorative writing.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Restorative Justice & Peace Education: Definitions

  • Restorative Justice
    • -  An approach to crime that focused on repairing harm and giving a voice to victims
    • - Restorative justice “assumes that justice can and should promote healing, both individual and societal” (Zehr, as cited in Winn, 2013, p. 70)
  • Peace Education
    • - Encourages students to investigate violence’s root causes in society and discover definitions of justice that spark social transformation (Duckworth et al., 2012)
    • - Empowers students to create “a more peaceful, just future for their communities” (Duckworth, 2011, p. 237)

Audio: Let's dive in.  So, I’m starting here with restorative justice and peace education.  And again, these two are separate fields but our goal here is to demonstrate how they have common objectives in some way in terms of the effect that they’re intending to have.  So, if I start with restorative justice, restorative justice may be a slightly more familiar concept to you.  It was kind of a buzz word, I think in the recent years. But it is also is a field really coming out of criminal justice.  So, you can see here is a definition we are using, is an approach to crime that focus on repairing harm and giving voice to victims. 

I always give the example when talking about restorative justice of if a student were to per se graffiti the side of a building.  Instead of immediately punishing the student, perhaps suspending them of some kind, restorative justice would probably have the student sit down with stakeholders affected by it and have a conversation about why that action or why that behavior occurred. They might have the victims talk about how that action had an impact on them.  And then they would talk about ways to restore from it and create a new sense of justice or remedy from that process. 

So, this is a different approach that comes largely again out of criminal justice and you’ll see that the goal here is to think through justice and how it can promote healing both for the individual and society.  And then we've mentioned this before that restorative writing is always kind of working with the individual but also looking for those outward connections.

Now, we want to build a parallel here to peace education as well.  Peace education is coming largely from international studies.  Restorative writing coming out of criminal justice, peace education largely out of international studies.  You’ll see that they have a connection. And the goal is to encourage students to investigate violence's root causes in society, so again looking at if there’s a policy in place, miscommunication and misunderstanding how people interact in some that can cause violence.   But then ultimately having students think through different ways that you could approach the problem and come up with new definitions that can create social transformation in this way.

In this regard its really about empowering students to create a more peaceful or just future for the community.  And this is where I feel like there is a lot of similarities here between restorative justice and peace education, but also ultimately restorative writing.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Background: Shift to Restorative English Education

  • Restorative English Education
    • Joins restorative justice with critical pedagogy and communication
    • Restores classrooms to peacemaking spaces where students learn to empathize and to build healthy relationships with themselves and each other
    • Uses literate acts to inspire “radical healing” and ways of becoming an agent for change

What we wanted to do is demonstrate how those two concepts coming from the scholarship kind of merge and shift into restorative English education.  Now restorative English education is taking restorative justice and essentially placing it in the classroom.  It’s placing it in connection with a full critical pedagogy and communication.  It also positions classrooms as a peacemaking space, a place where students can learn to empathize with others who have experienced similar conflicts, understanding their point of view of the same event but also building healthy relationships with them, building a sense of communication to understand how you can build, as it said in the previous slide, a just or more peaceful future.

What’s interesting about restorative English education, English comes in there a little bit but you also see in the third bullet that it uses literacy or literate acts to inspire radical healing or way of becoming social change.  You’ll start to see writing introduced into the process. It may be a form of journaling it could be writing a paper or an essay on the topic. Restorative English education can produce poetry, spoken word art, it can be a play of some kind of.  There's different ways you can engage with this process.  Our objective is to talk about it, how it can apply to our own practice, so we wanted to kind of shift into the development of restorative writing for social change.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Background: Development of Restorative Writing

Builds on writing’s history as a means of healing and empowerment

  • Restorative Justice
  • Peace Education
  • Restorative English Education
  • Applications Beyond the Classroom: Self and Community

Audio: As we’ve mentioned throughout this webinar, writing has a long history as a means of healing and empowerment.  The reason we introduce peace education and justice and restorative English education is because they build on those same principles.  However, the idea of restorative writing is not exclusive to the classroom.  We really want to talk about it today in terms of how it applies and can be used for yourself and for your community.  And that’s really our objective today.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: What Can Restorative Writing Look Like?

  • Journaling
  • Affirmations
  • Action Plans
  • Blogging
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Social Media
  • Discussion post
  • Word Association
  • Free-Writing
  • Reflection Essays
  • Personal narratives
  • Circle Dialogues

Audio: So, what does that look like? Some of you have already thrown out several of these ideas about what restorative writing can look like and it sounds like several of you are already doing them. So, I’ll pick a few that it sounds like people are doing, which in terms, we had ideas about mentioning journaling, probably discussion posts and classes are quite common.  Maybe doing some free writing or reflective essay or personal narrative, these can be forms of restorative writing.  We also highlight things like doing affirmations statements, whether for your health or your community that you do together to respond to an event.  It might be creating an action plan or response plan for yourself or community in response to an event.  Or even taking ideas that you've learned from your journaling, your reflective essay, and turning them into a blog, a letter to an editor, a social mediate of some kind to promote advocacy around that particular event.

So, ask you can see restorative writing can look like a lot of things and were going to actually practice some of these today, although we will not get to all of them which is why we have a hand out for you at the end of today's session.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Why Does Restorative Writing Work

  • Is a non-threatening starting point into a problem or project
  • Expressing your point of view can be confusing, scary, and difficult
  • Allows for the discovery of your authentic voice
  • Helps to find commonalities in challenging situations

Audio: Before we get into the actual writing activity we want to highlight white restorative writing actually works.  One way to think about it is that restorative writing offers you a non-threatening, starting point into a problem. No one is there to judge you in the beginning of the writing process.  It is a way to get the ideas out on the page so you can understand process and move into the space of both healing, engagement and recovery. Restorative writing also helps to express your point of view that can be at first confusing or scary, but it allows you the opportunity to come to a place where you can discover your own authentic voice about that particular event.  The authentic voice might be initially just regaining a sense of normalcy over a particular event at first, however over time it might lead you to engage your community to promote advocacy around it and that may be a good discovery of authentic voice over time.  It can also help you to find the commonalities and challenging events with others, as well.

So, we are kind of moving always from that self to the community.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: How Does Restorative Writing Work?

  • Connect personal feelings and events
  • Answer the questions:
    • What happened? (DeSalvo, 2000)
    • How do you feel about it? (DeSalvo, 2000)
  • Use the writing you do to help you reflect and process
  • Focus on the goals:
    • Healing
    • Wellness
    • Self Care
    • Empathy
    • Gain an enhanced understanding of the root causes of conflict and violence (Duckworth, 2012)

Audio: Before we dive into our activities for today, we wanted to highlight essentially, how it works or how we are going to be approaching it today.  When we talk about restorative writing we are talking about how to connect your personal feelings to an event that perhaps has been traumatic or difficult or filled with conflict of some kind.  As you are trying to connect those feelings, you're often asking yourself the larger questions about what happened and how do you feel about it.  When you engage with those questions, it allows you to use writing to reflect on and process the event itself in order to achieve these larger goals that restorative writing offers you in terms of healing, wellness and self-care that can be useful to yourself but also to the community, but then gain those other elements about empathy with others, gaining enhanced understanding of conflict with your community.  In our goal today is really to talk about social change as well.

So, I’ve given you a whole lot of information and I’m looking forward to the activity in the next session that Ellen will lead us through.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Restorative Writing in This Webinar: What to Expect

We’ll provide:

  • Prompting questions that encourage you to link events with feelings
  • Guide you through prompts that encourage you to consider how restorative writing can help you enact social change 
  • Zero judgment

You’re welcome to:

  • Respond to the provided questions in writing (this is writing for you)
  • Reflect on your restorative writing process (and post your reflection in the chatbox, if you want)
  • Process, reflect, empathize

Audio: Ellen:  Thanks, so much Miranda, great. Like Miranda said, we are going to jump into some activities where we’re actually applying this concept of restorative writing.  And so, I want to give you an idea of what we will provide and what you are welcome to do.  On the part of Miranda and I, and Beth as our facilitator, we're going to provide you with some prompting questions that I encourage you to practice this formula for restorative writing which is linking events with your feelings about those events.

And we’re going to guide you through these prompts and continue encouragement about how we can apply restorative writing to enact social change.  And you’ll see we have a progression planned for you, we start with the self, build to the community, and then think about how to apply these concepts from community to enact social change. 

Lastly, we’ll be providing zero judgment.  What I mean by that is exactly what Miranda said a little bit earlier in this presentation. You might think of Miranda and I in the capacity of the writing center.  We are writing instructors and a huge part of our jobs is to review student writing.  So, in this case, this is not going to be our role.  The objective of this webinar isn’t to judge the quality of your writing.  And in return, you also don’t need to focus on things like scholarly writing rules or APA rules.  This writing is essentially for you, for starting at the self and we’ll work up.

We welcome you to do two things.  We have a two-part series three times.  We have these restorative writing prompts to which we encourage you to respond to in writing.  Again, this writing is for you but then we have an opportunity for you to reflect on your restorative writing process and this is an opportunity for you to post your reflection in the chat box, but only if you want.  That is completely optional to you. And of course, we encourage you to think about the foundational goals of restorative writing as we walk through these activities.  So, processing, reflecting and empathizing.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Just a Reminder…

  • This writing is for YOU. You are under no obligation to share what you write.

Audio: I think I reiterate this were Miranda and I need to several times throughout the webinar, but I think it is important to reiterate that this writing is for you.  You are under no obligation to share anything that you write today, and we have a little bit of information at the end with encouragement for how to share your writing, if that is the next step you would like to take toward social change.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Restorative Writing Starts with…

  • The Self

Audio: Like I said, we are building up and starting with the self.  Restorative writing really starts with you. 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Restorative Writing for the Self

  • What event have you experienced that has impacted you?
    • A traumatic event
    • An event that included conflict
    • A event with you and one other person
    • A community event
    • A nationwide event 
    • A worldwide event
  • How do you feel about what happened?
    • Try not to worry about things like grammar, spelling, and correct punctuation
    • Write what you feel, and write the way you want to write
    • 3 minutes of writing

Audio: We have two short prompts here where you are going to practice linking an event to linking how you feel or felt about that event.  So, our first question is, what event have you experienced that has impacted you?  This could be on quite a spectrum.

It could be an event that is personal between you and one other person.  And it could range to a worldwide event that influenced you or impacted you in some way.  Once you have that event in your head and maybe it’s the first thing that comes to mind – one you have that event in your head, you're going to think about, how do you feel about what happened?  How do you feel about that event?

Again, when you're thinking about this and writing about it, try not to worry about little things, try not to worry about the grammar, spelling or punctuation.  That’s not again the goal of this type of webinar. We want you to write what you feel and write the way that you want to write and that might not necessarily mirror scholarly writing rules or APA.  That is okay, this is the start.  This is the self.  So, get your event in mind and then write about how you feel about what happened.  We’re going to take three minutes to complete this restorative writing activity.  I have a timer next to me and I will give you one 30 second warning when we are about to finished.  And if you are not done that is totally okay. This is something you can continue writing about on your own. So, I’m going to go on mute and we’re going to take three minutes to write about an event, and how you feel about what happened.

[Participants working on activity]

This is your 30 second warning, as promised.

[Participants working on activity]

All right that is the three-minute marker so over those three minutes you probably wrote about a lot of different things, which is awesome.  I feel like three minutes always seems like forever and then it's over, maybe you have that same experience. But we can go then to the next slide where we are going to check in. 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Check In

  • What did you learn about yourself through this restorative writing process?
  • Reflect and write (2 minutes)
  • You may choose to post in the chat box or not for any reason

Audio: Let us check in and reflect and write about that restorative writing process.  And what we’d like you to think about is, what did you learn about yourself?  We are starting with yourself and building from there.  What did you learn about yourself through this restorative writing process?  We’re going to reflect and write for two minutes. And I’ll set the timer for myself.  Here is where you are welcome to share in the chat box about your experience.

[Participants working on activity]

This is your 30 second warning.

[Participants working on activity]

Alright, that’s the two-minute mark.  As I’m reading your responses I genuinely feel very touched by your choice to be so vulnerable with what you are sharing and your honesty.  This is very inspiring to me, and I don’t mean to sound inauthentic because I really am inspired by this, this is eye opening.  Thank you for so much for sharing, this is really great and I am seeing some consistencies throughout responses and things I did not even expect.  And I love this and I hope you are learning from a too. 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Restorative Writing Can Grow to Involve…

  • The Community
  • The Self

Audio: Great.  So, let's move on with building, we thought about the self, we engaged in restorative writing for the self, let's build on that, let’s think about how restorative writing can grow to involve our community. 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Restorative Writing for Your Community

What three words best describe your community? (1 minute)

Community can mean different things to different people:

  • Neighborhood community
  • Work community
  • Religious community
  • Communities of people with something in common

Audio: I would like to start with a quick chat, what three words best describe your community?  And feel free to post in the chat box if you like, but community of course can mean different things to different people. It can be a neighborhood community like a neighborhood watch or a school board community or parent counsel.  Perhaps it’s a work community of your colleagues or religious community.  Many people are part of communities where you are planning something, where you have a common goal or just something in common.  So, think about what three words best describe the community you’d like to focus on for two days restorative writing practices.   let's take about one minute to think about that and post in the chat box, if you would like.

[Participants working on activity]

Thank you so much for sharing I can tell that everyone, some people are talking about maybe similar communities and some completely different.  I love that.  There is such a diverse range of answers here which is really interesting.  And it is eye-opening as we go through this process.  Thank you so much for sharing. 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Restorative Writing for Your Community

  • What kinds of issues or conflicts do you think your community is facing?
    • People
    • Monetary
    • Resources
    • Other
  • How do you feel about those issues or conflicts?
    • Write what you feel, and write the way you want to write
    • 3 minutes of writing

Audio: Let's move on to our restorative writing prompt to help us think about how restorative writing can be applied to our community. You will see a pattern, we are applying that same formula of restorative writing to these prompts.  So what kind of issues or conflicts do you think your community is facing?  This is relating to that event, identifying an event but particularly focusing on an issue or conflict your community is facing. 

This could be a conflict with people, perhaps it’s a money or resources issue or something outside the box that is particular to your community.  What kind of issues or conflicts do you think your community is facing?  And then apply your feelings about those issues or conflicts to this event.  How do you feel about those issues or conflicts?  And again, you are so encouraged to write what you feel and write the way that you want. I noticed that someone in the checkbox earlier said that their grammar and punctuation was terrible, and that is completely, completely okay.  And perhaps even a good thing because it shows that you are writing exactly what you feel in the way that you wanted to write which is what restorative writing involves at this stage.

We’re going to take another three minutes to reflect on these two questions.  What issues or conflicts you think your community is facing?  And how do you feel about those issues or conflicts?  I will provide you with 30 second warning.

[Participants working on activity]

We will take 30 more seconds to complete this activity.

[Participants working on activity]

Thank you so much for participating in the second restorative writing activity. 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Check In

  • What did you learn about your community through this restorative writing process?
  • Reflect and write (2 minutes)
  • You may choose to post in the chat box or not for any reason

Audio: We now have another opportunity to check in, to think about, what did you learn about your community through this restorative writing process?  So, we thought about ourselves in the previous check in.  Now let’s think about, what we learn about our communities through this writing process?  Sue can reflect and write and post in the chat box if you would like.  You are under no obligation to do so.  We will take about two minutes to reflect on what you learned about your community through this restorative writing process.

[Participants working on activity]

We will take about 30 more seconds to complete this activity.

[Participants working on activity]

Thank you so much for thinking and reflecting and writing about what you learned about your community through this process. I am again amazed at these responses, I’m seeing threads of hope, of diversity, of love and of reliving pain, and I think that, that is very human. It looks like we are all reflecting and learning things from that reflection which is wonderful.  Thank you so much.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Restorative Writing Can Lead to…

  • Social Change
  • The Community
  • The Self

Audio: Alright, let's build that last block here, as restorative writing can lead to social change.

 

Visual: Slide Changes to the following: How Restorative Writing Can Lead to Social Change

  • What can you do today to help remedy an issue or conflict your community is facing? 
    • 3 minutes of writing 

Audio: We are actually going to jump right into our question so thinking about social change, what can you do today to help remedy an issue or conflict your community is facing?  You've already thought about the issue or conflict, you’ve already thought about the community you want to focus on, so what can you do today to help remedy that issue or conflict?  We will write for three minutes. 

[Participants working on activity]

We will take 30 more seconds to complete this prompt.

[Participants working on activity]

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Check In

  • What did you learn about your role in social change through this restorative writing process?
  • Reflect and write (2 minutes)
  • You may choose to post in the chat box or not for any reason

Audio: We will end there without prompt and new one last check in.  What you can think about here is what did you learn about your role in social change through this restorative writing process?  And here is where you can share, if you would like in the chat box, reflect and write for two minutes, and I will start the timer now.

[Participants working on activity]

We will take 30 more seconds to write and reflect.

[Participants working on activity]

Alright that’s the two-minute mark and see we have responses coming in.  I just have to say again how amazing these responses are.  And if you're thinking about community, of course we are all part of the Walden community, so when thinking about myself as part of this community, I’m very proud. When thinking about these reflections -- I love all these reflections, they are so deep and vulnerable and authentic so thank you so much for those. 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Continue with Conversation

  • This writing was for YOU, but we encourage you to continue the conversation with your family, friends, teachers, and community.

Audio: I will reiterate one more time that the writing that we did today was really for you, but you are encouraged to continue the conversations that you began with yourself today and with your Walden community members today, to share those with family, friends, teachers perhaps your community as well.  People you feel safe with and comfortable with because that is the next step to social change.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Restorative Writing: Other Sample Activities

  • Create an action plan
  • Host local organization events featuring restorative writing:
    • Community Affirmation Statements
    • Circle Dialogues
  • Consider other ways to reach out to community (e.g., social media, blogs, letters to editors)
  • Establish your collaborative labor network

Audio: I would like to talk a little bit about, what do we do from here?  What are some activities you can do to an enact social change that perhaps we talked about today, you have thought about today, you reflected on and wrote about today? 

One thing you can do is to create an action plan.  So instead of asking yourself, what can I do today to end social change or to remedy a conflict?  Ask yourself, what can I do this week?  What about this month?  What about this year?  That’s something you might be prompted to share with your community members.  And think about how you can work together to enact the social change that you create in this plan.

Another thing you can do is host an organizational event that perhaps features restorative writing.  Maybe you provide similar prompts to the ones that we provided today.  Maybe you work on building community affirmation statements. Where you’re thinking about commonalities between you and your other community members. Thinking about how those affirmations speak to the culture and core values of your community. What do you believe? What are your goals? 

Perhaps you enact circle dialogues as part of your community culture. Circle dialogues are essentially the agreement that everyone has a chance to listen and everyone will have the change to speak.  I think that is a really great way to enact a social change on a small level within your community itself.

You might also consider other genres of writing to enact social change. Miranda talked a lot about these earlier in the presentation. Maybe you’re thinking about social media or writing a blog post, letters to the editor, all of these start with writing for the self, and writing for the community. And maybe you want to clean it up a little bit before it’s sent out to other people.  But you always can start with a conversation.

Lastly, we have here perhaps thinking about establishing a collaborative labor network which is simply a list of contacts, or other organizations or resources that can assist you in helping you enact the plan you create for social change. I would like to reiterate that these activities, Miranda and I outlined them in a little bit more detail on the handout which is in the files pod in the lower right-hand corner of your screen – So we very much encourage you to download that.  We also include some more restorative writing prompts within that handout that you might find interesting or helpful.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Other Writing Center and Related Resources

Audio: If you are thinking about social change and you’d like to think about it in different capacities you might consider checking out some of the pod cast, blog post and other webinars that we have in the writing center, that relate to social change. The academic skills center also has a source here, and we have the Social Change at Walden website linked here.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Final Takeaways on Restorative Writing

Try practicing restorative writing (linking feelings with events) on your own as a way to:

  • Reflect
  • Process
  • Heal
  • Engage in self care and wellness
  • Think about how you can help others (social change)
  •  

Audio: So, for final takeaways from this webinar, and thank you so, so much for your participation, this was really great and inspiring -- when you're thinking about linking feelings to events on your own, think about the fact that it is a way to reflect, to process, to heal, it is for the self to start.  But it can lead to engagement and then can lead you to help others, which is really the basis and foundation of social change.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: References

Batzer, B. (2016). Healing classrooms: Therapeutic possibilities in academic writing. Composition Forum, 34. Retrieved from http://compositionforum.com/

DeSalvo, L. A. (2000). Writing as a way of healing: How telling our stories transforms our lives. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Duckworth, C. L., Allen, B., & Williams, T. T. (2012). What do students learn when we teach peace? Journal of Peace Education, 9(1), 81-99. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17400201.2012.664548

Duckworth, C. (2011). Restorative classrooms: Critical peace education in a juvenile detention home. Peace and Conflict Studies Journal, 18(2), 234-262. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/pcs/

Herman, J. L. (1997). Trauma and recovery. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Knieling, M. (2016, Aug 30). Writing through conflict: Restorative practices in an ELA classroom [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www2.ncte.org/blog/2016/08/writing-conflict-restorative-practices-ela-classroom/

Winn, M. T. (2013). Toward a restorative English education. Research in the Teaching of English, 48, 126-135. Retrieved from http://www2.ncte.org/resources/journals/research-in-the-teaching-of-english/

Audio: Miranda and I included our references here that we referenced throughout the presentation, those are also included on the handout. 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions: Ask Now or Later

writingsupport@waldenu.edu •  Live Chat Hours

Learn More:

“Writing for Social Change: Exploring Perspectives”

Audio: And that is the conclusion of our webinar today.  Did you have closing comments, Beth?

Beth:  Yes, thank you so much Ellen, I guess what I would say since we are at time, thank you both to Ellen and Miranda, this is been a fantastic session and I'm so glad to add this to the repertoire of webinars.  I really appreciate everyone's participation for coming and going through the restorative writing prompts and activities with us.  I guess since we are at time I will just say thank you again for everyone coming into Ellen and Miranda.  Do reach out if you want to talk about restorative writing or writing in general or writing for social change, anymore.  As Ellen said, we have other webinars around social change so go ahead and check out those recordings too.  Have a wonderful day.  Thank you so much.