The Relationship SCALE

relationship-scale-imageBest of luck with the new term! It’s been a while since my last post but I have been working on my Connect RP book, with my friend & colleague Claire Matthews, and we are hoping to bring it to publication this year. The intention is to launch it at our RP Education conference in Maynooth University (currently aimed for the end of March 2017 – more details of book & RP conference to follow).

Here is a very short extract that I thought may serve you for the new year:

The Relationship SCALE (Smile, Connect, Ask, Listen, Engage) is a helpful frame to remind us to scaffold; mindfully invest in and actively create positive interactions. It represents simple but powerful intentions and tools to consciously build flourishing relationships, so that we are not just leaving them to chance. Maureen Gaffney’s research outlines that, due to the stickability and long lasting nature of the negative, an average relationship needs a ratio of 3:1 positive to negative interactions; a flourishing one that we hope to foster needs 5:1. Check out Maureen Gaffney’s TED for her reflections on how powerful our inner dialogue can be and how important it is to focus on the positive. The Relationship SCALE helps us to facilitate this and reminds us to tap into this internal power to positively influence relationships; to be proactive, to focus on and create what we want. It reminds us of the action required to follow through on what we already know, that relationships are at the heart of teaching and learning.

How proactive are you with the Relationship SCALE? How proactive do you want to be?

Rating 1-10

10 ☺ – 1 ☹

In my everyday life…



When I’m in challenging situations…


Examples …

Smile I am conscious to smile & make eye contact with my students as they enter my room When things have broken down with my students, I seek opportunities to smile again. I try to adopt a ‘catch ‘em when they’re good’ lens.
CONNECT I focus on creating love and belonging – Maslow before Bloom! I avoid blame and look at harm instead to deliberately seek empathy & understanding.
Ask I regularly use check-ins/ create opportunities to ask about other people’s lives I ask:

Why? What happened?

What’s the most generous assumption I can make?

Listen I am aware of how much I share versus how much I listen I listen to understand, I can be silent/ present for others
Engage I invite suggestions and involve others in our interactions I ask others if they have ideas about how we can solve a problem/ I seek to involve others in solutions


Here are some of my Top Tips for maximising your numbers:


When using the Relationship SCALE, the intention is always to turn towards one another, to CONNECT, to move towards love instead of fear when faced with challenge as ‘Love,’ by Ukrainian sculptor Alexander Milov at Burning Man illustrates.


If you are interested in training in Restorative Practice check out, there is also a 4 week Connect In course for teachers beginning on Mon 16th January in Dublin West Education Centre. There are still a few places but numbers are limited!


Wishing you all the very best for 2017 and remember as the amazing Rita Pierson tells us in her TED talk Every Kid Needs a Champion

Rita Pierson 2.jpg



About mstowerp

I am a teacher and restorative practice practitioner, trainer and consultant. I am currently on career break but have been an active champion and coordinator of Restorative Practice (RP) in my school since 2010. Since that time I have become an accredited trainer and also completed a thesis in RP for my Masters in Education. This consisted of an action research project that involved working with teachers to initiate, implement and evaluate the use of RP in their classrooms. I am currently working part tim ein Maynooth and many Education Centres training teachers in RP. Contact me if you are interested in finding out information about training or consultancy. I am passionate about creating well-being and happiness in the work place; and particularly interested in re-culturing schools and cultivating a restorative paradigm shift. My intention is to use this forum to share the work we did as a community of teachers with others and to promote RP, well-being and community. Being involved with this work allows me to feel that the life that I am living is the same as the life that wants to live in me. I am grateful for this.
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