The Pulse Check as a Community Diagnostic (Pt.1)
Just like any credible doctor would diagnose a patient before prescribing a course of treatment, an experienced restorative practices practitioner must assess a situation to know what they are dealing with before taking any course of action that will inevitably impact the school.
A “Pulse Check” is the perfect way to diagnose the community functioning within a team, organization, or group. The Pulse Check is a practice on the Restorative Practices Continuum that helps build connections and navigate challenges. It is both proactive and semi-formal based on the frequency of use and intensity of application. More cogently, it is a time to “stop the action” and “check in” with the community to see how things are going with its members, particularly, if there’s a sense that something is brewing that could adversely impact the community.
Recently, I was moved by an exchange between two very dedicated educators during a Pulse Check. One teacher lamented, “How do I say no hugs to a 5-year-old who just wants to physically connect with their teacher?” She has spent her entire 20-year career as a kindergarten teacher.
“It’s hard,” said her colleague.
“Not for me,” quickly quipped a teacher standing next to her.
“It’s not a struggle for you, is it?” I inquired.
“Nope,” she resolutely said.
The others in the group shook their heads either in agreement with her or appeared to reflect upon it. I knew then that we were moving in the right direction.
As a trained RP Practitioner, it’s not about taking sides; it’s about creating a brave space within which educators can reflect on how they have managed moments of shame. Their frank, authentic dialogue within a psychologically safe environment bodes well for making the community stronger. This is an example of the Affect Script Psychology’s (ASP) Central Blueprint operating in real-time. That is, the how and why of caring.
According to Silvan Tomkins, psychologist and personality theorist who developed both affect theory and script theory, the primary motivation of all human behavior is directed by the four rules of the Blueprint. They are as follows:
1) Maximize positive affect
2) Minimize negative affect
3) Maximize the inhibition of affect, and
4) Maximize the power to maximize positive affect, minimize negative affect, and minimize the inhibition of affect.
Over to the next two blogs, I will share with you how this Central Blueprint can be operationalized within the application of the extended Pulse Check.