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Advancing the restorative agenda into the classroom

Thorsborne, Margaret
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Paper presented at “New Frontiers in Restorative Justice: Advancing Theory and Practice”, Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University at Albany, New Zealand, 2-5 December.

Restorative conferencing is no longer new to schools. Increasingly in Australia, New Zealand and in other countries, schools, in an attempt to reverse unhealthy statistics of stand-downs, suspensions and exclusions, have adopted the conference to deal with incidents of serious harm. But education professionals know that most of the “action” occurs in classrooms and that school and class “removal” is better viewed as a process not an event (Skiba et al, 2003). This interactive presentation will briefly explore some models for the successful integration of the restorative philosophy into classroom practice. Divided in to three parts, it will allow participants an insight into current thinking and practice which delivers positive outcomes for teachers, students and their classmates in the wake of wrongdoing.

Part 1: School removal and restorative conferencing: This will be a brief overview of the history of restorative conferencing in schools and current research about the risks associated with the overuse of school removal and zero tolerance as disciplinary strategies.

Part 2: Restorative Conferencing in Classrooms: This will, using a case study approach, demonstrate the use of classroom conferencing to deal with a variety of difficult classroom dynamics, where young people are made accountable to each other and their teachers, instead of the traditional practice of removing them for referral to deputies, deans or other disciplinarians. This demonstrates the restorative agenda at work in the busiest place in the school – the classroom.

Part 3: Responding restoratively to classroom disruption in the moment: This is an exploration of the use of a highly successful restorative adaptation of the Responsible Thinking Programme – a process that may include a student’s temporary removal from the classroom. Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University,


AbstractConferencesCourtsFamiliesGuidelinesManualPolicePrisonsProgram DesignRestorative PracticesRJ and Community DisputesRJ and the WorkplaceRJ in SchoolsRJ OfficeStandardsStatutes and LegislationTeachers and StudentsTopic: RJ PracticesVictim Support
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