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Restorative Conversations – Is changing ways of speaking enough to change relationships, discipline systems and school cultures?

Kecskemeti, Maria
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.

Ways of speaking that call for achieving greater control by teachers over students as a response to problems and that require students to be more docile in the management of their behaviours are among the most readily available relationship and behaviour management practices that are used in schools. Though most schools try to foster a climate of inclusion on a policy level, there are many schools that struggle to make their discipline and behaviour management system work.

In this paper I propose that ideas from positioning theory have potential for supporting the development of restorative behaviour management practices. I argue that such ideas should first be applied to the many daily conversations that teachers and students have with each other. I will show, through excerpts from conversations, how calling on positioning theory could produce ways of speaking that are restorative of relationships. I suggest that such ways of speaking can not only enrich the repertoire of restorative practices but they can form the basis of behaviour management strategies and discipline systems that are based on respect and foster a culture of inclusion. Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University,


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