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The Person of The Facilitator in a Restorative Justice Conference – what are we are trying to achieve and what of ourselves do we bring?

Jenner, Kerry
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.

There is a lot written and spoken about the process of running restorative conferences. However there are some thinkings that rarely gets spoken. Some of these things concern the person of the facilitator and what it is that (s)he brings of her/himself that contibutes to the desired outcome. Those of us who are engaged in this work know that there is input in the style of questioning, the manner, tone and demeanor of the facilitator – but is there more? How does the life lived and therefore beliefs and values we hold impact on our work? Can we ethically adhere to any discourse that involves the idea that we are disinterested and in no way involved in the process other than as a tool? This paper begins a discussion about what it is that may be unspoken about such issues as a)the thoughts and feelings experienced by a facilitator and b) the motivation a facilitator may have for being involved in this work.It also looks briefly at experiences and feelings of success and what it is that might have enabled this to have occurred, given that there are multiple discourses of success and mulitple discourses about the way these may manifest.This paper touches on ethical and moral aspects of the work of the facilitator in a field where process can be read verbatim from a text or even learned.Given that this discussion has grown from a context of restorative conferencing in schools, the question of investigation (or not) of these issues begs to be asked in the light of wider discussion about student engagement in education and behaviour management. What is it that we are really doing in the running of restorative conferences and how are we doing this, given that not one of us is a clean slate?! Abstract courtesy of the Centre for Justice and Peace Development, Massey University,


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