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Restorative Practice in schools

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by RaymondSoltysek, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    It is very, very much more complicated than that, Tanny. RP works better in some cases, but "traditional" behaviour management systems work best in others.
    There is a tendency for schools to throw their lot in with one system at the expense of others: for instance, a school become WHOLLY positive assertive discipline or WHOLLY RP: I believe that is a mistake.
    In my opinion, limit setting - if it is done right - works exceptionally well in establishing boundaries, and getting the majority of children to behave most of the time. RP - if it is done right - works exceptionally well with the more difficult of children and more intractable problems. This is echoed in the criminal justice system where RP originated: the most serious offenders were less likely to re-offend after a process of RP than those who hadn't.
    I work with PGDE students, and I have trained a few ex-police officers who are totally convinced by Restorative Justice having been involved in it a lot in their respective forces. However, they are skeptical about how it is interpreted by some schools and put into place.
  2. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    RP actually MUST rest on the foundations of a "traditional" sanctions system. After all, if rules aren't there to be broken, what is to be "restored".
    In the criminal justice system, criminals are punished - and THEN access RP. It's never a case of "RP or punishment" - it's always "RP and punishment".
    However, that's not to say I'm big on punishment - I'm certainly not and if there are better ways of doing it, we should try them. However, unlike others, I do not believe that sanctions and RP are mutually exclusive: I actually believe they depend on each other.
    That's because RP is about repairing the damage done. It's a no blame strategy - but it's a strategy to be used after damage has been done and acknowledged. The "victim" - the classroom, the teacher, the school ethos - should be every bit as important as the "perpetrator". Indeed, the perpetrator accepting the need for punishment may be part of the restorative process.

  3. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    I agree with Nick. RP is one strategy among many; it's a tool with a specific utility. In my experience it can be easily and disastrously misinterpreted as a universal lock pick when it should be seen as one of those blades on a Swiss Knife you use for getting stones out of horses' hooves, i.e. very context specific, and not terribly practical for taking the cap from a bottle of Heineken.
    Some schools erroneously use it as a blanket policy, trying to solve every problem and misbehaviour with it, which is quite wrong, because very few situations are amenable to this kind of reparation. If someone spanners me in the High Street, I don't just want an apology and a 'Blimey, I can see how much I distressed you- can we shake on it, chief?' But just as importantly is the idea that breaking rules leads to an unpleasant consequence in order to deter future recidivism. Part of the sanction process is to habituate children into more appropriate patterns of behaviour. We may not like applying sanctions (in fact, I think it's preferable that we don't enjoy it) but we do so because it serves a process of social utility.
    In most circumstances, IMO, RP simply doesn't provide this kind of process, and instead victimises the victim further, and emphasises in the aggressor's mind that poor behaviour can lead to...nothing much at all.
  4. RaymondSoltysek

    RaymondSoltysek New commenter

    Nick? Have you discovered I'm Auld Nick, the Devil in Disguise? [​IMG]
    (Cue Elvis impersonation)
  5. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

  6. Hi! I was really excited to see your message regarding RP. I am currently writing a dissertation and am regularly 'trawling' the internet for info. I have loads of literature now but very little evaluating evidence or even analysis of RP. Can I ask if you published your findings, and if so could I get a copy?
    Many thanks
    ps I have interviewed staff in the primary school where I work as an LSA.

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