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Teachers' perspectives on restorative justice in education professional development

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Date created
Author: Lee, Lisa
Restorative justice in education (RJE) is thought to hold potential to foster strong, positive student-teacher relationships that are critical to student well-being, especially for students who display disruptive behaviours. This study highlights how teachers experience a Restorative Justice in Education professional development (RJE PD) series and how teachers' perceptions of disruptive behaviour and their relationships with students who exhibit this behaviour transform with this experience. The research utilizes case study methodology guided by transformative learning theory (TLT) to explore changes in teachers' beliefs and attitudes towards their roles, responsibilities, and responses to disruptive behaviour of students. Nine teachers from one school district participated in the four-part afterschool RJE PD series developed and facilitated by a local restorative justice society. Three of these teachers were interviewed at the start of the series and eighteen months after the series concluded. As teachers engaged in RJE PD, they openly shared personal stories of struggle with student disruptive behaviour and this sharing helped to create a sense of connection among participants. Restorative justice (RJ) circles appeared to create spaces for some teachers to reflect deeply on their beliefs, attitudes, and practices, which provided fertile ground for the transformative learning (TL) of one teacher. The three teachers appeared to experience the RJE PD differently, vary in their understanding of RJE, and demonstrate differing levels of transformation eighteen months after the end of the series. However, they all spoke about the importance of forming positive relationships with students and the need to search for the context beneath displays of disruptive behaviour. Implications for the delivery of RJE PD are discussed including the ways RJE PD is designed and delivered so that teachers may be encouraged to deeply reflect on their beliefs, values, and practices through a restorative justice lens to improve their connections with students.
135 pages.
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Copyright is held by the author(s).
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Hoskyn, Maureen
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