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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Power of Caring: A Participatory Action Research Examining Black Male Students' Perspectives in Restorative Justice Community Building Circles
by Murray, Eleanor J., Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2018, 198; 10825207
Abstract (Summary)

This participatory action research (PAR) described Restorative Justice (RJ) as a paradigm that supports the socio-emotional and behavioral development of students. Restorative practices are a framework for building school community, responding to challenging behavior using authentic dialogue, and accepting accountability to make things right. RJ is a philosophy that shifts from punitive discipline to an alternative, positive- based approach to discipline. Students of color have been disproportionately suspended from school, specifically Black male students. School suspensions lead to poor attendance, loss of instructional days, low academic achievement, and potentially to dropping out of high school. RJ is a proactive approach to transform schools and stakeholders into a positive school culture built on the foundation of community building, fairness, and justice. The purpose of this action research was to investigate and describe the experiences of 10 Black male 10th-grade students who participated in the restorative justice group. Participants engaged in a 6-week Restorative Justice Community Building Circle to develop social-emotional learning and to explore in-depth outcomes in the process. The following research questions were used to guide the study. 1. What is the experience of Black male students’ in restorative justice Community Building Circles? 2. To what extent did Black male students change during the Restorative Justice Community Building Circles in terms of social-emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes?

This PAR provided a systematic approach to qualitative research. The findings were based on observations, semistructured interviews, and the interview protocol. The students expressed 6 predominate themes that showed relationships matters in the success of young Black male students. The participants reported that the RJ community building circle positively improved their self-perception and influenced their attitude and mind-set. The teacher-to-student and the student-to student relationship matters for the success of Black male students. The relationships teachers have with students appear to be related to student performance and academic achievement. The participants described the RJ group as a safe space that provided solidarity to express their personal views, thoughts, and emotions openly. The recommendations suggest how RJ can be embedded in school practices and how they can be used to address traumatic experiences of students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Slater, Charles
Commitee: Gamble, Brandon, Whitman, Robert
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 79/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Black studies, Educational leadership, Gender studies
Keywords: Black males, Masculinity, Mindset, Restorative justice, School culture, Trauma
Publication Number: 10825207
ISBN: 978-0-438-19666-7
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