For decades, public schools in the United States have employed retributive discipline systems. More recently, some schools have begun employing restorative practices that encourage relationship-building, healing, learning, and collaboration as alternatives to traditional discipline models. Specific ideological factors are needed prior to implementation. This mixed methods exploratory case study evaluated readiness factors that contribute to a restorative milieu. Conducted at an elementary school in which 64 teachers had no prior exposures to restorative justice, teacher readiness was quantitatively evaluated through administration of the Restorative Justice Ideology (RJI) instrument (Roland et al., 2012) that assesses three restorative justice ideological factors: restoration, healing, and cooperation. An additional layer of data was derived through six semi-structured interviews to discover if ideological factors explored by the survey instrument were further elucidated in authentic teacher experiences. In this population, general predilections toward restoration and healing were confirmed. Independent variables of education level, grade level taught, years of teaching experience were compared to RJI subscale scores using independent samples t-test and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Bonferroni post hoc tests. The findings, in general, showed those teaching in grades pre-k to second grade demonstrated greater tendencies toward restoration and cooperation, but not healing. Teachers with <5 years of experience scored higher than those with >15 years for restoration and healing, but not cooperation. Evidence of restoration, healing, and cooperation was reflected in four emergent themes: building relationships through communication, processing harm, and constructing positive learning environments. A finding not connected to the RJI related to the influence of trauma. Participants felt that RJ would be difficult to implement in schools with children impacted by trauma who display emotional deficits through dysregulated behaviors.
Keywords: restorative justice, restorative practices, Restorative Justice Ideology, RJI, restoration, healing, cooperation, restorative milieu, child trauma
|Advisor:||Haser, Shelly M|
|Commitee:||Rafoth, Mary Ann, Bernadowski, Carianne|
|School:||Robert Morris University|
|Department:||Instructional Management and Leadership|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Elementary education|
|Keywords:||Ideology, Readiness, Restorative justice, Restorative justice ideology, Restorative practices, Traditional vs. retributive discipline|
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