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Title: Merging the theory and practice of restorative approaches in schools : an exploration of 'restorativeness' through qualitative research synthesis and appreciative inquiry
Author: Whitby, Melissa
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 088X
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores the understanding and enactment of restorative approaches (RAs) in educational settings. It is made up of three chapters; a literature review, an empirical research project and a bridging document linking them. Behaviour and discipline in schools, in the United Kingdom, has been a perennial concern of educators and politicians alike. Recently, an independent review exploring pupil behaviour in schools has expressly considered the important role of a school's disciplinary culture on pupil behaviour and outcomes. RAs are being increasingly adopted by schools and educators to offer an alternative response to other forms of behaviour management systems in schools which have been identified as punitive. When implemented over a long period RAs are considered to have transformative potential, with schools being able to develop a relational ethos/culture. However, for this to occur, schools and educators need to understand and enact the conceptual values and philosophies underpinning RAs. How educators are conceptualising RAs whilst enacting them in school is the focus of a literature review in Chapter One. A qualitative research synthesis of six journal articles and doctoral theses is presented. The findings of each paper are analysed and synthesised to construct a broader understanding of how RAs are being conceptualised. Four key conceptualisations of RAs are presented: RAs as a tool, RAs as a process, RAs as a culture and RAs as an identify/belief. However, the synthesis goes beyond these conceptualisations and identifies how discourses of behaviour management and relationships discursively mediate these conceptualisations, whilst also recognising how the context of school further influences these. I propose and present a visual and metaphorical model, of a kaleidoscope, to understanding the fluid and shifting nature of how RAs are conceptualised. Implications for practitioners, who may be involved in facilitating training/development of RAs, are offered. These include an argument for the importance of developing educator understandings of the principles and philosophy underpinning RAs. Based on the findings from the literature review, I suggest educators require opportunities to explore and reflect on the values-base and principles of RAs before attempting to enact specific practices, such as restorative conferences. An empirical research project, in Chapter Three, describes an Appreciative Inquiry (AI) project which involved a small group of educators from a primary school: developing their own definition of 'restorativeness', exploring how the school is already 'restorative', and considering how they can build upon this to further develop RAs in their setting. An inductive thematic analysis, utilising a hybrid approach of semantic-latent coding and theme development sessions is presented. 'Restorativeness' at the school is tentatively suggested to be understood under five broad themes: developing mutual and reciprocal relationships, working 'with' the pupils, being self-aware and in-tune with emotions of self and others, fostering an affective school climate and collaborating to develop a iv community of 'restorative' practice. Further to this, insights and learnings from the AI process are considered, including the transformative possibilities. The project closes by considering the implications for professionals supporting the development of RAs in schools. These chapters are linked by a bridging document which outlines the theoretical, ethical, philosophical and methodological stance underpinning the empirical research project. The ideas of prospective and retrospective reflexivity are utilised to explore the developing researcher-practitioner identity which has influenced the project.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available