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ERIC Number: ED545717
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 516
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-8233-4
Experiencing Restorative Justice Practices within the Context of an Academic Course--A Phenomenological Mixed Methods Study
Dedinsky, Paul C.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Cardinal Stritch University
This study explored restorative justice arising in the context of an academic high school course in which students learned restorative justice principles and strategies. Given that the literature provided limited guidance of restorative justice in this context, these novel circumstances presented a unique opportunity for study. The central research question was: What was the meaning of the lived experience of students enrolled in a semester long restorative justice discipline academic course at two separate urban high schools? Research sub-questions addressed student perceptions of learning, changes in thinking and personal behavior, impact on school climate and other facets of their lives, and the meaning ascribed to restorative justice disciplinary approaches compared to punitive approaches such as suspending peers. This phenomenological study utilized a mixed methods approach. Besides observations and document analysis, student perceptions of change were measured through a retrospective survey and student interviews. As enrollees in the course during the spring semester of 2009, 23 inner city high school students, aged 14-19, participated daily in restorative justice circles, completed course assignments, and addressed student disciplinary misconduct referrals in a format known as "Repairing Harm Circles." Data, analyzed using Prochaska, DiClemente, and Norcross's (1992) Transtheoretical Model of Behavioral Change (TTM), showed strong linkages with several TTM change processes, including: Consciousness Raising, Self-reevaluation, Environmental Reevaluation, Self-liberation, Helping Relationships, and Social Liberation. Moderate linkages were established with TTM's Dramatic Relief, Counter Conditioning, Stimulus Control, and Contingency Management change processes. Findings and conclusions regarding the phenomenon included student perceptions of improved empowerment, respect, equality, responsibility, accountability, and leadership. Students associated several common features with the phenomenon including their openness to help people solve problems, while utilizing empathy, respect, responsibility, and "voice" to improve trust. Students perceived personal mastery of restorative principles and conflict resolution skills. The study findings suggest that the students' immersion in the restorative justice course promoted pro-social thinking and personal behavior. Characterizing restorative justice approaches as relationship-oriented in nature, the students found restorative justice practices to be superior to other forms of school discipline. They expressed self-confidence in their capacity to catalyze healthy, peaceful change amidst the violence in their lives. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A