“The kids do a better job of it than we do”: a Canadian case study of teachers addressing the hypocritical application of restorative justice in their school

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Restorative justice (RJ) has become increasingly accepted in schools worldwide as an effective way to build, maintain and repair student relationships and to deal with student conflict, harm and behavioural issues. It is rare, however, to find schools that utilise RJ to deal with adult relational and behavioural issues. Drawing on a case study in a Canadian school, this paper explores this hypocritical application of RJ, when teachers are not called to practice what they are teaching. The teachers in the school studied named the hypocritical application and openly struggled with it. I argue that the act of grappling with the inequity resulted in a deepened experience of RJ for both teachers and students. By naming and addressing their hypocritical actions, the teachers, paradoxically, acted in a restorative manner, modelling restorative principles and ensuring that RJ was made more comprehensible and relevant to students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-73
Number of pages15
JournalThe Australian Educational Researcher
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019


  • Congruence
  • Education
  • Hypocritical
  • Restorative justice
  • Teacher conflict
  • Teacher relationships

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