Restoration, transformation or education? A philosophical critique of Restorative Practices in Schools

James Macallister, Hilary Cremin (Editor)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In this paper the conceptual foundations of restorative practices in education will be scrutinised. Initially, it will be acknowledged that the recent adoption of ‘restorative justice’ principles in schools is not without promise. However, it will be argued that some attempts to explain: 1) the meaning of restorative justice, and; 2) how restorative practices might contribute to emotion education; are riddled with ambiguity. It will be suggested that a philosophical analysis might help to clear away some of the muddle. In particular, it will first be argued that Johnstone and Van Ness’s concept of transformative restoration is logically paradoxical. Their terms encounter and reparation better capture what would seem to be the core functions of restorative justice. However, ‘education’ probably more aptly describes restorative processes classified as preventative or pro-active. In reference to Aristotle, it will secondly be argued it is not obviously apparent there is a natural state of ‘positive’ emotion that educational processes can restore pupils to. It will rather be maintained that emotion education should involve helping pupils to learn through various painful and pleasant sentiments (including shame) so that they can moderate these where necessary. It will be concluded that restorative approaches may be able to contribute to such emotional development. Indeed, the merit of restorative practices may become most evident if proponents of it restrict themselves to modest and specific claims about its educational potential.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationN/A
EditorsHilary Cremin
Place of PublicationN/A
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2010
EventApproaches to conflict in schools ESRC Seminar Series - University of Nottingham
Duration: 14 Sept 201015 Sept 2010


ConferenceApproaches to conflict in schools ESRC Seminar Series
CityUniversity of Nottingham


  • restoration, transformation, education


Dive into the research topics of 'Restoration, transformation or education? A philosophical critique of Restorative Practices in Schools'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this