School discipline for democratic citizenship education : extending restorative practices.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis proposes an extension to restorative discipline practices in order to provide better education for adult democratic citizenship. It argues that school discipline is subject to widespread misunderstanding, and that many classroom management systems fail to attend to a complete conception of its goals. Restorative discipline is a notable exception, and is currently being implemented under the policy of Positive Behaviour for Learning in New Zealand. Attention to the rational consideration of fairness, as well as the restoration of relationships that have been harmed, is argued to be educative about the justification of authority. Such education is a commonly neglected goal of good school discipline, as many classroom management systems seek to maintain order without helping pupils to understand why it is justified by any means other than the declaration of the person perceived to have power.
Learning about why certain restrictions on one’s behaviour are fair is educative about the justification of social institutions in a democracy. Students who better understand how the authority of state institutions is grounded in more than the will of those in power are better prepared for engagement with adult democratic life. The consideration of fair resolutions to conflicts when two parties have fundamental disagreements over facts or values can contribute to this, and this can be discussed in restorative conversations in addition to considering what harm has been done. This thesis proposes greater attention in restorative conversations to asking what might be fair in addition to how a relationship might be repaired.
This thesis draws not just on restorative theory, but also on Gutmann and Thompson’s deliberative model of democracy and conceptions of justice as fairness in the tradition of Rawls. It proposes social contract theory as a means of exploring fairness in the classroom, with particular attention to Gauthier’s contractarianism and Scanlon’s contractualism, and makes comparison and finds contrast with Kohlberg’s education for cognitive moral development.