Schools that have adopted the ancient principles of restorative justice in their approach to disciplinary matters are reporting better relationships with young people, greater engagement in learning, and a greater development of social and emotional competence among learners.
Not surprisingly, interest in restorative practices is growing.
The highly visual "Restorative Justice Pocketbook" provides an introduction to restorative practice (RP) in schools.
Using cartoons, diagrams and visual prompts to support the text, it begins with some background to the approach and outlines a process that offers high levels of support to both victims and culprits.
All parties involved in an incident or problem work in conference towards a solution.
Wrongdoing is viewed through a 'relational lens' whereby those involved come to understand the harm done to people and relationships.
Accepting that such harm creates obligations and liabilities, they then focus on repairing the damage and putting things right. A substantial proportion of the book details - at script level - how to conduct restorative conferences for incidents right across the behaviour spectrum to the point where parents and outside agencies may be involved.
The practical examples are recognisable, everyday scenarios and the step-by-step application of the restorative process is illuminating.
Margaret Thorsborne and David Vinegrad are international experts in behaviour and relationships.
Between them they have trained education facilitators and led RP and community conferencing programmes on five continents.