Friday, May 7, 2010

Understanding the "outcomes" of a restorative process

 It seems to me that it would be helpful to encourage people to consider and report the outcomes comprehensively.  And it will be helpful if those responsible for implementing RP can articulate the real outcomes -  they will need to be able to tell 'the full story' of what was achieved.
From the examples given in the workshop, outcomes can be
  • actions - "apologise", "shake hands", "make restitution", "forgive", "reconcile", "vent"...
  • experiences - belonging, being heard
  • changed relationships - changes in the way in which particular people interact with self and others during and following the meeting
  • learning and insights - a better understanding of how the world and people are, and how they work: cause and effect, flow-on effects, the experiences of others, similarities, differences, motivations,...
  • attitudes - beliefs and feelings that guide judgements and actions in relation to self, others and property
  • life chances - the ability to access opportunities that lead to success and well-being for
  • ...         (these are the one I have managed to identify so far)
And outcomes also need to be considered on a timeline:
  • immediate - e.g., concludes the issue
  • short-term - e.g., retains student at school, avoid the courts, improves the relationship between the student and others,... 
  • long term - life chances - improved likelihood of success and well being
And finally the outcomes will be unique for each of the parties involved: each offender; victim, supporter.... and all need to be considered and accounted for.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Schools in the Age of Measurement

The Impact of the Age of Measurement
The Telegraph recently reported:  'Age of Measurement' harming schools, says Eton head (here).  Tony Little, the headmaster of Eton has suggested that Boarding schools have entered an 'Age of Measurement' where only results are valuable.
  •  "...the current inspection regime for .... schools is flawed - because it splits schools into parts, judging them separately for different areas of their work...  I see teachers becoming averse to risk, naturally concerned about their responsibilities should they offer to take a school trip in their own time, feeling that they are judged most tellingly on the grades their students achieve in public exams, becoming more adept with the jargon and canny about 'delivering the outcome'."
Expensive Bureaucracy 
 Another report of the same address (here) had the headline Schools 'harassed' by pushy parents, says Eton head. Tony Little's comments included the observation that
  • ... independent school fees had been driven up in recent years because of the “lethal cocktail” of maintaining facilities, meeting competitive staff pay rates and complying with    “constant waves of expensive bureaucracy.(my emphasis)
In the case of public education the "constant waves of expensive bureaucracy" are paid for by taking teachers away from teaching. That is, in our system the cost is paid by those who can least afford it: those students who need the most teaching.

Teaching is the core business of schools. When I was Principal at Riverside Primary (enrolment  670), I taught 0.4FTE, APs taught 0.8 and everyone else taught full-time. I believe that this level of staff engagement in teaching would be impossible today because of the huge increase in demands made on schools by the Department of Education, and State and Federal Governments.

Given that Eton is experiencing the those things reported by Tasmanian schools one might conclude that this is a worldwide phenomenon and we are, indeed in the 'Age of Measurement'