Introduction to Restorative Justice: Enhancing Critical and Reflective Pedagogy Using Appreciative Inquiry and Experiential Learning

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Brenda Morrison, Department of Criminology and Director of the Centre for Restorative Justice

Project team: Cristina Serverius, research assistant

Timeframe: June 2014 to March 2015

Funding: $5,000

Course addressed: CRIM 315 â€“ Introduction to Restorative Justice

Final report: View Brenda Morrison's final report (PDF)

Description: The study and practice of restorative justice is developing at a significant rate. SFU has a strong reputation in this field, offering a range of courses. The time is ripe to strengthen and understand the pedagogical elements of our foundation course, Introduction to Restorative Justice (CRIM 315), which is offered in a classroom setting, through distance education, and as part of continuing education.

This project will support and enhance the learning process and outcomes of this course and contribute to the growing interest of how restorative justice is taught and practiced in tertiary education. The study will begin with a thorough literature review of the pedagogy and practice of restorative justice in education, with a particular emphasis on tertiary education.  Knowledge gained from this literature review will be used to enhance the current curriculum, material and pedagogy of the course, ready for implementation in Fall 2014. A process and outcome evaluation will also be carried out during the 13 weeks of the course. In addition, a workbook organized into 12 thematic sections will be developed for students use to support reflection on course concepts and exercises.

Questions addressed:

  • To what extent does the Circle dialogue process strengthen the engagement and participation in tutorials?
  • To what extent do the experiential exercises (based on the Alternatives to Violence Project) build understanding of concepts discussed in lecture? 
  • To what extent do the use of guest speakers, who have personal experience with the justice system, as a pedagogical component build students’ understanding of the concepts discussed in lecture?

Knowledge sharing:

Morrison, B. (2015, November). Restorative justice in education: Reflexive and critical practice. Paper presented at the National Restorative Justice Symposium, Quebec City, QC.

Morrison, B. (2015, November). The next generation of restorative justice: Celebrating the vulnerable edge of our humanity. Keynote address, 9th annual Alberta Restorative Justice Association conference, Calgary, AB.

Morrison, B., & Serverius, C. (2015, October). Embodying values through contemplative exercises in introduction to restorative justice. Presentation at the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE) conference, Washington, DC.