School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Larry Crites


Restorative Practices, Restorative Justice, Restorative Circles, Transcendental Phenomenology, Reflection, Zero Tolerance, Change Theory, Discipline, School Reform


Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this phenomenological study is to explore and understand the perceptions of teachers as they endure change while implementing restorative practices at the secondary level. The central research question guiding this study asked, “How do secondary level teachers from central North Carolina describe their experiences with restorative practices in the classroom?” I interviewed and discussed the lived experiences of 11 participants, all teachers who have been trained in restorative practices by the International Institute of Restorative Practices and implemented in their classroom for one year in central North Carolina. The theory guiding this study was Michael Fullan’s change theory and the exploration of how and why a school reform initiative works. Data was collected in three ways: semi-structured, long interviews; a focus group; and a document review of the International Institute of Restorative Practices training materials. Data were analyzed using coding, clustering of codes, and theme extraction. After a comprehensive analysis of the data, three themes emerged: (a) the influence of student discourse on the culture of the classroom; (b) teacher empowerment through reflection; and (c) the emergence of altruism.