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Restorative practices, consequences, and international schools

Alistair Goold (International School of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 25 March 2024

Issue publication date: 13 May 2024




This paper investigates the interplay between consequences in restorative practices (RP) and the synergies with responsive classroom, particularly in international schools. Addressing critics who deem RP a “soft option”, the study defines “restorative consequences” within the RP framework. It analyses literature and three school policies, focusing on international school needs. Emphasising the importance of accountability, the paper explores the role of logical consequences in preventing perceived permissiveness. By comparing RP and Responsive Classroom, it seeks to guide school leaders in aligning transformative change with their vision and values. This paper aims to enhance understanding, offer practical insights and address challenges in RP implementation.


This research delves into the relationship between RP and consequences in international schools, addressing concerns about RP’s perceived lack of accountability. It defines “restorative consequences” within the RP framework, examining RP integration into school policies. Through a literature review and analysis of three RP policies, the study extracts insights for international schools, emphasising the role of logical consequences in preventing perceived permissiveness. In addition, a comparative evaluation of responsive classroom and RP identifies effective models for transformative change. The research aims to empower international school leaders with informed decision-making, offering insights into challenges and strategies for effective RP implementation in alignment with institutional values.


In delving into the positive discipline approach advocated by responsive classroom, it becomes evident that there exists a potential synergy between various disciplinary systems. Emphasising logical consequences as a pivotal component in school behaviour policies, it is crucial to apply them through the lens of social discipline window (SDW), specifically the “with” approach, incorporating both high levels of support and accountability. Recognizing this dynamic is essential as the authors endeavour to construct effective policies that not only align with responsive classroom values and methods but also prove practical in real-world application. Furthermore, within the international context, responsive classroom has demonstrated its ability to address the social and emotional needs of third culture kids. This revelation presents compelling grounds for the adoption of responsive classroom in international schools contemplating systemic transformations.

Research limitations/implications

The study acknowledges limitations stemming from the reviewed RP policies, primarily the exceptional one derived from a large, well-supported school district, which may not be universally applicable, especially in diverse international schools. The potential for reputational damage to RP exists if policies lack comprehensive detailing and troubleshooting for varied classroom scenarios. Teacher testimonials carry significant weight, necessitating greater involvement in RP training and research. International schools face unique challenges in achieving staff “buy-in”, requiring culturally responsive training to overcome Western-centric perceptions. The clash of RP with authoritarian cultures poses challenges, emphasising the need for clear values.

Practical implications

While the exemplary RP policy reviewed is from a large, well-supported school district, this may not apply universally, particularly in international schools with diverse affiliations. To safeguard RP’s reputation, detailed policies addressing classroom nuances are crucial. Recognising the influence of teacher testimonials and involving educators in RP training and research is pivotal. International schools face a unique challenge in ensuring staff alignment with RP, requiring culturally responsive training to dispel Western-centric perceptions. Acknowledging RP’s clash with authoritarian cultures, schools must establish clear values. Drawing from educational theorists, future RP research should explicitly explore the consequences–RP relationship, enhancing the understanding of the SDW

Social implications

The research’s social implications emphasise the need for transparent and detailed RP policies to prevent reputational damage and rejection. Recognising the influence of teacher testimonials, active involvement of educators in RP training is crucial. For international schools, culturally responsive training is vital to overcome Western-centric perceptions and ensure staff alignment. The study underscores the challenge of RP conflicting with authoritarian cultures, emphasising the importance of clear values. Furthermore, it advocates for a nuanced dialogue on the consequences–RP relationship to enhance understanding within the SDW. These implications stress context-specific and inclusive approaches for effective RP implementation in diverse educational settings.


The research offers significant originality by addressing the underdeveloped literature on the role of RP in international schools. It contributes novel insights by defining “restorative consequences” within the RP framework and examining the interplay between consequences and RP in school policies. The comparative evaluation of Responsive Classroom and RP adds a distinctive dimension, guiding international school leaders in transformative decision-making. Moreover, the study advocates for a culturally responsive approach, challenging Western-centric perceptions. This unique focus on consequences, accountability and cultural considerations positions the research as a pioneering contribution, offering valuable perspectives for effective RP implementation and policymaking in diverse educational settings.



Goold, A. (2024), "Restorative practices, consequences, and international schools", On the Horizon, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 15-31.



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