In recent years restorative practice in schools has been heralded as a new paradigm for thinking about student behaviour. Its premise is to provide solutions to indiscipline, to restore relationships where there has been conflict or harm, and to give pupils a language with which to understand wrongdoing. This article offers a critique of practitioners’ use of scripts with which to facilitate the restorative conference, one of the key strategies of restorative practice. To do so I turn to J.L. Austin and Stanley Cavell whose writing on performative and passionate utterance point to the educational importance of making room for freedom in speech and emotion, over performance. Indeed, it is through making room for negative emotion, or silence, as observed in Cavell’s reading of King Lear, that we can see an opening up of the possibilities present in restorative practice.
- Restorative practice
- passionate utterance