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  • © 2022

Restorative Justice in the Classroom

Liberating Students’ Voices Through Relational Pedagogy

Palgrave Macmillan
  • Provides long-term ethnographic data of teachers' pedagogical approaches in implementing restorative justice education

  • The first book focusing on RJE in Canadian education and designed to be applicable to schools throughout North America

  • Includes case studies and highlights key elements at the end of each chapter

Buying options

eBook USD 119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-031-16590-0
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxv
  2. Circles: A Pedagogical Praxis for Inclusion and Resistance

    • Crystena A. H. Parker-Shandal
    Pages 1-38
  3. Transforming Justice in Diverse Classrooms

    • Crystena A. H. Parker-Shandal
    Pages 39-80
  4. Back Matter

    Pages 253-292

About this book

This book focuses on how teachers can transmit and practice values through classroom circles that attend to and empower all students’ voices. A growing number of teachers are using relational pedagogy, drawing on Indigenous circle practice, as a pedagogical tool. Done well, circles can build and sustain dialogue and peaceful relations. Done poorly, circles reflect and reinforce relations of power, which, if disregarded, can be damaging for participants whose voices are silenced or not sufficiently heard. Parker-Shandal’s consideration of teachers’ professional learning and training in restorative justice in education focuses on ethnographic, classroom-based research in diverse urban elementary schools. Her data include observations of classrooms, teacher surveys, and interviews with students, teachers, and principals. The book provides a detailed account of the lived experience of students and teachers as they engage with and experience the transformative power of constructive dialogue about conflicts embedded in curriculum subject matter through restorative justice pedagogies.


  • restorative justice education
  • Restorative justice
  • peacebuilding
  • social justice
  • classroom dialogue
  • North American education
  • Canadian education
  • Conflict resolution
  • K-12 schooling
  • ethnography
  • teacher education
  • mulitcultural education
  • diversity in education
  • inclusive education
  • circle pedagogy


“Parker’s book moves educators and administrators away from thinking about restorative justice solely as a disciplinary response and instead toward an understanding of restorative justice in education (RJE) and circles as ways to create just and equitable classrooms that encourage diverse perspectives and problem solving. Her sound theoretical framework coupled with real teachers’ implementation struggles and achievements offer us a vision of how circles and RJE can confound mandates to teach false narratives by elevating marginalized voices, promoting critical thinking and deep listening, and transforming conflict through circle and restorative dialogues.”
Martha A. Brown, Author of Creating Restorative Schools: Setting Schools Up to Succeed (2018), USA

"This book is an important and timely offering to the field of RJE–adding to a growing conversation that positions anti-racism and relationships at the centre of RJE. Drawing on five years of ethnographic data, Crystena Parker-Shandal provides an intimate look at life within the classroom and RJE’s potential to either transform relationships and power structures or transmit oppressive status-quo values (and usually a mix in between). The circle discussions in the book bring the reader directly into the daily rhythm of a classroom, in all its awkward, uncomfortable, inspirational, and mundane glory. The reader relates to the teachers as they make decisions in the moment regarding how to respond to student comments, experiences and emotions; the reader also senses the incredible impact that such decisions can have on student relations and wellbeing. With sensitivity and respect, Crystena supports teachers through this book to better embody an anti-racist approach to RJE. This is definitely one for the next Restorative Book Club!”
Kristin Elaine Reimer, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Culture, and Society, Monash University, Australia, and author of Adult Intentions, Student Perceptions: How Restorative Justice is Used in Schools to Control and to Engage (2019)

“Parker-Shandal’s book invites the reader into a deep reflection of how circle dialogue can intervene effectively in challenging and perhaps balancing power dynamics in the classroom including the inherent power of adult educators in relation to children. Through her thoughtful and thorough analysis of research conducted during teacher training and classroom implementation of restorative practice, we are called to question how these processes are taught and how they can be implemented in various educational settings with educators who bring their own bias and experiences to their workplace. We come away with a new understanding of the complexity of conflict and community in school cultures as she guides us articulately to conclusions that will increase the effectiveness of restorative practice in schools to help all students feel that they genuinely have a voice in the classroom circle.”
Miriam Zachariah, Retired Principal, Toronto District School Board, Circle Keeper, Peacemaking Circle Trainer and Restorative Practice Trainer, Canada

“We are all from the human race and we all have emotions, experiences and backgrounds that might be different than others in the circles we sit. Parker-Shandal invites educators to be a part of the circle and not simply leaders of the circle, and gives us a deeper understanding of what can happen in the circle, a space to learn about others and about ourselves. Conflicts bring deeper understanding of others and provide us with a new perspective simply by listening and being present.”  
—Lorrie Gallant, Cayuga Nation Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, Author, Illustrator, Educator and Artist

Authors and Affiliations

  • Renison University College, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada

    Crystena A. H. Parker-Shandal

About the author

Crystena A. H. Parker-Shandal is Associate Professor of Social Development Studies at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo, Canada. Her research on peacebuilding education in diverse multicultural classrooms with marginalized children shows how dialogic pedagogies facilitate inclusive spaces where all students have the opportunity to participate and have their voices heard. She is the author Peacebuilding, Citizenship, and Identity: Empowering Conflict and Dialogue in Multicultural Classrooms (2015) and co-editor of Finding Refuge In Canada (2021). 

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Restorative Justice in the Classroom

  • Book Subtitle: Liberating Students’ Voices Through Relational Pedagogy

  • Authors: Crystena A. H. Parker-Shandal

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Education, Education (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-16589-4Published: 13 January 2023

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-16592-4Due: 27 January 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-16590-0Published: 12 January 2023

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXV, 292

  • Number of Illustrations: 18 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Inclusive Education, Childhood Education, Social Justice, School and Schooling, Educational Philosophy, Teaching and Teacher Education

Buying options

eBook USD 119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-031-16590-0
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)