Writing Ourselves Out of Trouble: Exploring the Possibilities of Restorative Practices on Ninth Grade Writing Performance



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In this dissertation I argue that restorative practices influenced by Restorative Justice (RJ), first recognized in the juvenal penal system, may positively impact student writing and better prepare them for the demands of college composition. Using grounded theory as a foundation, I use classroom observations, student interviews, and student writing sample analysis to explore the following questions: 1) What does rhetoric and composition stand to gain from heeding the lessons of collaboration-based writing from the angle of RJ? 2) What kinds of writing emerge from high school students who study—and heal and grow—in collaborative environments informed by RJ? I use classroom observations to establish what the environment of an RJ informed classroom looks like in contrast to that of a non-RJ informed classroom. Next, I turn to student interviews and writing samples from both RJ informed and non-RJ informed classrooms. I present both broad and specific findings from both the interviews and writing samples to theorize that incorporating restorative practices may promote collaboration, reduce writing apprehension, and encourage the use of personal narratives in academic writing. This study suggests that these outcomes—collaboration, reduced writing apprehension, and use of personal narrative—may promote self-efficacy and lead to college-ready writers.



Composition, Restorative Practices