Meeting the discipline challenge: Capacity-building youth-adult leadership
Because misbehavior in schools is often instigated by a confluence of organizational features, the purpose of this research was to understand what Youth Court reveals about the causes of in-school conflicts and to what extent its processes help to address them. This multi-site qualitative case study collected data in the form of observations, documents, semi-structured and focus group interviews in order to explore Youth Court processes and outcomes. Double-loop learning was used to describe the extent and quality of dialogue and interventions. The research questions were: Does Youth Court facilitate double-loop learning? What contributing variables influencing student misbehavior does this discourse reveal? What is the impact of this discourse on school policies and practices? Youth Court surfaces vital information about students, teachers, classrooms, and school-wide policy necessary to inform the development or adaptation of discipline policies and practices; in some cases, that information became a catalyst for changes in classroom and school-wide policies and practices. Youth Court helped to address individual instances of misbehavior with interventions that were restorative rather than punitive. And yet, the greater benefits of Youth Court, namely improvements to a school’s culture and climate, were not necessarily fully realized because Youth Court activity and other school processes and structures are not formally linked. Further research using linkage theory would help to unpack why successes in Youth Court did and did not spread to other areas of school.
KeywordsEmpirical paper Double-loop learning Student voice Discipline Capacity-building
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