Leadership in Harmony: Margaret Thorsborne on Infusing Restorative Practices in Education

In a setting humming with the exchange of pioneering ideas, Margaret Thorsborne’s presentation stood out as a beacon for those looking to transform educational spaces. Drawing from her extensive background in education, counseling, and project management, Margaret’s discourse at the conference delved deep into the essence of integrating restorative practices within educational communities. And given her renown as an international expert on school and workplace bullying, her insights came with a weight of experience and credibility.

Restorative practices, as championed by advocates like Margaret, offer a constructive framework to deal with conflicts, bullying, and behavioral challenges. Unlike punitive approaches that may further alienate and traumatize young individuals, restorative approaches strive to mend relationships and restore harmony. Margaret’s mission, both as a professional and the founding director of Restorative Practices International (RPI), has been to seamlessly weave these practices into the fabric of educational communities.

However, as she articulated, the journey isn’t just about introducing new practices. The lynchpin for success, as the session underscored, is leadership. How school leaders perceive, adopt, and promote restorative philosophy can make or break its integration. Margaret’s perspective is clear – leadership style plays an indispensable role if the rest of the school community is to take the transformative journey of restorative practices to heart.

To further enrich the narrative and provide a firsthand account of the leadership journey, Margaret collaborated with Maurie Abraham, a name held in high regard in New Zealand’s educational circles. Maurie’s exploration into his personal expedition of leading restoratively offered attendees an intimate glance into the challenges, breakthroughs, and profound impacts of such an endeavor. His testimony was not just a recounting of events but a tapestry of wisdom gained through real-world application of restorative principles.

Margaret’s session was as much a lesson in leadership as it was in restorative practices. The intertwining of the two highlighted that while the restorative framework is pivotal, it’s the leaders who set the tone, fostering an environment where such practices can flourish. For school communities to genuinely embrace the transformational potential of restorative methods, leaders must lead by example, demonstrating commitment, understanding, and, above all, empathy.

Attendees left the session equipped with more than just theoretical knowledge. They carried with them inspiring stories, tangible takeaways, and the reaffirmed belief that with the right leadership style, the implementation of restorative practices could indeed be a resounding success.

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, Margaret Thorsborne’s insights serve as a timely reminder. Schools aren’t just centers of academic learning; they’re crucibles where young minds are shaped. And in this shaping, a restorative approach, championed by empathetic leaders, can usher in an era of harmony, understanding, and constructive growth.