In a refreshing deviation from the conventional approach of evaluating educational practices, Dr. Terence Bevington graced the audience with a comprehensive presentation on the significance of measuring the impact of relational and restorative practices in schools. With a rich experience spanning over 25 years in diverse roles within education, and as Director of Conexus Conflict Consultancy and the Restorative Lab, Dr. Bevington’s reputation for challenging established norms and enabling new perspectives shone brightly throughout his discourse.
Setting the stage, Dr. Bevington posed the foundational questions: “What changes are we genuinely seeking in schools?” and “How can we effectively measure these changes?” While many might look strictly at the implementation fidelity of a program, he argued that the true testament of a program’s efficacy lies in its tangible impact on the institution and its members.
Appreciative Inquiry, as elucidated by Dr. Bevington, focuses on recognizing the best in people and the world around them. Instead of traditional problem-solving approaches, it emphasizes the importance of valuing the positive aspects and leveraging them to bring about transformative changes. In the context of schools, this means highlighting the strengths of relational and restorative practices and building upon them to foster an environment of trust, understanding, and mutual respect.
Dr. Bevington’s arguments weren’t merely theoretical. He enriched his presentation with empirical examples showcasing the successful deployment of these methodologies in evaluating restorative practices in schools. These real-world cases served to underscore the practicality and efficiency of Appreciative Inquiry and Everyday Peace Indicators, making a compelling case for their wider adoption.
Concluding his enlightening presentation, Dr. Terence Bevington not only introduced novel methodologies to the audience but also instilled in them a renewed perspective on evaluation. It was clear that measuring the true impact of any practice, especially something as profound as restorative measures in education, requires tools that capture its essence holistically and not just its surface-level implementation.
For those in attendance, Dr. Bevington’s insights served as both an inspiration and a challenge. An inspiration to look beyond traditional methods and a challenge to actively adopt and adapt the methodologies he introduced, in pursuit of a more profound understanding of restorative practices in schools.