Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Grant Smith, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Florence Chang, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

William Wells, Ed.D.


Restorative practices have been broadly adopted in American schools. However, few empirical studies have rigorously examined the effects of restorative practices on teacher practices through direct observations. This quasi-experimental designed study tested the hypothesis that restorative practices experience would increase positive interactions between teachers and students. Measurably, it would improve positive teacher practices and positive student behavior. The study analyzed data from a school-randomized evaluation with two rounds of observations in a single school year. Observational data of 140 elementary teachers and their students from nine restorative schools were used to examine the impact of restorative practices on teacher practices and student behavior. Participants were grouped into four condition levels, indicating different dosage levels of restorative practice experience ranked by the training year.

The results of the Mann-Whitney test did not suggest significant differences in teacher practices and student behavior between the intervention and comparison groups. Repeated measures ANOVA indicated that teachers with more experience of restorative practices progressed significantly in non-specific praise over time. Correlation analysis suggested a significant positive and moderate relationship between teacher practices and student behavior. Specifically, positive student behavior was significantly associated with restorative language and opportunities to respond, but not non-specific praise. Overall, the results of current data indicated that the experience of restorative practices did not make substantial impacts on teacher practices and student behavior. However, the experience increased teachers’ awareness of using basic positive practices. The study concluded with limitations and implications of findings and recommendations for practice and future research.