Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Compassion and Accountability

Today I want to share with you comments I received from a colleague in New Zealand about my recently-published article - Creating a School of Peace and Nonviolence in a Time of War and Violence. My colleague said:

Many thanks for a copy of your paper. Excellent observations in my view of the attitude to discipline and behaviour management in NZ schools – that is, discipline is the responsibility of someone other than the teacher who faces the problem.

I like your statement that schools struggle to balance accountability with compassion. From my experience, male secondary teachers do not exhibit too much compassion – I think they view this as showing weakness.

I believe this comment makes two important points - that compassion and accountability are not polar opposites; rather, the two ideas can work together in the process of healing the harm resulting from wrongdoing and conflict. And that compassion is not a sign of weakness; rather, comes out of strength and a unwavering belief in the dignity of every person as their birthright, which cannot be undone by their behavior nor the treatment of others.


  1. Tom,
    I am really enjoying your blog. I am currently a vice principal of a secondary school in Northern Ontario using a restorative approach. I would love to know how I could get a copy of your article. My email is ruddys@nearnorthschools.ca

    Sean Ruddy

  2. Hi Tom

    I came across your blog through a Google alert for behaviour management and I was delighted to see the restorative approach being discussed. I have read a number of posts and it would seem we are very much on the same wavelength.
    In the UK, I have been working with Supportive Behaviour Management (my title) for 18 years now and as an independent consultant, use the approach in all I do. Recently, I set up a collaborative site that allows like-minded folks to add their voice, successes and trials to the discussion and have added your blog to the links section - I hope that's OK. In addition, it would be great for you to take a look, if you have the time, and perhaps join in the conversation, if you like the format.
    If you think it might also be of use to others that you have contact with, please feel free to pass this on. BTW - despite ads, this is a non-profit making site, the ads are there by default and I haven't yet managed to get the $250 to remove them.
    You can contact me at mike[at]thelifeskillscompany[dot]com

  3. Sorry, forgot to add in the link