Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fulbright reminicing

The Fulbright graduate student award allowed me to go to New Zealand from June 2004 to June 2005 to conduct a study titled, Restorative Practices and Caring: A Study of Alternative Positive Peace Efforts. I was hosted by the University of Waikato in Hamilton.

This study was a replication of a study that I had conducted as the dissertation for my doctorate. In that study I was able to develop a theory of the culture of care based on the principles of restorative justice and the application of those principles in schools. The Fulbright award allowed me to replicate that dissertation study in New Zealand. I wanted to go to New Zealand to replicate the study because the culture of care was based on the principles of restorative justice, and New Zealand was well known for being one of the first countries to institutionalize the principles of restorative justice. I wanted to see first hand how restorative justice principles were being institutionalized as practices in schools in New Zealand.

As a result of receiving the Fulbright award, I was able to conduct an ethnography study at Raglan Area School, which is located in the town of Raglan on the North Island of New Zealand. I had the privilege of spending a year in that school. The school had a majority of Maori students and was divided into mainstream, Maori medium, and bilingual components. Students ranged in age from newbies to those that had received their National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2 diploma.

After my Fulbright year was over, I was invited to become a Senior Research Fellow for a Ministry of Education research and professional development project called Te Kotahitanga, which was housed at the University of Waikato. That project focused on improving the achievement of Maori students. Alongside of that work, I was able to keep developing the culture of care both in theory and practice with schools in New Zealand. I continued that work until the end of 2008.

At that time I came back to the United States. I was intent on continuing the work I had done in New Zealand with Maori students, particularly with regard to replicating the work involving the culture of care and restorative justice practices in schools with Latino/Hispanic, African-American, and Native American students. That work continues to be the focus of the research and professional development training I am doing today. I have continued to work at developing and putting into practice the theory of a culture care in schools based on restorative justice principles. To date I have published 10 research articles in peer-reviewed journals (2 New Zealand, 5 American, 2 Australian, and 1 Canadian) and 4 book chapters (2 New Zealand, 1 American, and 1 Canadian) related to this work.

Dedication to this work has resulted in changing my life dramatically because this has become my life's passion and the work that I enjoy doing. I am constantly in schools conducting research and doing professional development training related to this topic. It is work that is not only relevant, but it is of great interest currently both in the United States and New Zealand.

To this date I remain in contact with my colleagues in New Zealand and with the Ministry of Education regarding the work I am doing. For example, in 2012 I was invited to be a keynote speaker at the Schools, Communities, and social Inclusion Colloquium at the University of Canterbury by Professor of Maori Research Angus Macfarlane. My wife and I have maintained many friendships with the people of New Zealand, and that was the primary reason we returned to New Zealand in 2012 for six weeks.

I highly recommend that people apply for Fulbright awards, and I am willing to help them to make those applications.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Vigil, P. M., Cavanagh, T., & Garcia, E. (2013). Developing peacemakers in the classroom: An alternative discourse in a culture of war and violence. Peace Studies Journal, 6(1), 79-91.

Cavanagh, T., Macfarlane, A., Glynn, T. & Macfarlane, S. (2012). Creating peaceful and effective schools through a culture of care. Discourse, 33(3). 443-455.

Cavanagh, T. (2009). Restorative practices in schools: Breaking the cycle of student involvement in child welfare and legal systems. Protecting Children, 24(4). 53-60.

Berryman, M., Macfarlane, S. & Cavanagh, T. (2009). Indigenous contexts for responding to challenging behaviours: Contrasting Western accountability and Maori restoration of harmony. International Journal of Restorative Justice, 5(1), 1-32.

Cavanagh, T. (2009). Creating a new discourse of peace in schools: Restorative justice in education. Journal for Peace and Justice Studies, special issue on Restorative Justice, 18(1&2), 62-84.

Cavanagh, T. (2009). Creating schools of peace and nonviolence in a time of war and violence. Journal of School Violence, 8(1), 64-80.

Cavanagh, T. (2008). Schooling for happiness: Rethinking the aims of education. Kairaranga, 9(1), 20-23.

Macfarlane, A., Glynn, T., Cavanagh, T. & Bateman, S. (2007). Creating culturally safe schools for Maori students. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 36, 65-76. Also published, with permission, on New Zealand Ministry of Education’s LeadSpace website, dedicated to building leadership capacity, at

Cavanagh, T. (2007). Focusing on relationships creates safety in schools. set: Research Information for Teachers, 1, 31-35.

Cavanagh, T. (2003). Schooling for Peace: Caring for our Children in School. Experiments in Education, 31(8), 139-143.

Book Chapters

Cavanagh, T. (2012). Creating peaceful and nonviolent schools in the midst of a culture of war and violence. In P. R. Carr & B.J. Porfilio (Series Ed.) Routledge research in education: 79. Educating for peace in a time of “permanent war”: Are schools part of the solution or the problem? (pp. 243-254). New York, NY: Routledge

Glynn, T., Cavanagh, T., Macfarlane, A.H. & Macfarlane, S. (2011). Listening to culture. In V. Margrain & A.H. Macfarlane (Eds.), Responsive pedagogy: Engaging restoratively with challenging behaviour (pp. 46-63) . Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand Council for Education Research (NZCER) Press.

Cavanagh, T. (2011). Creating a culture of care in schools: A New Zealand perspective on using restorative practices. In J. Charlton, S. Pavelka & P.J. Verrecchia (Eds.), International perspectives on restorative justice in education (pp. 136-159), Kanata, Ontario, Canada: JCharlton Publishing.

Cavanagh, T. (2011). Addressing the impacts of disparity: Creating a “Culture of Care” for Maori students in New Zealand schools. In P. Whitinui (Ed.), Kia Tangi Te Titi: Permission to Speak. Successful Schooling for Maori Students in the 21st Century: Issues, Challenges and Alternatives (pp. 46-57). Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) Press.