Christopher Straker, Director, Restorative Thinking Ltd. and board member of Restorative Practices International
In reading Independent Thinking on Restorative Practice I was struck by the book's simplicity of structure and messaging in its conveyance of complex ideas. By that I mean that, too often, books on restorative practice lose the practitioner in an academic rhetoric that leaves them unable to see how the ideas can be translated into practice in their context. This book, however, contains simple explanations and advice for those starting out on a restorative journey; and for those who have more experience it offers a chance to reflect on your own practice. It helps make the ideas easier to access and, as a result, easier to implement. Mark's empathy with, and understanding of, the education system means this book is grounded in the real-life experiences in classrooms, corridors, playgrounds and the family home. The book is also appropriately challenging. It challenges the idea of one-size-fits-all behaviour approaches; and it challenges us to reflect honestly on our own behaviours and language when we are working in schools. His proposition of "If your office was a coffee shop, would you be a regular?" is a perfect example of Mark's ability to use a simple image to open up a complex debate about relationships and their roles in the school's learning culture. Just as importantly he then uses clear examples from his own restorative story to offer approaches to implementing and embedding restorative practice. I highly recommend this book to all adults who touch the lives of young people and families.