Circles

Why circles? They are egalitarian and invite participation. They allow everyone to see and hear everyone else, unfettered by furniture or belongings. They allow greater access to our hearts and bodies, not just our heads. Circles are an ancient way to gather and share in a way that supports connection.

Cyndi Gueswel

I am drawn to circles.

I tend to doodle circles and spirals absentmindedly especially when in a meeting.

The inner circle label came from the idea of being in a wedding party. As an introvert it is often difficult to be in a social situation where I do not know the procedure. I like to know where I am going and who I am sitting with and what the expectations are for my behavior. When you’re in the inner circle you don’t have to feel like you’re on the outside. You feel like you belong.

I’m fascinated by silent circles, talking circles, and restorative circles. The quote above illustrates this point beautifully for me.

Another quote that resonates is :

You’re the average of the five people spend the most time with,” a quote attributed most often to motivational speaker Jim Rohn.

I’ve learned for this to be true in an influential way.

Think about sitting at a round table vs a rectangular table. I much prefer a round table especially for conversation. I must admit it reminds me of baby and wedding showers in a reception halls. The round tables are not coincidence — circles breed connection and conversation. I’m always searching for deep conversation even though at times I find it energy depleting rather than energy giving. I suppose this energy shift depends on the people and the conversation. Luckily, I’ve had deep conversations with one person and up to a small group of eight.

Some circles are implied but not physical like critique circles and writing circles. The element of connection is still there.

One of the newest components of an ELA program we are implementing at work is CREW. The idea of crew is that everyone has a job and no one is a passenger. We are all getting to the same destination but the experience is different if you are crew or just a passenger. It is a meeting with your class that is to foster relationships. All the students and the teacher stand in a circle and start the day with a greeting that involves their name. Every child deserves to have their name spoken in a positive tone every day. Then there is a team building activity or a shared reading so there can be talk. It helps everyone get to know each other.

What are the circles that are most energy giving to you? Do you use circles in your classroom?

2 thoughts on “Circles

  1. I love circles, too. Right now I’m in a shared classroom with rows of desks. Makes me a little crazy. We move the desks around a lot, but I really think that walking in and seeing those rows reminds the kids that this is school & this is what we do here – sit separately. Sigh. Circles are much nicer.

    Liked by 1 person

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