Case Study: Talking Circle

In order for the teachers at our school to help build a community of responsible citizens, we are offering trainings on how to conduct Talking Circles in the classroom. The circles are designed to help the students connect with their teacher and with each other. So far, the students have revealed they are dealing with a variety of issues: death, divorce, a relative wrongly imprisoned, discord with family members, attempted suicide, etc. The school’s psychiatric social worker has followed-up to offer counseling services and other resources for added support.

Ms. Walker, who teaches Spanish, reports:

"We used three prompts: pick a country you'd like to live in; would you rather be smart, athletic, or good-looking; what is the best part about being a teenager and being a boy or a girl. Everyone was relaxed and interacted with each other positively; students that didn't usually interact did - it felt as if we were one group. Today's lesson ran very smoothly; there was a very calm feeling amongst the students; they are usually talkative before the bell rings and instead they came into class in a very calm manner. One girl who has not been very engaged in class was much more engaged in today's academic lesson. I was able to connect yesterday's circle to our discussion today about using adjectives in Spanish. In my opinion, this process will make a big difference in the class; the key is to continue doing it on a regular basis."