Students learn to facilitate restorative circles< More Stories
“Circles are beneficial because they allow everybody to have an opinion and everyone listens respectfully and learns to respect one another,” Kristyn Jeckells, a child and youth care student, explains. “Circles teach us how to respect people when they are speaking.”
Circles are used as part of an ongoing routine in the classroom where participants are invited to sit in a circle and engage in discussions meant to ensure each member of the classroom feels seen, heard and respected. Discussions are guided by a facilitator who asks open-ended questions, ensuring each participant has the opportunity to speak and be heard, using a talking object to guide discussions. After the circles become part of the routine of the classroom, when students have learned to trust each other and the purpose of the circle, they can be used to deal with conflict in a respectful and collaborative way.
In the workshop, students were trained to facilitate the circles and then given the opportunity for some hands-on practice, breaking into smaller circles where they took turns leading the discussions.
Jeckells is excited to have received training in facilitating circles not just because it will assist in her future career in social services, but because she can see wider applications for them.
“It’s incredibly beneficial. Sometimes we come into situations where we don’t know how to approach communication every day,” she says. “In any group, if there is conflict, a circle allows us to approach that in a different and respectful way.”
Photos: (Top) Students practice facilitating their own circles. (Bottom) Sharon Steinhauer explains the ways circles can be used in restorative practice.