How to Bring Listening Circles to Your Class

Listening Circles are a simple and effective tool for building community and fostering communication skills in the classroom. By providing a safe and respectful space for students to share their thoughts and feelings, Listening Circles can help students build trust and empathy and develop active listening skills.

To start a Listening Circle in your class, you will need simple materials: a comfortable space for students to sit, some cushions or mats for comfort, and a talking piece (such as a stone or a special object) to be passed around the circle.

Before starting the Listening Circle, explain to your students the purpose and structure of the activity. Ensure that they understand that the talking piece will be passed around the circle and that whoever holds it has the floor to speak. Remind students to listen attentively and respect each other’s opinions and feelings.

Once the students are seated in the circle, explain the ground rules. For example, you might explain that:
 No interruptions are allowed
 Everyone must listen attentively
 Respectful language must be used
 Confidentiality is important
Next, invite students to take turns sharing their thoughts and feelings about a particular topic or issue. You can start with questions like “What are you grateful for today?” or “What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced this week?”

As the students take turns speaking, creating an atmosphere of non-judgment and respect is important. Encourage students to listen without interrupting and to respond with empathy and understanding. Listening Circles are a great way to help students build trust and develop active listening skills. In addition, they can be used as a tool for problem-solving and conflict resolution or to build community and foster communication skills in the classroom.

Try incorporating Listening Circles into your class routine and watch your students become more confident and empathetic communicators.

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