C. J. Consulting and Services

Claire J. Salkowski, Principal Consultant


The Use of Circles

Circles are based on an assumption of positive potential. Circles also assume that by sharing diverse perspectives we can come closer to understanding the complete picture of the issue and those involved. Sharing individual perspectives, wisdom and experience creates a collective understanding that is much greater than the sum of its parts.

 

Peacemaking Circles

Circles are used in schools or organizations to help create positive climates and resolve conflict or behavior problems. They are also used in schools to deal with conflict among school members or families especially when groups are involved.

  • Peacemaking circles provide a way to bring people together to have difficult conversations and to work through conflict or differences.
  • Based on practices of aboriginal peoples throughout the world and used today as a restorative justice practice.
  •  Circles are based on the assumption of positive potential and collective wisdom.
  • Sharing individual perspectives, wisdom and experience creates a collective understanding that is much greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Everyone in the circle is equal and has an opportunity to speak and be heard.
  • Decisions are made by consensus and everyone commits to working toward a common goal.
  • Everyone agrees to abide by guidelines established by the group and based on shared values.
  • Peacemaking Circles are convened by circle keepers or facilitators who participate in the process and monitor the process.

Types of Peacemaking Circles

There are numerous types of Peacemaking Circles depending on the needs of the group or the direct purpose for calling a Circle. In the school or classroom Circles can be used to :

  • Discuss a particular topic of interest
  • Bring understanding about a particular incident or event

  •  Explore Character Traits

  • Solve specific problems

  •  Resolve conflicts

  • Develop social skills

  • Build community

  • Celebrate or honor some accomplishment

  • Plan an event or project

  • Teach and learn about a particular content

  • Run staff meetings or parent groups

It is important to understand the purpose of the Circle in order to plan accordingly. At times various purposes will overlap, but generally it should clear what the intent of the Circle is. Once the process is understood and practiced, students and teachers alike may find many more uses for Circles.


Contact us to find out about conducting a Circle for your school, class or group or for training on how to conduct Circles for the classroom