The Circle’s Version of Good Behavior

Found conversation on Twitter made me think and respond here. More on Circles in future entries (Story below is about a Proactive Circle in the Growing Examples http://growingexamples.org  Conflict Resolution Program).

https://twitter.com/snowdropbooks : RP [Restorative Practice] in Education ‘not working’ when we assume adults/teachers know how to behave in a circle. They need training too.

https://twitter.com/WMQPEP : I don’t always behave well in a circle, hence inclusive circles are important

https://twitter.com/snowdropbooks : Whose (adult/child/SEN/etc) version of ‘good’ behaviour takes precedence in the circle…?

Answer: It is the circle’s version of good behavior that presides. 

A Circle is a forum for open dialogue where each participant in the circle is responsible for the success of the circling process. The rules of any circle that I facilitate are Listen Participate Respect, LPR. The Circle collectively knows when these are not occurring. It is important for the facilitator to wait for participants to remind one another of those rules. Some participants will speak up for full participation, and will request that listening occur. In what ways can I encourage the Circle to be the facilitator?

Story: In the Growing Examples Conflict Resolution Program designed for 
Middle School students, we Circle (we sit with our chairs in a circle). We begin each 
program with a Circle question. Each member of the Circle must answer the question, and must listen while others respond. If, as we go around with our answers, there are members of the Circle that are not listening, or are talking amongst themselves
we START OVER. As the facilitator, I often call for us to start over the first time, 
but by the second or third do-over, it is other Circle members that tell one another to Listen, to Participate and to Respect.

As a Circle facilitator, I can hold my tongue for that few extra moments, so that the Circle can respond before I do.

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