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How to run a successful talking circle

Talking Circles are simple and you only need a couple things in order for them to be successful

  • A talking piece - any item that can be passed or tossed. This can be something symbolic to the group, or something playful like a squishy ball.

  • A physical space that accommodates the entire group to sit side by side in a circle either in chairs or on the floor  - For younger students, a rug to sit on is ideal, but chairs can also be placed around a group of tables if this makes the process easier. See our post: Talking Circles - Options for Physical Space.

  • A facilitator who leads the discussion and ensures that expectations are being followed - the facilitator in the classroom is generally the teacher, although students can take turn facilitating as well. See our post: Talking Circles - A Description of Expectations.

  • Adequate time for a talking circle to take place - generally the more often a talking circle takes place, the less time is needed. See our post: Talking Circles - Types of Talking Circles. 

  • A prompt - this can be any topic of discussion and should be age-specific. The most common prompt when doing talking circles in classrooms is a simple check-in. See our post: Talking Circles - Prompt Ideas.


*** 3 Tips on how to run a successful talking circle:

1. Be sure that the group is clear about, and has agreed on,

expectations before the talking circle starts

2. As a group, decide how to ensure that the expectations will be respected (including what the consequences are if they are not respected).

3. Be sure that the expectations are followed;

this is the responsibility of the facilitator.

If expectations are followed,

the success of the taking circle will happen naturally.


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