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This isn’t just about sitting in a circle and gabbing. There are parameters, and strategies, to make circles work.
Usually circles involve a talking stick, to prevent people from speaking out of turn, or more importantly, without mindfulness.
Circles move in one direction, again, to achieve inclusiveness and good flow. Usually circles involve listening more than talking–because the foundation of council (in the Aboriginal tradition) is to listen with your whole heart to your community, and to develop patience and tolerance.
I liked the examples in this book–Jack and Virginia have worked with this format in large and small groups, with young children and elders, and with folks across different cultures. I learned of this methodology long ago and have used them in my organization and in my various communities.
It’s a classic–I found it a decade ago and still find myself re-reading and referencing today.