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Restorative Practices:

The Power of Circles

--For Teachers, Students and Families--

SCED 516
Jordan Peterson
What are RP circles?

A circle is a versatile restorative practice that can be

used proactively, to develop relationships and build
community or reactively, to respond to wrongdoing,
conflicts and problems. Circles give people an
opportunity to speak and listen to one another in an
atmosphere of safety, decorum and equality.

(IIRP, 2017)
Why are they important?

Social Disciplinary
CIRCLES: Ideas and Values
Equality-Equal seating

Safety and trust- you can see everyone in the circle, nothing is hidden

Responsibility- everyone has a chance to play a role

Facilitation-reminds the leader to facilitate rather than lecture

Ownership- Collectively, the participants feel the circle is theirs

Connections- everyone is being heard and listened to

(IIRP, 2017)

-More freely structured
-Structured around topics or questions
raised by the circle facilitator -Open for more conversations
-Encourages more listening and less Turn and Talk/Pair Shares
Problem-solving circles-may simply be
-Empowers the quiet student focused around an issue that is to be
solved but allow anyone to speak. One
-No give for back and forth arguing
person in the group may record the
groups ideas or decisions (IIRP, 2017)
In circles students, teachers, disciplinarians, administration, staff and
parents express themselves in ways they rarely do otherwise. The
perspectives, facts and stories shared in the circle cultivate empathy
and influence behavior.
(B. Costello, J. Watchell and T. Watchell, 2010)
How does this apply for School Counselors?
Building relationships (student and staff)
Applicable for academic, personal/social, college/career groups
Restorative practices
Parent meetings
Use during lessons
Circle Activity Ideas for Students
New student (name games)
Ice breakers
Classroom climate (temperature taking)
Academic circles (socratic seminars, math, writing, reading)
Fun circle questions: http://jimhough.com/cf/ibquestions.html
Circles for Teachers/Staff
Staff Meetings
Problem solving with students
Build staff climate
Fishbowl activity
Conflicts with teachers
Costello, B., Wachtel, J., & Wachtel, T. (2010). Restorative Circles in Schools: Building Community and Enhancing Learning.
Bethlehem, PA: International Institute for Restorative Practices.

International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) | Graduate education & professional development for
education, criminal justice, social services, pastoral and other professionals. (n.d.). Retrieved February 24, 2017, from

The Power of the Circle. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from