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Volume 3, Number 2, February 2003

Teaching and Learning in Circle
(Page 9 of 9)


Circles can profoundly impact the way we teach and learn. Circles are not a panacea. The Circle format will not replace a solid curriculum, judicious choice of reading material and thorough preparation on the part of teachers and students. It can, and does – take a very good learning experience and make it better. After twenty-one years I think I am starting to "get it".

The fact that everyone is so close that they can cry in front of twenty people and so attached that at the end of only one school year we can share our hopes and congratulations towards each member of the group is a tremendous accomplishment. There wouldn’t have been enough time in the whole day to finish our last checkout today. There were so many emotions felt this year that we could have shared them forever. The learning experience that was introduced by practicing circles has made an indelible impression among all of us. We will never forget this way of communicating… (student evaluation, June 2002)


[1 ] Lewis, A Grief Observed. P.

[2 ] Draft Book on Peace Making Circles. Kay Pranis, Barry Stuart, Mark Wedge. February 2002. (unpublished)

[3 ] Senge, Peter et. al. Schools That Learn. Doubleday 2000.p.22

[4 ] for a more complete assessment see "Schools that Learn pp. 30-58,

[5 ] Rhea Miller, Cloudhand Clenched Fist, p.29

[6 ] Schools that Learn p.55

[7 ] from the MSJA website

[8 ] from the Cambridge College Website

[9 ] Minnesota Department of Corrections

[10 ] ibid.

[11 ] from the ROCA website

[12 ] Edsel, Draft: ROCA Circle Work November 1999-June 2001

[13 ] For a more complete discussion of inquiry/advocacy see The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge. (pp.195-198)

[14 ] Miller, Rhea. Cloudhand Clenched Fist . Innisfree Press p.31

[15 ] Lanham, Richard.


Thanks are due to my wife Jennifer who read this paper in many formats, edited it, and helped it begin to make sense. If there is a good sentence in here it is Jennifer’s.

To my Circle mentors: Molly Baldwin, Saroeum Phong, Anisha Chablani, Barry Stuart, Kay Pranis, Harold Gatensby, Don Johnson, Gwen Chandler-Rhivers, Mark Wedge and the young people of ROCA

To the administration of Mount Saint Joseph Academy and Cambridge College who have not only been open to Circles, but have encouraged and nurtured the process.

And to all of the learners, young and not-so-young of Mount Saint Joseph Academy and Cambridge College without whom….

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