When explaining the talking piece I talk about equal opportunity, because it will be going around the entire Circle. I speak to sharing, explaining I am looking for a word or phrase. I also move deeper and explain the second stage, looking for a paragraph or two. A skilled Circle teacher I know will even address it kindly and inclusively outside of Circle. Sheâ€™ll approach the student, state her observation (without judgement) â€I noticed we didnâ€™t get to hear any of your stories, maybe next timeâ€ or state that she hopes to hear these.
The next thing I teach and train, is to monitor the emotional climate, making it safe for everyone to share. I am a firm believer in role modeling and honoring the talking piece as the keeper. If not, you are not promoting that equality and equity that a Circle provides. The Circle does the work, not the facilitator, and facilitator is specifically a word I do not use. If people pass or elect not to share. In a respectful way, I reframe a bit, â€œhereâ€™s a question we can all answerâ€. Donâ€™t move on without engagement of the entire Circle. Create safe space. Always create safe space.
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