It has been two month since I started my journey with community circles and just over three using it with my own daughter and it has been amazing.
For those that are new to reading this blog post in August I was introduced to Dr Green’s book, explosive child and lost at school. His book mentions many strategies to deal with trouble students. He calls for collaborative problem solving model. It is a model that works both on solving the problem but teaching students the skills to change their behaviours. The book predominately deals with those “troubled” students; however the more I read the more I realized that this strategy is best for all students and so my journey began.
At least once a week we as a class have a community circle. In this circle we discuss how the week has gone and if any problems have occurred. At times we have spent more it all depends on what is needed and how severe the problems are. It has allowed my students to feel like they are a part of the classroom and have a place inside of it. When I say that they are in charge of their learning it is true they are and they know it.
Community circles have also given me a time to voice my concerns in a positive manner. If something was bothering me as a teacher I can address it. Now you may say can’t you do that anyways and the answer would be yes but now its not me lecturing and telling them but voicing a concern that I have. Because I have let them tell me their issues, they have more respect for mine. In addition to this we as a class solve them and it isn’t just me lecturing them about what I expect.
At home my daughter’s episodes have calmed down. She has now been able to communicate her feelings. I get more “Daddy, I am tired and need to rest!” or “Daddy, I am getting hungry can I please have a snack?” At the same time, my partner and I are able to recognize certain situations or her triggers. We avoid those situations so that her episodes don’t happen.
If you haven’t read this book or started Community Circles and Collaborative Problem Solving I highly recommend that you too. It will change your practise and your life.