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Use this Circle Facilitator Guide to discuss needs, problem solving, and feedback within your community, team, school, organization, or group and practice a method for Restorative problem solving and brainstorming using a fishbowl-style circle.

Welcome to the Space of the Circle.

  • MINDFULNESS MOMENT Pause, breathe, and listen to the sound

  • OPENING Land Acknowledgement Visit for more info.

  • INTRODUCE "ROUNDS" A "round" is a pass of the talking piece around the Circle. The keeper poses a question and, as a participant, may answer first. The keeper then passes the talking piece to the person to their left or right (or names the next person over Zoom). On the first round, participants are invited to say their name and pronouns as well as respond to the question. Remember, it is always okay for a participant to pass.

  • Remind the group of Circle values and guidelines. These can be ones established in previous circles or be created new each time with new participants. Some helpful sharing guidelines may include:

    • Share what you feel comfortable sharing.

    • Respect the talking piece

    • You can pass at any time.

    • Be mindful of time.

    • Respect the privacy of those sharing.

    • Trust intent/name impact

    • Use “I” statements

    • Speak from the heart/listen from the heart

    • Be here now

    • Prioritize connection before content

    • Be both teachers and learners

    • Have fun!

  • ROUND Why is it important that you are here right now?

  • ROUND Share a current need or problem within your community (organization, team, school, personal, etc.).

  • ROUND Describe a way your community currently works to (re)solve problems or generate new ideas.

  • ROUND How do you seek out feedback?

  • ROUND How do you respond to feedback?

  • LEARNING ACTIVITY Review concepts of circle practices and introduce fishbowl circles


    • Presentation of a problem or issue - 3 interrupted minutes to describe the problem and let the group know the need

    • Group has 10 minutes to give feedback. Feedback should be in the form of a declarative statement, not a question.

      • The group may ask clarifying questions, but this should not be the focus

      • The volunteer does not interrupt, just listens and take notes

    • Volunteer has 2 minutes to reflect on what they heard and let the group know one or two things they are going to try

  • CHECK-OUT ROUND Share one word or a short phrase for how you are feeling right now?


The truth is that you cannot build community without conflict. The issue is not to be without conflict, but to be able to resolve conflict, and the commitment to community is what gives us the inspiration to come up with ways to resolve conflict.

- bell hooks

“The Beloved Community”

  • Thank everyone for participating in the Circle!

Problem-Solving Circle adapted from Professional learning group talking and facilitation points. (2015). International Institute for Restorative Practices.

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