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Sample Circle script, a guideline that does not replace training

Mar 16, 2011

from Kris Miner's entry in Restorative Justice and Circles

I have always been resistant to scripts.  When someone is in converstaion with you, do they read from a paper?  Reading is best for with children on our laps and from books.

However, in order to teach the process and have others do it, you need to give some examples.  So I am sharing a sample script.  Each Circle is unique, the questions used should be unique.  The shell or outer rim (values, 4 stages, talking piece, open/close) should be the same.  The contents swirl within.  The experience should be like a labyrinth going in deep to conversation and coming back out.

....When you “keep” a Circle you are making a committment to guide the process.  Knowing and understanding the approach in a manner that you can be flexible to the needs of the Circle, requires a deep understanding of the philosophy.  Training is crucial, being a participant in Circle is necessary to achieve the deep understanding.

The sample script:

....Step 1. Getting Acquainted: The conference has four parts.  The first part is getting acquainted and we will do that by identifying our values.

  • I am going to pass out paper plates and ask you to think of someone who is really important to you.
  • After you think of the person, think of the one quality or characteristic that makes that relationship go so well, without this ONE thing, it just wouldn’t be the same.  Please write that ONE thing on the plate, using these markers.

....Step 2. Building Relationships: The second part of the Circle is to spend some time learning more about each other.  I am going to ask that you relate a story from your life, so we can build our relationship to each other.

  • Can you share a time that someone was REALLY there for you?  What was happening in your life, what did you need and what did this person do for you?

Step 3. Addressing Issues: The next part is the topic or issue phase. 

  • Have you ever experienced someone being mean to you, or addressing you in an angry manner?  Tell the story and share how you felt in that experience.
  • What do you do to make sure you are not being rude to others?

Step 4. Taking Action:

  • The final stage of Circle is to look back on what we have done, to all provide feedback on what we experienced together.
  • What did you learn here today, is there something you will do different to improve the community and your relationship to others?

Read the whole entry.

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