Connections Quarterly Winter 2019 - Restorative Practices - Page 21

C I R C L E PRAC TI C E are typically unaware of how much stress impacts their actions and thoughts. Many schools have become places without much joy. The structure of the circle process helps us to slow down and reduce that stress, mak- ing schools a place where joy is possible. kind of space. The talking piece slows down dialog to create a more reflective and less reactive interaction among participants. Participants do not have to be quick with their words. They can take the time to pull thoughts together, accessing more com- plex thinking. Circle is Optimal for Delivering Social-Emotional Skills In that SLOW DOWN students and educa- tors can breathe more deeply, become more aware of what is going on inside themselves, and respond to whatever is said more thoughtfully and with greater depth and insight. Anxiety decreases and clear reasoning increases. A high school math teacher found after his first circle that it slowed everything down and significantly decreased the math anxiety his students were experiencing. Reduced anxiety is not just healthier and more pleasant, it supports more efficient learning. Circle practice is also an extremely efficient way to deliver social-emotional learning. Every circle, regardless of its purpose (cel- ebration, learning, community building, healing, or conflict resolution), is building social-emotional skills. The slower pace of circle helps participants be more aware of their own internal dialog—the feelings and thoughts going through them. Because participants cannot speak without the talk- ing piece, less of the brain is tied up think- ing about what to say in response to the current speaker and more of the brain is available to listen and notice the internal dialog of self. All too often stress is shaping the behavior of both educators and students, and both “ When a participant has the talking piece, they have the time to put feelings and thoughts into words without rushing, in- creasing their ability to notice and articulate feelings. In the collective process partici- pants get to hear others talk about feelings which expands the vocabulary of the listen- ers and imagery for expressing their own feelings. Hearing the feelings of others in- creases empathy as long as the listener does Every circle, regardless of its purpose (celebra- tion, learning, commu- nity building, healing, or conflict resolution), is building social- emotional skills. ” CSEE Connections Continues on page 20 Winter 2019 Page 19