Circle talk

This strategy will help students to:

  • share ideas and opinions and develop respect for others' opinions.


  1. Place students in two concentric circles (one circle within the other). This structure facilitates dialogue between students.

  2. Have students sit or stand facing each other to encourage active listening between partners.

  3. Pose a scenario, question or issue for students to consider and discuss. 

  4. Allow thinking time of 15 - 30 seconds.

  5. Nominate the inside circle to start. Students in that circle share their response with their partner who listens and ask questions. Allow 30 seconds - 1 minute for sharing time. 

  6. When students in the inside circle have finished sharing, the outside circle shares their thoughts with their partner.

  7. Have the outside circle rotate one or two places to the left or right. The discussion process is then repeated using either the same or new question.

  8. To debrief, discuss the ideas produced during the circle talk. List any questions that students identified to generate further learning.


  • If the class is large in number it may help to run two circle talks. This will allow the strategy to be varied by swapping the outside circles from each circle talk.

  • To avoid pairing students who will not talk or may argue, manipulate the move on instruction so that these students do not face each other. This intervention will not single the students out.

  • If there are uneven numbers of students in the group, place two students together in the outside circle to act as one person. This variation also works well with special needs students as they can be paired with a more capable or supportive student.