Tags: classroom strategies, montessori practices, montessori strategies

The High School Discussion Circle

Teens know it will be a great day when their Literature, Humanities, or sometimes Science Guide tells them to prepare the classroom for a discussion circle. A classroom that typically simulates an office working environment with black conference tables and chairs is suddenly transformed by excited teenagers into a place for deep and meaningful discussions on literary texts, historical accounts, or scientific articles. Tables are pushed to the sides of the classroom, while chairs are carefully placed in the middle to form a circle.

Once a participant enters this discussion circle, strict rules are followed: 

  1. Everyone must have a copy of the text being discussed. 
  2. Participants should not be holding or playing with anything else that distracts them from listening and contributing to the discussion, and 
  3. Treat everyone with grace and courtesy.

Participants need not raise their hands as they are encouraged to speak up and speak freely, but they must make sure that when they speak, they speak to everyone else with respect. Imagine a 13 year-old knowing citing the literary text to prove their point - isn’t it exciting? This is a wonderful exercise for the teens to develop and improve on their reasoning skills, their oral communication, and perhaps most importantly, their ability to use their voice in a community whose goal is to arrive at the truth together.

- Ku Hermanos

discussion circle