Circle Sharing can encourage students to feel secure and calm. It encourages healthy relationships amongst youth in their classrooms and schools that promotes “integration”. According to author and psychiatrist Dan Seigel when we integrate within relationships, we honour differences between ourselves and others, This promotes linkages through compassionate understanding and communication. Integration creates harmony.
Created for youth by youth, the following activities were designed to develop Heart-Centered Leadership. They are fun, interactive activities and games that increase awareness and emphasize behaviours to: get along with others, be compassionate and kind, solve problems peacefully, be secure and calm, and remain alert and engaged.
Group agreements (not rules!) help to create safe and caring spaces that will enhance any group activity. They serve as a set of clear, co-created guidelines to help participants feel comfortable with each other in an atmosphere of safety, respect and trust. Everyone shares the responsibility for the experience and once developed, a group can regularly re-visit the agreements to see if they are still working and make changes if issues come up.
How did a secondary school initiate a culture transformation that virtually eliminated calls to the office for disrespectful behaviour between students in the first 3 months? At John Oliver Secondary School in Vancouver, this radical shift involved several factors: fostered student leadership, informed staff and the following, simple activity that was the catalyst for actions leading to feelings of being respected, valued and safe.
To increase the understanding of how behaviours and attitudes impact others.
To highlight the similarities between students.
To recognize some of the factors which may influence feeling safe at school.
To encourage student-led changes in school culture.