Circular Learning Spaces

A metaphor for

the circle of life…

community…

inclusiveness…

the recursive learning process…

timelessness…

Circles are important symbols in life.

circle

Circles are seen in schools, although they are usually not prevalent. Traditionally, circles are incorporated when students circle up to receive directions, share writing pieces, or work in groups. Whenever circles are used, it is a pivotal time.

Circles build communities.

circle3

Circles reflect natural elements in nature.

circle2

Circles signify connectedness.

circle4

Circles represent royalty.

crown

Even our brains are a circular shape!

brain

If circles are such an important in life, then why is education so square?

Rubrics

School IDs

Lunch trays

Computers

Desks

Doors

Education tells students they must fight nature and learn in an unnatural way. Education tells students they must fit in the prescribed box.

As opposed to traditional lecture style classrooms, circular learning spaces promote collaboration, increasing motivation and improving retention. Circular learning spaces have made appearances all over the world:

  • Southall School has implemented “Igloo Immersion” where students are surrounded by screens that can project images, recreating authentic learning experiences right in the classroom.
  • The Harvard Business School has implemented “Hives” due to a recent demand by businesses wanting employees who can collaborate and work in teams. The Hives consist of moveable chairs and round tables so students have real flexibility in their learning space.
  • In South Wales, students learn in a completely circular space, including the building, since 2009.

My classroom will incorporate spherical elements: share circles, cooperative learning groups, round tables. I may even incorporate circle drumming in the classroom.

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