Learning Inquiry Harvest: Council Circles

From the CIP Learning Inquiry, in participants' own words...

+ I have found the Council Circle to be the area in which I have the richest participation. The structure of the small group with a focused question really ignites for me contribution and inquiry of shared meaning.
- I've found it difficult (intimidating?) to respond to the topics in the Council Circles. I didn't seem to connect to any of the four topics so I didn't feel compelled to say anything.
- Though I only entered a response to the first Council Circle, my experience was/is, that what's shared is just left "hanging" there. There is not much feeling of connection, responsiveness, or awareness of how others are receiving/hearing/learning from what I (or others) share. I appreciated reading what others shared, but even then, I was not engaged enough by it to initiate more reflection or seek deeper understanding of the common threads on my own. While there are interesting stories and insights in the Council Circle, I do not feel that I actually know the individuals any better.
+ I enjoy the Council Circle because it's more intimate. I feel as though I'm getting to know the folks in my circle and as I think about it, it makes me feel safer.
+ My early experience with the Council Circle was that they were very low energy and seemed not to enjoy any synergy. However, by the final round, I experienced a true flow and synergy in our sequence of responses, almost like we had become one mind.
+ When speaking in Council Circle you get a sense that you are/will be more fully heard by each member of the group. In the other forums folks may or may not drop in, you have no real way of know if they have heard silently or not.
+ While the Circles and Open Space offer opportunity to discuss a specific topic, the time limit of the circles places an immediacy on your participation. The concept of taking your turn with the "Talking Stick" is wonderful and reinforces you to reflect on the words of others and to consider your comments mindfully before responding.
+ I like the rhythm of the circle.
+ The stillness of the Council Circle is profoundly important to me. It has enabled me to think deeply about what I do and I have really appreciated the care and the depth of other people's responses.
- The questions were well plowed ground for me. I've been thinking about these questions for the last few years and I wasn't very energized by their content.
- It was disappointing to have such a light response from my Council Circle each time, because it's hard to visualize who's there and feel connected to them.
- For me, the absences in my Council Circle were so evident that it felt as if the circle were broken.
- What was present, was some pretty thoughtful, self-disclosing, and impactful statements by members of my circle. What left a big hole in the experience was being unable to acknowledge and be acknowledged. I don't mean a conversation, but an opportunity to do the equivalent of leaning in, saying "a ho " or a good laugh when someone offered something humorous.
- I am wondering if something could be changed and/or added to the circles that would encourage some amount of reacting/responding. For example, maybe before a new round/new question begins in the Council Circle we would do some sharing of impact, what we've heard, etc.
+ I appreciated most, the frequent, gentle reminders to listen with our hearts. I needed that context. I was moved by some contributions and interested in others. I learned about the levels of maturity of my collaborators, for these Council Circle contributions are revealing. Listening is a talent that was exercised, here.

From the 1996 Awakening Technology Community of Inquiry and Practice (CIP)
Content and Groupware Design 1996 Awakening Technology.

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From www.awakentech.com on 05/23/2024 ---- item last modified on 05/31/1997.