P. Wolf R, Rickard J.A.. 2003. Talking circles: a Native American approach to experiential learning. Journal of Multicultural Counselling and Development. 31(1)


Presents talking circles as a novel approach to create cultural awareness within experiential learning processes

Geographic Focus: 


Key Findings: 

A brief history of the talking circle is presented, before outlining a detailed process for implementation. Talking circles are essentially an individual and group process of reflection where participants undertake an activity, after which feedback is elicited based on the experience. Talking circles are seen as a way to stimulate increased awareness and respect within groups. These processes are specifically intended to pass on diverse knowledges, but also to challenge deeply held values. Active listening or “listening with the heart” is encouraged.


Talking circles, in their original form, were a type of “parliamentary procedure,” although quite different to those exhibited in Western cultures. The intention was to create an environment in which differences could be discussed in a safe and open environment. One important aspect of these circles is the encouragement of diversity within the group, which increases opportunities for learning. However such learning opportunities are made possible by fostering respect for individual differences and enhancing group cohesion. Effective facilitation is therefore an important element of this type of learning.