Nine Ideas for a Reflection Circle


In a group, use a quote, a question, or a prompt to encourage conversation in a Reflection Circle. This conversation can be structured in many ways. Knowledge of context and participants should inform the format of the Reflection Circle.

• Free-form: allow conversation to flow organically

• Go-Rounds: Each participant speaks in turn, without interruption, responding to a question or giving a statement

• Mutual Invitation: Facilitator passes speaking privileges to one participant, who then passes to another, and another, until everyone has been given the opportunity to speak

1. Critical Incident

Each person should choose a significant event and write about it, describing it in detail. They should analyze the event, including their own role and the event’s impact. In a sense, this activity aligns with “What” and “So What.” Instruct the group to examine the written report for hidden assumptions and values.

2. Criteria Analysis

Consider how you know that someone is successful (in whatever way is relevant: in community engagement, as a leader, as a community memberm business owner …) and to list clear, directly observable, noncliche criteria. These benchmarks for success or failure may seem objective but are based on our values and can reveal our values. Modification: Instead of asking explicitly for criteria, you can ask: When did you feel successful? Who among your colleagues do you admire? Who have you observed that you admire? Why?

3. Core Reporting

Ask participants to identify 1-3 words to describe the event, their emotions, or their learning. Then dig deeper using reflection questions.

4. Free Write

With or without a prompt, allow participants 1-5 minutes to write as much as they can. Encourage participants to explore and see where their stream of consciousness wanders.

5. Image Identification

Provide a diverse set of images (of anything- people, actions, nature, color, abstract…) From a set of images, participants should choose one that best expresses their motivation, emotions, or experience and explain why.

6. Reflection Tree

Ask participants to draw a tree and label the parts as follows: Roots are values, people, beliefs that influence you. The bark is the different issues you care about and things you are working towards. Branches are the steps you must take to act on these issues.

7. Accountability Go-Rounds

If you meet periodically, ask each participant to identify one action they can take before the next meeting to continue their learning. At the next meeting, require reports on what they did and how it went

8. Persuasion

Write an editorial or letter of request to a public figure. You can choose whether or not to send the letter, as the deepest reflection occurs simply in writing it.

9. Pop Culture Connections

Identify a song, book, or film that represents your experience and your growth



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