The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

The student news site of Kingwood Park High School

KP TIMES

New Tuesday circle time effective when done right

Aiden+Gibson%2C+9%2C+laughs+with+classmates+in+JROTC+during+fifth+as+the+students+participate+in+the+prompt+of+the+week+during+advisory+in+October.+The+mandated+time+each+week+to+have+class+discussions+about+bullying%2C+friendships+and+more+has+been+met+with+mixed+reactions+from+students.+
Jordan Hutchinson
Aiden Gibson, 9, laughs with classmates in JROTC during fifth as the students participate in the prompt of the week during advisory in October. The mandated time each week to have class discussions about bullying, friendships and more has been met with mixed reactions from students.

The new policy introducing a weekly Community Building lesson, mainly referred to as “circle time” has overall been beneficial for the student body when done correctly.

The weekly check-in allows students to all share their points of view. Circle time is designed to make sure everyone gets their voices heard on the topic and questions of the week. A “talking stick” is used to allow each member of the class to get a time to speak freely, with the expectation that everyone will be respectful and understanding.

Having everyone have the opportunity to talk without interruption helps fifth periods especially get to know everyone in the room. It also allows for teachers to have a good way to know where each of their fifth period kids are at, with circle time often starting with a simple question geared as a check-in as a group.

Circle time is also good for taking time each Tuesday to destigmatize taboo topics among teens. Having an open conversation about feelings and life is good for anyone. In a 2021 study by the CDC, 42% of students felt consistently sad or hopeless, one third of teens experienced poor mental health, and more than 1 in 5 students seriously considering suicide. Circle time allows for some much needed time to talk about things students may not otherwise have the opportunity to.

The main issue with the implementation of circle time is the gaps in how or if classes are doing it. It would be more effective if the whole school participated in it every week. Right now, there is varying experience with circle time, with many students dreading those thirty minutes, others looking forward to it, and some never experiencing it yet. The only way students become comfortable with these group conversations about taboo topics to help build community, is through repeated practice of a safe environment.

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