In our classroom, we use a conversation circle. I use it as a time to clarify things from my perspective and allow students to speak about what they would like to do. At other times, we talk about upcoming events. Today in the conversation circle, each student introduced themselves to the group, which seems like a small thing, but sometimes goes unattended in classrooms. I also asked the students about what they want for complementary courses. This is an outgrowth of the conversation circles we held last year. Students want a voice in their learning.
We use a ‘talking stick.’ The person with the ‘talking stick’ is the speaker and others listen. In an era of digital technologies, the stick reinforces a protocol of face-to-face conversation which we increasingly need in our world. The ‘talking stick’ was a gift from a parent last year. She is a member of a First Nation so it has some traditional meaning attached to its design.
The wood is driftwood which came from a local lake and reflects nature’s contributions to the circle. Someone carved a bear head into the top of the stick. In some traditions, the bear symbolizes courage, freedom, and power. The feather is from a hawk. Hawks are visionary and guide the person. The coloured ribbons represent the four directions in the circle. The parent attached a medicine bag. The medicine bag heals, guides and protects, and has materials or objects of value to its carrier.