Building exercisesThis is a good exercise for building community and for practicing active listening. The entire class sits in a circle, with every single person's face visible (nobody hidden behind anybody else).
- Students should come prepared because you will have mentioned the exercise the day before and told them what is expected of them.
- Ask for a volunteer to begin. That person will (for example) read her/ his favorite line from that week's reading and explain why it is a favorite. Or she/ he may explain why that line connects to her/ his own life.
- A person sitting next to the first speaker will then respond to that person's ideas, either by connecting to the line or the experiences, and will then read her/ his OWN favorite line and explain her/ his connection.
- The third person chooses between the first two speakers, connecting to one of them and explaining why, then giving another line and connection.
- The fourth person has three to choose from
- And so on around the whole room.
- This should take about an hour.During that time, nobody will interrupt or talk for a second time. The idea is to listen carefully to everybody in the room.
- The teacher may participate or may hold back. However, either during the exercise, when one person has been very brave about telling a personal story/ connection or afterwards, when the whole class has finished, the teacher should praise the class for their speaking, listening, and compassion.