Why do I use Inside/Outside Circles?

Inside/Outside Circles is an active cooperative learning strategy that activates students’ higher cognition and gets them in dialogue with one another.  It is a strategy that engages all students simultaneously and creates an opportunity for students to pair up with classmates with whom they may rarely work.  It also allows the teacher to spontaneously increase or decrease both the time and the number of different student pairings that occur.  It is great for spurring class discussions and as an ice-breaker.

How do I use Inside/Outside Circles?

The teacher forms two concentric circles, each with the same same number of students. Students in the inside circle face a partner standing in the outside circle.  Students from the inside circle to share something with their partner and then students reverse roles, allowing the students on the outside circle share with their partner.  In this activity, teacher controls the duration of the sharing.  This can be done via a timer or verbal cues.


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