The Solution Circle

The Solution Circle is the framework for a 30 minute collaborative problem-solving session that can be a highly effective way of generating creative and practical plans for a previously “stuck” problem. The Head Teachers in our group today said they are definitely going to use this technique in future staff and governor meetings and may even teach it to their pupils.

Today Clare and I ran a Solution Circle training session for Head Teachers and their Special Needs Coordinators. They found it inspiring and useful and will be using this technique in staff and governors’ meetings and may even teach the method to their pupils.For a while now we have been using the 30 minute  Solution Circle technique in our Behaviour Support Team as an effective approach when we are stuck with how to move forward with a piece of work, be it casework or another work issue.

Recently, we offered a session on Solution Circles to Head Teachers and this has proved to be a popular workshop.

This afternoon, we modelled the 30 minute approach, discussed the experience with the participants and then just had time for them to run a Solution Circle of their own, with our support.

Solution Circles is a 30 minute Creative Problem Solving Process designed by  Marsha Forest and Jack Pearpoint of the Marsha Forest Centre in Canada. It is ideal for busy people!

The approach assumes and demonstrates that nearby people – in any community or work place have the capacity to help – if asked. It requires a person to ASK – not an easy thing in our culture of privacy and “do it alone”. This tool puts all the values we espouse into practice and demonstrates that TOGETHER WE’RE BETTER .

The first problem offered by a member of our group today was about an 8 year-old boy with challenging behaviour that included physical and verbal aggression towards staff and other pupils and running out of school. The problem offered for the second session was that of the difficult relationship between one of the Head Teachers and her Caretaker who shows little initiatve and, although willing to comply to requests, does not do a satisfactory job in many ways.

Interestingly, the solutions suggested by our group and selected by the “problem owning” Head were subtly different from those already tried, even though each problem presenter felt beforehand that they had exhausted all possibilities.

Participants expressed satisfaction at how efficiently the 30 minutes was used and how much they gained from the use of the Solution Circle framework.

This evening I spoke to my engineer husband about the Solution Circle technique and he claimed that they already use teachniques very similar to this n his workplace. However, when I asked, “Does everyone remain silent for 6 minutes whilst the problem is presented?” he answered, “No” and the same response was given to my question, “Does the problem presenter remain silent when creative suggestions are being given?” He says he may give it a try.

I learnt the Solution Circle technique from friend and one time team psychologist Colin Newton and his colleague Derek Wilson, who run the organisation Inclusive Solutions. I have also benefitted from other training they offer such as workshops on Circles of Adults and Inclusion and would highly recommend their workshops and courses to anyone who wants their thinking challenged and developed. Take a look at their website for inspiration.

Next week, we are running this workshop for another group of Head Teachers and their Special Needs/Inclusion Coordinators. We are all looking forward to a fun session!

Now read: Golden Time – My Heart Sinks.

Image Credits: wwarby

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>