Building Exercises

This 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). 
  1. Students should come prepared because you will have mentioned the exercise the day before and told them what is expected of them.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The third person chooses between the first two speakers, connecting to one of them and explaining why, then giving another line and connection.
  5. The fourth person has three to choose from
  6. And so on around the whole room.
  7.  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.
  8. 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.


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