Technique - Circle Of Objects

An exercise that respectfully acknowledges the varieties of cultural heritage and introduces visual and kinesthetic elements into a discussion.


  • Ask each person to bring in an object that reflects something about their ancestry, cultural heritage, class background, or other feature you wish to illuminate.
  • Explain the purpose of he exercise and how it will work. Give them several days to choose their object and consider their response.


  • Arrange the chairs in a circle, with a low table in the center.
  • Invite each person, one at a time, to place their object on the table and to talk about its links to their culture.

Tip: Consider speaking first yourself, to model the act of self-disclosure and a time guideline of two or three minutes. After that, let the students rise and speak in whatever order they wish. Honor the silence between speakers.

This exercise was adapted from Brookfield and Preskill, who adapted it from the Fetzer Institute.