“Jenny Mosley’s Circle Time approaches when widely used, enable young people to develop the skills to negotiate, listen and respond with empathy, as well as to express themselves and solve problems … in the best practice young people were taught and encouraged to be highly aware of their own behaviour …” Ofsted research 2009.
In order for schools and early years settings to get to know their pupils, listening systems need to be developed. The Quality Circle Time model provides much-needed time and space for children to be in an ’emotionally safe’ place, with people whom they know and trust, to learn how to listen, respect other people and express how they feel. This model provides three different listening systems in school for pupils. Jenny Mosley’s Listening Systems include:
Circle Time is a listening system for the whole class, everyone takes turns to speak during a speaking round and often an object is passed round to denote somebody’s turn. With this listening system, children and young people can say ‘pass’ and not speak if they wish, and pupils can be praised for good listening within the listening system. This listening system is also great for practicing turn-taking, group problem-solving, enjoying group games and can be used to help deliver the SEAL curriculum, PSHE, SMSC, British Values and mental health and wellbeing. Quality Circle Time as a listening system can also help develop pupil voice, as when pupils learn how to listen attentively, others can simultaneously learn how to speak with more confidence and pupil voice can be heard more clearly.
“… common worries and problems can be discussed in weekly circle time sessions before they grow into more serious wellbeing or mental health risks. The teacher leads the discussion in a calm and respectful environment which allows the whole class to think together …” Mental Health and Behaviour in schools. DfE March 2016
Bubble Time and Talk Time for primary and secondary pupils respectively, are different listening systems as they do not involve the whole class. In many settings, pupils can request Bubble Time or Talk Time when they can sit with an appropriate teacher or adult and speak about something that they do not wish to speak to the whole class about – this may be at a desk at the side of the room while the others are working or at a break time when the classroom is quieter. As a listening system though, it compliments Circle Time well.
Think Books as listening systems are a silent but easy to manage system. Pupils each have a think book and they can write a comment or observation for the teacher to read at a later time. The teacher may read and comment back to the child.
These listening systems each compliment each other and different schools and settings take on one, two or three of these systems.