A circular seated configuration of learners as they engage in a ‘knowledge building discourse’
A circle is used as an intentional physical configuration that is conducive to knowledge building. A KBC involves respectful dialogue in which students share ideas, negotiate topics and work together to evolve the group learning. The principle “all ideas can be improved” is central to a knowledge building circle. The teacher acts as a facilitator, allowing the students to drive the conversation, but getting involved to ask for clarification, pose thought-provoking questions, observe for appropriate participation. (Kozak & Elliott, p. 91)


KBC Protocols:


  • 1 person speaks at a time; others listen
  • hands are raised only when the speaker is done
  • use respectful language (“I agree/disagree because…”, “I want to build on…”)
  • ideas contributed become the ideas of the group (not “your idea” but “our/the idea”)


  • doesn’t try to get to a “right” answer
  • respects contributions, does not correct them
  • avoids eye contact to encourage dialogue
  • documents/records (permanently, for reference)
  • can intervene/redirect, decides when to wrap up