Inside and Outside Circles


InĀ Inside and Outside Circles, students face each other in two concentric circles and respond to teacher prompts. This strategy encourages students to share their perspectives and assess learning with many peers.


  1. Split the class by asking half of the students to form the inside circle and half to form the outside circle.
  2. Write a question or statement on the board. Give students a minute to think of an answer on their own.
  3. Ask students in the inside circle to share their response with the classmate facing them in the outside circle. After a set a time, have students reverse roles, so each student in the outside circle shares their response with the student who just spoke.
  4. Instruct all students in the outside circle to move one spot to the right and discuss the same question with their new partners. The educator may consider giving the new partners a different discussion point.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4.

Important Considerations

The Inside and Outside Circles strategy is a kinaesthetic learning activity (i.e., learning takes place while students carry out a physical activity) that facilitates short exchanges between students and engages all learners simultaneously. It also gives students the opportunity to engage with peers with whom they rarely work. Remind students to be considerate of expected norms and to listen without judging.

Spread out the circle as much as possible to minimize noise so it is easier for students to focus on the conversation they are having.