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The Learning Circles Project

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Activity - Roles
by Guy Ewing
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The Idea
To get started, a circle needs leadership. There may be one leader or several.  Often, there will be a facilitator, someone who is actively building and facilitating the group.

Once a circle has been established and is meeting regularly, it may be useful to examine leadership in the circle. What does the group as a whole think about who does what in the group? What does the group as a whole want each person’s role to be? 

The Method
The facilitator leads a discussion about what jobs are emerging in the circle. Common jobs are: facilitating, convening, setting the agenda, recruiting new members, finding material supports for the group, liaising with a host organization and liaising with other learning circles.

The facilitator lists the jobs on a flipchart, being sure to remember that what has been written on the flipchart are only notes for the oral discussion, and that all of the points must be referred to orally to include participants who may not be able to read.

The facilitator asks how the circle needs each job to be done.

The facilitator asks who wants to do each job, or how people want to share jobs.

The circle decides who will do what.

This activity needs to be repeated periodically, as the circle evolves and learns more about what jobs need to be done and how they can be done. In the model of learning circles presented here, it is assumed that the original leaders of the group will want to share leadership as the group develops.