Use Discussion Circles in the Primary Classroom

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This course will help you facilitate class discussion circles, where students are more actively involved and can safely explore their personal, social and cultural views. You will discover how to switch from a teacher who gives direct instructions to a facilitator who lets their students lead their learning.
From an experienced facilitator, you’ll learn:

  • The basics of facilitation.
  • How to set up a discussion circle for any group of students.
  • How to use tools like group agreements and open-ended questions.
  • How to provide a safe space for students to listen and share their views.


This course will take you 2 hours to complete. Enjoy it in one session or spread it out over a few weeks. You will have ongoing access.


This course is on-demand and for private study. Learn at your own pace and at times that suit you. Get a certificate when you finish.


  • Foundation – Year 6: All subject areas
  • Cross curriculum priorities: All cross-curriculum priorities
  • General capabilities: Literacy, Personal and Social Capability, Intercultural Understanding



This course is mapped to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. It is accredited for professional development hours for:

Proficient Teacher – all states and territories except NSW
1.5.2 Develop teaching activities that incorporate differentiated strategies to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.
3.3.2 Plan and implement well-structured learning and teaching programs or lesson sequences that engage students and promote learning.
3.5.2 Use effective verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support student understanding, participation, engagement and achievement.

Highly Accomplished Teacher – all states and territories except NSW
1.5.3 Evaluate learning and teaching programs, using student assessment data, that are differentiated for the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.
3.3.3 Support colleagues to select and apply effective teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem solving and Critical and Creative Thinking.
3.5.3 Assist colleagues to select a wide range of verbal and non-verbal communication strategies to support students’ understanding, engagement and achievement.

    This course is accredited by TQI for 2 hours professional development for teachers in the ACT.

NSW Government Waratah Logo Completing Use Thinking Tools to Strengthen the Primary Curriculum will contribute 2 hours and 0 minutes of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 1.5.2, 3.3.2 and 3.5.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in





Chris Vella from Cool Australia is your course teacher. He has worked in the education sector for over 10 years as a classroom teacher and educational consultant. He has also worked at Western Sydney University. Chris loves getting creative with education and supporting others to do the same.



Jane Fishburn
Jane Fishburn helped write this course. She is an education consultant who devotes her time to improving the self-driven participation of young people. Jane began her career as a secondary drama and music teacher. Through a school leadership role, her direction turned to learning design. Jane moved to the not-for-profit sector, developing and managing education programs. This experience connecting teachers and students in community learning contexts drives her new work focus on people, possibility and change.



As a not-for-profit organisation all revenue from our Professional Development courses is reinvested into providing teachers with the resources to become the designers of exceptional learning.


Reviews for Use Discussion Circles in the Primary Classroom

4 5 1
"I found this a very helpful course because it showed that discussion circles can be a valuable learning tool. I saw the value on being neutral, being aware of myself and the value of silence so as to allow students time to relfect."