Teachers' Learning Circles

Professional Development of Teachers through Learning Circles

We provide two examples for learning circles used to provide for the professional development of teachers. The first is from the International and Education Resource Network (IEARN) which provides professional development learning circles to help teachers new to learning circles understand how this process operates in school settings. The second is from MIT Open Learning Library as they help provide free education to teachers using learning circles.

iEARN Learning Circles Professional Development Online Course

Using the six phases of a Learning Circle integrate a collaborative project into your classroom

iEARN equips educators to help students understand how historical and geographic conditions interact to shape their lives. The sharing and exchange of information gives children a deeper understanding of themselves, their family, their community, and their world. Recent events around the world, have shown that we have plenty of reason to teach our children how to get along better by emphasizing similarities, not differences!

Learning Circles are about communicating and sharing information. In this online course, you will be guided through the six phases of a Learning Circle. Assignments will correspond to the work you would normally do during a Learning Circle experience.

Most of the work and assignments during this course and a Learning circle are student-centered. As part of this course, you and your students will

  • Join a small group (a Circle), share cultural information,

  • Choose a collaborative project in which to participate.

  • Develop this topic with your students and make plans to research and share student work via the Internet.

  • Develop ways to teach your students to gather and organize information for publication in print and on the Internet.

  • Solicit information for your project from other schools in your circle

  • Edit and publish a final publication featuring student work

Learning Circles Course Publications

Links to Finished Project Pages are not currently available as iEARN is reorganizing the site.

MIT Open Learning Library:

Their courses use the People-to-People University model (P2PU) to design a learning circle approach to teacher learning.

This guide lays out how learning circles are used to support the learning in this course:

Becoming a More Equitable Educator:

Mindsets and Practices Learning Circle Guide

This is what they say about why teachers might want to join a learning circle to participate in the course:

In previous courses, our learners found learning circles to be a powerful part of their experience: Head of Academic Technology at a PreK-9 school Megan Haddadi says, “Learning circles [were] one of my favorite parts of this course. To be honest, learning online can feel really impersonal, but having that face-to-face connection with my colleagues on a weekly basis really made a difference for me.” High school computer science teacher Douglas Kiang says, “When we realize that we’re really not alone in this, that we can work together and help make this a better place for all of us, that, I think for me, was the real power of the learning circle.” These two former facilitators describe their learning circle experiences in this video.