Quality Circle Time(QCT) : Towards building Emotionally Safe and Sensitive Schools

Date : 10 September, 2021

In my earlier job, as a senior COD –Content Development and Training, I had the privilege of attending Jenny Mosley’s Workshop on Quality Circle Time. Incidentally, she happens to be the Creator of Quality Circle Time and this idea of Circle Time is very popular in schools.

I was a little reluctant to attend the 2-day workshop, I had just returned from EFL University having given my exams for PGDTE there. My colleagues who had attended QCT sessions already, were extremely appreciative of the programme and its impact on the students. I went to the training venue and was pleasantly surprised by the number of attendees! The session began and within a few minutes, I was completely engrossed in the QCT activities conducted by Jenny Mosley, herself. The thought that passed my mind then was, ‘After all, age is just a number’.

Low self-esteem in students translates into low performance in classrooms and students with high self-esteem demonstrate confidence, good mental health and perform well in their classes. This in a way, justifies the need to include QCT in our curriculum. Quality Circle Time (QCT) contributes to raising self-esteem in students, inculcating positive behaviour besides focusing on collaboration, co-operation and building strong relationships in classrooms. TRUST is the essence of all the activities conducted at different stages. This can be achieved by well planned, structured and guided activities conducted by a trained QCT teacher.

Let me now share the course of these sessions. We were divided into small groups and in our groups, we were introduced to the five skills, Looking, Listening, Speaking, Thinking and Concentrating with associated actions.

Ground Rules were set at the start of the session to maintain order. We came up with these rules with the teacher’s support. We said d this aloud and to ourselves. To share a few,

  • We are honest (We won’t lie or cover up truth)
  • We are kind and helpful (We won’t hurt others feelings)
  • We listen (We won’t interrupt when others speak)
  • We work hard. (We won’t waste time)

Next, we all sat on the floor and in our groups and followed the five steps as guided by our facilitator.

Meeting up- Our group had about 15 people and we did not know each other. We greeted each other. This was pleasant because the facilitator had said that we would be working in the same group for 30 mins. It felt safe to know the group!

Warming up- We shared, what one thing we like about ourselves and what we dislike about ourselves. We used a STEM STATEMENT for expressing ourselves. This part will urge to reflect on yourself. We were warmed up for some serious business, now.

Opening up: The facilitator, based on what we had shared earlier, chose a problem statement and shared it with the group. All of us had to stick our fingers out and provide suggestions and offer help and again using a stem statement. The workable suggestions were summarized.

Cheering up: After discussing the problem, seeking responses and support from the team members, we cheered up ourselves by singing an Action song. It was fun, all 15 of us singing in our group while some groups used a parachute.

Calming Down: We were paired up and one person had to massage the head, neck and back of partner and vice versa. This helped us and we felt really good and the short experiential session ended. Some groups were engaged in guided meditation activity

Please note that the facilitator shared that anything that was discussed in the group would remain with us. Building TRUST among the members of group was important for the group to work together! The second important thing was that the facilitator used a SPEAKING OBJECT when she began the session and it was passed on from person to person, when we greeted each other and spoke about ourselves. The Speaking object makes one feel safe and prepared to speak, especially for those who have inhibitions.

To benefits of QCT are many- it is a very strong programme which develops empathy, builds trust, friendship, improves skills, moderates behaviour, encourages discipline, help solve problems and cater to addressing diversity in classrooms provided we adhere to all the steps as suggested by Jenny Mosley. It builds assertiveness and works on developing self-esteem, self-regulation and self- reflection. The change in student behaviour is better achieved by tying up rewards and sanctions. Setting up GROUND RULES is a pattern in all REN classrooms.

Quality Circle Time is also built into the assembly schedule at REN schools and is conducted on alternate days of the week. The team of trained teachers have continued with the QCT sessions, even in online classes. The teachers ensure that they engage the learners in different value based activities and ensure participation. During a few parent interactions, it has been shared with me that their children like Circle Time and they like talking to that teacher, they talk freely with the teacher. Circle time activities can be made interesting by the use of action songs, chants, games. What better way to build schools with students who are safe and sensitive!

QCT works even for adults. While the pattern remains the same, this can be used as a very effective tool to solve problems, build and maintain relationships, among teachers in schools.

For more information,

Free resources are available on QCT visit:

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Editor: Mamatha Rao, Academics Team, REN Schools.