Trinity Boston Foundation, Hale Reservation, & Freedom House: Critical Thinking

This post is part of a series about the workshop presentations delivered at the 2018 ACT Skills Summit.


The afternoon session on Critical Thinking focused on Reflection, and the role that it plays in developing Critical Thinking skills in students. Representatives from several of Boston Beyond’s partner organizations led attendees in various reflection activities that they implement with students at their own programs.

Priscilla Andrade from Trinity Boston Foundation’s TEEP Program began this session with Restorative Justice Circles. The room was broken up into small groups, of about 4 to 8, seated at round tables. Restorative Justice Circles are an approach that TEEP implements for many purposes, including reflection.

The rules of the circle are simple: there is a talking piece that is passed around, and only the person holding the talking piece may speak. “The person holding the talking piece gets the privilege to speak, those not holding it get the privilege to listen.”

The talking piece was passed from person to person, with everyone having the opportunity to voice their answers to certain reflective questions. Speaking, it was emphasized, is always a choice rather than a requirement.


Patrick Francois from Hale Day Camp demonstrated the way that Hale incorporates role playing into its reflective practices. Two volunteers were asked to portray an interaction between a bully and his victim. After the demonstration, attendees were asked to answer certain questions. Why did the bully do this? How did the victim likely feel? Hale often incorporates role plays with reflective group time like this, to encourage students to think about potential interactions from different perspectives.


Charmaine Arthur from Freedom House led the final partner presentation. Participants were asked to text a number that gave them access to a poll Arthur was able to track on her computer. Participants were asked various questions about how they were feeling, their experience at the summit, and more, and anonymous results appeared on the screen in real time. Freedom House uses this anonymous polling approach to get a pulse of how students are feeling, as well as to encourage students to reflect on their experiences and share their feedback with staff.

Materials from this session as well as the rest of the sessions from the 2018 ACT Skills Summit can be found here.