Re: walking in a circle technique??
Sounds like a drill to me. The description and problems encountered are very recognisable to the way I do things.
I would ask you to find out what that basic motion is called first before asking for advice. The basic motion that leads to the techniques, what your teacher calls it.
I get students doing this as a drill but it is drilling a particular motion. Tenkan is one and tai sabaki is the other. The focus changes as the drill progresses or the competence increases.
Yes it's a leading drill but based on those motions and taking center of the action or 'technique'.
At first the students attention wil be on turning in and hips. Then turning in and hips whilst extending out.
Then feet as you describe. So back to learning more about opening hips and turning on the spot without feet going heel first and thus backwards. Then more and then more. So basically all I can say is it's part of the process so carry on learning.
That's my take.