The study circle method

A study circle is a small group of people (normally between 7-12 participants) who during a certain time period repeatedly meet and carry out planned studies under the leadership of an accepted leader. The key elements are:

  • The participants’ experiences and skills.
  • A study plan or specially produced study material.
  • A well-informed and trained leader who is mainly responsible for the study circle work.

This guideline describes the basic principles, how to organise a study circle, the role of a study circle leader, how to plan the studies, preparing the study material and how to get started. It explains that the centre of study circle work is conversation among equals which aims at exploring issues together.

The booklet concludes with two examples of study circle experience. The first case describes a group of women who decide to study childcare and nutrition because their children are often sick and they are all underweight. The second case describes a group of farmers who decide to learn about poultry-keeping. Each example shows how the study plan is made and progress is monitored. The system has much to commend it as a learning method for livelihood change and development.

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