Bromley by Bow Centre/Study Circles on Wikiversity/Study Circles

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Study Circles on Wikiversity

Study circles emerged towards the end of the nineteenth century as a popular method of developing self-education in a collective and democratic framework. They were generally linked social movements like temperance, social democracy or other aspects of the labour movement. They have remained popular particularly in Scandanavia.

Oscar Olsson (1877-1950)
”If someone tells you: ’This is exactly the way a study circle should look and this is the way it should work’ - You must answer him right in the face: you are a humbug, sir, a genuine humbug, sir!" Richard Sandler, first leader of the Workers' Educational Association[1]

The Swedish experience

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In Sweden the study circle is a mass phenomenon with about 2 million participants, however as many people participate in more than one circle, the actual number of individuals is substantially less.[2] Research in Sweden has revealed the following characteristics of Study Circles:

  1. Voluntary participation
  2. Open access
  3. Mixed ages
  4. Self-organised
  5. No examinations
  6. Small groups (5 - 10)
  7. Meet once a week (3hrs including breaks)
  8. Facilitators need not be experts
  9. Equal participation by all
  10. No restrictions on area of studies
  11. Can be linked to political, religious and social viewpoints

Development on Wikiversity

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The development of Study Circles is currently being pioeneered on Wikiversity as part of the University of East London Social Enterprise BA being organised from the Bromley by Bow Centre Communiversity.

See also

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  1. Sandler, R. (1937) Mångfald eller enfald: tal och artiklar utg. till Arbetarnas Bildningsför-bunds 25-årshögtid. Stockholm: Tiden. Translated by Staffan Larsson & Henrik Nordvall from Swedish: ”Om det kommer någon och säger er: ’ just så här ska en cirkel se ut, och just så skall den arbeta’ - svara honom då mitt i ansiktet: you are a humbug, sir. En riktig äkta humbug, herre!” see Larsson, Staffan & Nordvall, Henrik. "Study Circles in Sweden: An Overview with a Bibliography of International Literature." Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2010. Available on Internet
  2. Larsson, S. & Nordvall, (2010) Study Circles in Sweden: An Overview with a Bibliography of International Literature. Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, Available on Internet