What is a Study Circle?
A Study Circle is small-group democracy at work. It is one of the oldest and most effective tool for creating a personal and social change. It is used in a variety of contexts and for several different purposes around the world.
Community participants from all walks of life agree to attend a number of Study Circle sessions that focuses on an issue of common concern. The Study Circle is a peer-led discussion of 5-30 participants; each participant has an equal voice. An impartial facilitator, who is not necessarily an expert on the issue, leads the group. A discussion guide is used to keep the discussion on track. The facilitator poses questions to stimulate the discussion and to keep the group focused on the issue. The Study Circle is held in a spontaneous and friendly environment.
In a well functioning Circle there is a strong sense of belonging, a compelling commitment to shared goals, a high level of accountability, a robust environment for joint problem solving and learning among peers and high trust relationships. Everyone is part of a whole.
Characteristics of a Circle:
Some additional practices are employed in order to reinforce and foster these democratic norms; for example, taking turns talking, reminders to listen without judgment and methods for handling interpersonal conflicts. This helps members to feel safe, and to contribute creating mutual expectations for broad based participation. The goal is to have voluntary, egalitarian participation encouraging shared leadership and group determined purposes.
Why a Study Circle?
A circle, because of its very structure, creates the conditions for personal and group growth, encouraging respectful conversation. This is in contrast to the Triangle which reflects the hierarchal type of social interactions and reminds people of their place within a power structure.
A Method- that allows people from all spheres of life to express their opinions democratically and without fear of intimidation
A Platform- that allows participants to broaden their knowledge of an issue by hearing firsthand the personal experiences and viewpoints of others in the community
An Opportunity- for a diverse group of people to get together and address a common concern and articulate problem-solving strategies
A Forum- where members of society can discuss issues and work together by reducing the existing gaps and can lead to community action and positive change
A Medium- that offers the opportunity to gain knowledge and helps democracy to flourish
How a Study Circle Works?
• Identifies a problem within the community.
• Brings community people together through the Study Circle.
• Organizes citizens to address the problems through discussion.
• Moves the community to take collective action that can lead to positive change
Characteristics of a Study Circle Discussion:
• Each study circle contains 5-30 participants
• Session conducted by a neutral facilitator
• Each session lasting 2-3 hours
• Dialogue and discussion, not debate, is the basis of the Study Circle
• Discussion based on personal experience and knowledge
• Consensus on each issue is not necessary
• Friendly and spontaneous environment
• Personal opinion is given importance
• Everyone has an equal opportunity to speak
• Discussion manual on particular issue used in the session
Some Proposed Topics for Study Circles:
1. State and its Concept?
2. What is Government?
3. What is Democracy and How its Work?
4. What is Parliament and its Role?
5. What is Dictatorship and it’s Impacts?
6. The Role of Military in Pakistani Politics?
7. The Role of Bureaucracy in Pakistani politics?
8. What is Civil Society?
9. Human Rights Guaranteed by Pakistani Constitution?
10.What is Political Parties Act 2002?
11.Political Parties and their Role in Social Evolution?
12.Terrorism and its reasons?
13.What is United Nations?
14.What are World Bank and IMF?
15.What is Globalization?
16.What is W.T.O?
17.World Economy and Third World Countries?
18.Worldwide Social Movements?
19.Right of Self-determination of the Nations?
20.Role of Feudal to Block Development in Pakistan?