Study Circle


Ove Korsgaard, a Danish adult education researcher, describes a study circle in his 2002 article ”A European Demos? The Nordic Adult Education tradition—folkeoplysning—faces a challenge” as follows:

”In the Nordic region, folkeoplysning and folkbildning reflected in an approach to teaching/learning with a heavy emphasis on communication. Concepts such as interaction, co-operation, discussion and dialogue play a major role in the perception of the tradition. Enlightenment is perceived as both an individual and a social process. In Grundtvig’s approach to teaching/learning, the main emphasis is on interaction (Bugge, 1965). He repeatedly emphasises the importance of a living interaction between past and present, between teacher and student, and between the students.
Especially in Sweden, the study circle is regarded as the special distinctive feature of folkbildning, as the study circle is based on the collective input of the (course) participants [3]. The approach to work must be such that it provides real training in democratic thinking and action. This means that work in the study circle must be based on active participation and a joint approach to the quest for knowledge. The circle must serve as the working form for the continued quest for knowledge, a process for which all the participants assume responsibility. Tests, exams and individual levels of performance are regarded as a hindrance, and should not be incorporated in the work of the circle. Conversation/discourse and dialogue are regarded as key concepts in this work. It is through conversation/discourse and dialogue that the participant increases his/her knowledge and undergoes training in adopting a position and taking a decision.”

How, then, this form of collaborative learning could be taken into a University-based curriculum if there is not exam, tests and individual scores? How should we abolish the mechanism of meritocracy and the idea of human capital as a vehicle of individual’s socio-economic mobility and the growth of GNP.


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