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  • 1. Organizing
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How to begin

If you do not know each other, introduce yourselves briefly (name, student background, personal goal in study circle work).
Choose a chairman and a secretary for the first meeting.

  • The chair should lead the discussion, conduct the meeting and make sure that the topic is followed and those who wish have the floor.

  • The secretary should take notes on discussions and agreed matters and at group work make sure that the time limit is followed.

Discuss briefly the study material and take notes (here):

  • Themes in your study circle

  • Questions that rise on the theme

  • Goal of the study circle     

Discuss and agree the typical themes and questions on your own subject field that should be paid attention to during the independent study.

Study circle is a confidential community. Discuss how this affects your actions.

Planning the meetings

Agree on the general principles:

  • number of meetings
  • time and place
  • subjects for the meetings

Decide should there be a general meeting in order to go over the whole subject field of the study circle.

  • Choose a  chairperson and a secretary for each meeting
  • Discuss should all the participants read the whole subject area or should the literature be divided into sections (at least read the same section, thus it is easier to handle obscure parts of the material.)
  • Decide together whether the chairpersons should be in charge of the sections or do they just organize the activity
  • Divide the material into sections for those who are in charge of them. The chair persons of meetings should read through all the material. Everyone makes an output of his/her subject to be handed out to others. (green self-study cards)
  • Decide how and when the output should be distributed to the whole group.
  • Agree the methods for the first real meeting (yellow group study cards)
  • Fill in the organization form the matters which you decided in the preliminary meeting and at least the date of the first study group meeting and the agreed responsibilities. Fill in the form during the study circle.


Organizing form


date time and place     






Something else...



















































Also following matters are worth deciding beforehand:

  • How to inform other members of possible absences.
  • What to do if a participant has not been prepared for the meeting (should he/she be secretary?)
  • Something else to decide about?



Tips for successful study circle work
  • Commit yourself to the work and follow the schedule you have agreed on. Everybody’s output has an effect to the learning process.
  • At the start of work decide the dates for meetings so that they form a good rhythm.
  • Reserve enough time for meetings, however not too many hours to avoid exhaustion. 1-2 hours is suitable.
  • To guarantee every member’s active participation, the number of persons in the group could be e.g. five.
  • Divide the material equally thinking both about index and page numbers.
  • It is recommended to divide the material for the meetings so that the subjects handled support each other.
  • If possible choose the study methods in advance so you can prepare for the meeting.
  • Make sure there are written notes of the material to be handed out to everyone.
  • Utilize photos, newspaper clippings, video films etc. to support learning.  Also mobile phone’s recording and camera features can be used.
  • Reserve in time a group work facility for your study circle.
  • Decide in advance who borrows which of the books you are going to need at the study circle.
  • Listen actively and ask bravely!




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