Finding ways to learn more about the world around us, about our history, and about the ideas people have for change can be challenging. It can be hard to know where to start, who to talk to, and how to share what you’ve learned.  Most of us, unconsciously or not, associate learning with school, and it’s hard to figure out how to engage in serious educational projects without a teacher.  But it can be done, and successfully!

What is a Study Group?

Any group of people who gather together to read, discuss, and learn can be considered a study group.  It’s especially helpful for groups of people who already work together (political collectives, affinity groups, neighborhood organizations) to study together, because it allows them to build on their existing work and relationships.  Existing groups can also start study projects which are open to new people, or two political collectives might initiate a joint study project on a topic of shared concern.

However you design the membership of your study group, you will work together by reading, thinking, and discussing, all of which will help you develop ideas that may lead to further action. Working together is a critical piece – a study group doesn’t rely on experts to bestow knowledge on novices.  We all have strengths and experiences that we can use together to build understanding and inspire insight.  Teaching each other, planning together, and listening to each other help us develop understanding and theory that we can use for political action.  And, working together as equals builds fellowship, and can even be just plain fun.

Study group projects can also lead to insight and understanding about our previous political experiences – why do some projects succeed, while others fail?  What circumstances cause organizations to falter, when is it beneficial to change course or re-examine our goals? In short, study groups aid our understanding of the world, but also help develop strategies to change the world.



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