An introduction to Swedish "folkbildning" - the popular non-formal and voluntary educational system for all ages.
For more than a hundred years people in Sweden have come together to study on their own conditions, to listen to lectures, to take part in cultural projects, etc. People meet to learn more together, to strengthen their opportunities for influencing their own situation in life and oftentimes to influence and change social conditions.
The study circle is the most typical form of liberal adult education (in Sweden). A small group of people meet regularly for a period of time, most often a night per week, to study a certain subject or theme or to take part in a cultural activity. The circle consists of five to twelve participants, of whom one is the leader.
The study circles are characterized by democratic values and are based upon the participants' taking responsibility for the work. Together they plan their studies, based on their own needs and interests. An important part of study circle methodology is the exchange of experiences and ideas between the participants and their own analysis of the subject studied.
The Folkbildning activities take place in study associations, mostly in study circles and at cultural events; and also at folkhoegskola (residential colleges in adult education) with both long and short courses and cultural activites.
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