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Clan Presentation DialogicTertulia Literari

Clan Presentation DialogicTertulia Literari

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Published by: Centro Studi Villa Montesca on Nov 26, 2008
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What is a Dialogic Literary Circle?

The literary circle is a cultural and
educational activity that is being
developed in different entities
whether adult schools,
associations of mothers and
fathers, groups of women or
cultural and educational entities.
The results are conclusive: the
literary circle through its
methodology allows the people
that have never read a book to be
able to enjoy the classics of
universal literature. Added to this
result is the whole process of
transformation that the
participants in the literary circles
experience and as a consequence
in their closest surroundings:
people that have learnt to read
through the literary circles are
currently involved in cultural
entities who fight for an education
based on democratic and
egalitarian values. The concerns of
social and educational topics have
gained importance in our lives
because we have recognised the
role of education and its
importance in the process of
personal and social development.

This experience has come so far
that in the past year FACEPA, as a
Federation Of Participants in
Cultural and Educative
Associations, made the decision to
disseminate the activity, that from
this point on is co-ordinated by
CONFAPEA, Confederation of
Associations of participants in
democratic education and culture
at a national level. Many people
have demanded that their entities,
schools. and their activities and
co-ordination be managed by the
participants. In this way, work has
begun among entities and
collectives that have as an
objective to encourage the
creation of the 1001 dialogic
literary circles around the world.
The reason that CONFAPEA
supports this activity is the results
that it has: the literary circle
generates a lot of participation,
people that have not gone to
university are reading books by
authors such as Lorca, Safo,
Cotázar, Wolf, Kafka, Joyce.they
enjoy the text and the whole
group is enriched by the different
impressions and contributions.


The experience that we have been
referring to has two criteria that
define and differentiate it from
other types of literary circles: the
texts that are chosen are classics
of universal literature and the
people that participate are adults
without a university degree. In
this way we show that the classics
of universal literature do not only
belong to the elite and that
everyone is capable of reading
them and understanding them.
This fact disqualifies the
arguments from people that have
been able to access this academic
culture and deny that people
without this formation can have
access to this type of culture.


The project 1001 dialogic
literary circles around the
world is an initiative of
CONFAPEA. The principle objective
of this project is to create Dialogic
Literary Circles around the world.

More than 30 associations, social,
cultural and educative groups and
collectives form part of this
project, not only in Spain but
around the world because the
Dialogic literary Circles have
become a cultural and educational
activity in the movement of Adult
Democratic Education (DAE)
around the world.

The Dialogic Literary Circle is
being recognised, by intellectuals
around the world, as an activity
that overcomes social inequalities.
Professors from universities with
international prestige like the
Harvard University, the University
of Massachusetts, the Victorian
Centre of the Adult Literacy and
Numeracy Australian Research and
Consortium (ALNARC) and CREA
(Centre of Social and Educational
Research) at the University of
Barcelona have had a special
interest in this activity, as they
consider it a practical example of
the better known social and
educational theories at present. In
the same way, the Dialogic literary
Circles are also recognised by
personalities in the world of
culture and literature like the
Nobel Prize Winner José
Saramago, the writer José Luis
Sampedro and the singer-
songwriter José Antonio

This is what José Saramago said
about the Dialogic Literary Circles:

I´m so happy to know that a
literary circle interests the people
so much and has had so much
success. I would love to
participate in the Congress, since
your work plan is so extraordinary
and necessary to allow for the
opinion of each individual in a
society where we want to create
more and more solidarity.


To begin a Dialogic Literary Circle
no literary knowledge is
necessary, or that there be a large
group, the only thing necessary is
ENTHUSIASM. In the beginning
the groups of circles do not have
many people, but this does not
mean they should lose
enthusiasm. It has been proven
that the number of people grow as
the people that participate share
their experience with their work
companions, friends and families.

Once this group has been formed
by enthusiastic people, a book
from the classics of universal
literature has to be chosen
amongst everyone. Anyone can
suggest a book and explain to the
group what they know about it or
why they would like to read it, to
do this there can be some sort of
criteria to choose the text.

When the work has been chosen,
we also decide how many chapters
or pages we will read for the next

In the next session, once what
was agreed upon the week before
has been read, the people that
have chosen a paragraph present
it and explain why they have
chosen it. Afterwards those people
intervene that would like to make
a reference to this same
paragraph or a reference to the
intervention of the person that
presented the paragraph.

They follow the order of the
chapters or parts of the book. This
means that those people in charge
of the first paragraph of the first
chapter present their observations
first, followed by the presentation
of the other paragraphs of the first
chapter, then the interventions are
made in relation to this first
chapter. The next step is the
presentation of the paragraphs in
the second chapter and then the
interventions on those paragraphs.
This form of working is followed
until the book has been finished.
The literary circles are held weekly
for two hours and the objective is
to discuss the contents and topics
that are taken from the book,
since we work through democracy,
and with human rights... when we
get together and a book has been
finished the first thing we do is to
make a circle were each person
gives their general opinion, though
no one is obligated to participate.

In the literary circles we do not try
to describe and analyse what the
author wants to say with their
texts but we want to encourage
reflection and dialogue with the
different possible interpretations
that can be given on the same
text. Working this way with the
literature enriches the circle.

Just reading is not sufficient, you
have to talk about the subject that
you have read, to reach a
knowledge on our reactions to
social life, through reflection that
projects the literature into our

One of the books that I have most
enjoyed is ¨The Plague¨ by Albert
Camus, it is difficult to understand
but listening to each other made it
clearer for me. Some said that the
rats weren´t anything more than
rats and that the ¨plague¨
contaminates the city, it is a
disease that they spread; others
believed that the book was
allegorical and that the rats
symbolised the ideas of
intolerance and racism and the
¨plague¨ was the contamination
that these ideas disseminated
among the people of the city.


The methodology used in the
literary circles is based on
dialogue. This transforms itself
into the generator of learning.
Dialogic learning is encouraged in
the contributions that Paulo Friera
has made in pedagogy and Jurgen
Habermas in sociology, as well as
other research that has greatly
contributed to this area. This
theoretical approach defines as its
principle objective the education
and social transformation in favour
of a more just and democratic
society with more solidarity
between its members.

The principles of dialogic learning

1. Egalitarian dialogue: in the
literary circles we respect all
the contributions equally, but
we do not allow anyone to
impose their contributions as
the only valid answer, whether
it is someone who is new to the
circle or if they are the
chairperson of the group.

And in this way, with everyone
presenting their opinion without
imposing their point of view on
anyone else, but respecting and
valuing everything that is said and
learning from each other, the
literature becomes a shared

2. Cultural intelligence:
everyone has cultural
intelligence. This means that
throughout our lives we have
learnt a lot of things in many
different ways. Therefore,
everyone is capable of
participating in an egalitarian
dialogue. Cultural intelligence
shows that we can learn
throughout life.

3. Transformation: This way of
learning by discussing and
valuing everything that has
been learnt throughout our
lives has transformed us. We
feel capable of learning many
more things because it is
something that we prove
continuously. In this way we
change the concept that we
have of ourselves. By feeling
differently we change the
relationships that we have with
other people and with our
environment. By reading,
talking together and reflecting
with have overcome the
barriers that exclude us from
education and social

4. Instrumental dimension of
Education: Dialogue makes it
possible to also learn things
that are more academic and
instrumental, since when we
read and comment on a work
we also become interested in
what happened in the time
period it was written, what
literary movement it belongs to
and what its characteristics
are. All this research is carried
out by people participating in
the circles by asking family and
friends, looking for information
in the encyclopaedia, on the
internet... they then present it
to the group.

5. Creation of Meaning: The
loss of meaning is a
phenomena that continuously
appears in our society as a
product of the belief that we
live in a system that
determines our lives. Through
dialogic learning the meaning
re-emerges since we establish
by ourselves our interactions
with people and our
environment. For this reason
we are the ones that decide
what and how we want to

6. Solidarity: The literary circle is
open to everyone, their are no
economic obstacles as this
activity is free, nor are there
any obstacles because of ones
academic level, some people
that participate in the circle
have only just become literate.
The participation of those
people in the first levels of
literacy is always a priority. In
this way we learn together with
all the people that participate.

If we believe in egalitarian
educational practices we can base
ourselves on relations of solidarity
that at the same time creates
more solidarity.

7. Equality of differences:
Everyone in the circle is equal
and different. One of the most
important principles is equality
and this means the right of
everyone to live in a different

The role of the moderator

The coordinator is the chairperson
of the circle and is in charge of
ordering the contributions.
Following the principles of dialogic
learning, the person that
coordinates is just one more in the
circle and can not impose their
version but must allow everyone
to give their arguments. In this
way reflection and discussion can
be held until a consensus is
reached on a valid provisional
argument, because nothing can be
conclusive, as it can always be
argued at some future time. Nor is
it necessary to reach a consensus.
If a consensus is not reached each
person or different groups
consider different arguments as
valid. The coordinator through
egalitarian dialogue, learns as
much or more than the people
participating in the circle.
The chairperson has to give
priority to the people that least
participate in the circle, providing
for a more egalitarian

Possible books to read

1. Cervantes, M. Don Quixote
2. Sartre, J.P. Being and
3. Dostoyevski. Crime and
4. Hugo, V. Les Miserables
5. Sartre, J.P. Dubliners
6. Camus, A. The Plague
7. Zola, E. Germinal
8. Delibes, M. The Holy
9. Quevedo, F. The Thief
10. Proust, M. In Search of
Lost Time
11. Neruda, P. I confess that I
have lived
12. García Lorca, F. Gypsy
13. Shakespeare, W. Hamlet
14. Rodoredo, M. The Time of
the Doves

Confederation of federations and
associations of participants in the
democratic education and culture
of adults.

Av. Francesc Cambó, 14 8e F
08003 Barcelona
Tel. 93 315 29 69 Fax. 93 310 05

Dialogic Literary Circle

. Now we are reading La Regenta.
It makes you excited. I could not
even imagine that I would
understand these circles that are
so enriching. When I first joined
the circle I didn´t even know how
to put the letters together, today I
can write those letters. I am
convinced that it is never to late to
Participant in one of the circles.

Mum, what are you doing reading
that book?

A son asked his mother this
question when he saw her reading
a book for the first time. The son
refers to The Metamorphosis by

The question is how to transform
the difficulties into possibilities
Paulo Freire

That which is taught on literature
is very important for everyone;
but in my opinion, the theory is
not enough, it is incomplete since
it does not develop thought. The
feelings and sensations need to be
stimulated, the ideas and
experiences. All of these concepts
are important to be able to have
an open mind and to be able to
communicate with all types of
people, and to be more tolerant,
comprehensive and reasonable, to
live together more peacefully.
Participant in one of the Circles

Existing Dialogic Literary Circles

• Literary Circle of the Live
Culture Association ( Sant
Boi de Llobregat, Catalonia)
• Literary Circle at the Centre
of adult Education of Jaume
Tuset (Ripollet, Catolonia)
• Literary Circle of the AMPA
of the Font Santa School
(Conrnellá de Llobregat,
• Literary Circle of the
association "Mujeres
Latinas Sin Fronteras"
(Barcelona, Catalonia)
• Literary Circle of the
Women in Shape Group of
Torre Llobeta (Barcelona,
• 5 Literary Circle of the
Centre of Adult Education of
La Verneda-Sant Martí
(Barcelona, Catalonia)
• Literary Circle of the
Parróquia of the Guineueta
(Barcelona, Catalonia)
• Literary Circle of the
Women's Group of
Taixonera (Barcelona,
• Literary Circle of the Centre
of Adult Education of Sant
Roc (Badalona, Catalonia)
• Literary Circle of AMPA
Alberich and Cases (Reus,
• Literary Circle of the
"Centro de Animación
Sociocultural de Madrid,
CASM" (Madrid)
• 2 Literary Circle of CEAS
Tetuan (Madrid)
• Literary Circle of the School
Historiador Portilla (Madrid)
• Literary Circle of the
association "Mujeres
• Literary Circle of the
"Círculo de Cultura Popular
La Rondilla" (Valladolid,
Castilla Leon)
• Literary Circle Of the "Grupo
de Mujeres" of La Rondilla
(Valladolid, Castilla Leon)
• Literary Circle of the
"Colectivo Huerta del Rey"
(Valladolid, Castilla Leon)
• Literary Circle of the Centre
of EPA Galdakao (Basque
• Literary Circle of the Centre
of EPA Basauri (Basque
• Literary Circle of the Centre
of EPA Zaramaga (Basque
• Literary Circle of the Centre
of EPA Sansomendi (Basque
• Literary Circle of the
Classrooms of AE of the
Coruña. "Health Centre of
Acea da Ma (Coruña,
• 2 Literary Circles of the
Association of students and
ex-alumni of the School of
Arts and Trade (Vigo,
• Literary Circle of the
Association of "Mulleres
Progresistas" (vigo, Galicia)
• Literary Circle of the "
Hogar del Pensionista"
(Mirando de Ebro, La Rioja)
• Literary Circle of the APE
Centre "López del Oro"
(Hellín, Castella-La Mancha)
• Literary Circle of the APE
Centre of Albatana (Castella
La Mancha)
• Literary Circle of FOF
(Horsens. Denmark)
• Literary Circle of "Peuple et
Culture" (Montpellier-
• Literary Circle of ABS WYDA
(a Zdaar nad Sázavou-Check
• Literary Circle of
educational and cultural
programmes of youth and
adults in Porto Alegre
• Literary Circle at the
Community Library of the
Universidade Federal de Sao
Carlos (Brazil)
• Literary Circle at the adult
school Fundaçao
Educacional de Sao Carlos
• Literary Circle of the
Flemington Reading and
Writing Program of the
Flemington Library in
Flemington (Victoria-

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