A. Learning about START

In this Chapter:

So that every member of a START group understands the ideas underlying START and how to take part in and manage the course, each participant should read the START study guide before beginning. Hence this first collection of readings contains only an overview article (the study guide) and no other individual readings.

Study Questions

  1. How is a standard 24-week START course structured?
  2. Why is the standard 24-week START course structured this way?
  3. What other ways might you decide to structure your course?
  4. Given the nature of your group, which structure would be best for your group?

Overview Article A

47 pages total

“A Guide to Organizing a START Group,” April, 2007, 134 pages (at 250 words/page — 54 written pages).

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the START course. Chapters 2 and 3 provide suggestions for structure and process. The rest of the study guide offers background information and other resources.

Additional Resources


“Study Circle Democracy,” by Cecile Andrews, Yes! Magazine, Winter 2003, 3 p.

To believe in democracy, you need to believe in the power of people to find answers to the problems they’re facing. This includes: inspiring and motivating people to care about the common good; helping people learn to trust their own judgment and speak out; helping people think critically; and helping people learn to work with others in a cooperative, collegial manner to bring about change.

Other Study Guides

Common Security Clubs: Coming Together to Prepare for Economic Change, 2009.

A 5-session group to discuss the current economic crisis, how it is touching us personally, and what we can do about it, personally and politically.

Engage: Exploring Nonviolent Living, by Pace e Bene, 2006.

A 12-session course to explores nonviolent options for transforming our lives, our communities, and our larger world.

“Solutions to Violence Class,” by Colman McCarthy, San Antonio Peacecenter.

An 8-session class using classics in peace and justice literature to teach peacemaking.

Northwest Earth Institute

Offers a series of discussion courses on sustainable living, voluntary simplicity, deep ecology, and global trade.

“Challenging Corporate Power, Asserting the People’s Rights,” 10-session study group from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), 1999.

A 10-session course to learn how corporations use their illegitimate constitutional “rights” and powers to define our law, politics, jurisprudence, work, technologies, food, and communities.

Financial Integrity, New Roadmap Foundation

An 8-session on-line study group for achieving financial integrity based on the book Your Money or Your Life.

Building a Peace System, by Robert A. Irwin (ExPro Press, 1989).

Irwin’s manual offers a carefully chosen set of readings on topics such as arms control, envisaging and designing a future of peace, and developing change strategies.

“Roots of Change,” International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC), $50 for materials.

A study circle program with three goals: 1) to encourage a broad analysis of the origins and workings of the global economy, 2) to promote discussion of the impact of globalization on participants’ own communities and communities around the world, and 3) to generate strategies for effective local action.

Next Reading Set Collection: B. Another World is Possible