Education
 India
Project #1594

Stories teach kids entrepreneurial skills @ school

by Going to School Fund
Vetted

Mavis Ratna Singh’s class of Grade 9 boys at Daroga Prasad High School was the first to complete Book 15: Manjeri’s Business Loan and one week later, they crossed the finish line: they went to the bank to understand just how it works.

Be! works like this: after reading the story, kids are asked to; choose the business they’d like to start, making sure it solves a social, economic or environmental problem. They write a mini business plan and do the numbers and calculations to make a cash flow statement. From this they can then determine the size of loan they would need to take from the bank to start their business.

Now, the kids are ready to visit the local bank! 

But before they do, they prepare and write down the questions they want to ask the Bank Manager about how to take a loan.

Mavis called the SBI Bank Manager and got permission for the boys to visit. He said YES. She had also asked permission from her school Principal who was very supportive and helped in the planning and arrangements of the visit.

On Saturday, Mavis then set out with as many boys as possible stuffed in her car and a fleet of more boys followed on their bicycles. The fifteen boys who got permission had prepared their questions (with help from their friends) and Mavis gave them numbers to set the order in which to ask questions.

The Bank Manager, Mr. Kumar was absolutely delighted by the visit. He could not believe it these young boys had such insightful questions. They were so polite. It was exactly what should happen at school, a visit to the bank! He ended the day by saying: “I’m so impressed by all of you and I wish you all well in the future!” He then gave every boy a chocolate.

Mavis tells us the boys enjoyed the field trip so much that they wanted it to last longer. Her only regret was that she could not take more children. It seems like everyone in the ‘Going to...’ program (that’s what they call us, not Going to School :)) wanted to go too, but the Principal had only allowed fifteen in the first go because of safety and permission.

As the visit was such a success and all the boys were talking about at school, they arranged it again for the next Saturday. And this time we went along...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQW1q7GMRlI&feature=share&list=UUnLSJaciXxDwvUCuHyFqs8w

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Skills@scale: Postcards & prizes, recognizing the little things in 2013

When Sarwat, one of our team members, visited a school last month, the children recognized her immediately: “You wrote to us!” they exclaimed and Sarwat nodded, removing another surprise from her bag: a backpack for young girl with the best project.

You see, for most of 2012, the team in Bihar and Delhi, had been overwhelmed by the quality and design of children’s projects that we collect each week: thousands of children have been hard at work collecting giant yellow chart paper with glitter, ribbon, interwoven two colour drawings, intricate design, even 3D models and portraits. So while we collect and grade each project, and we’d sent postcards, we decided we needed to do more. We thought we’d visit schools as a surprise, and reward children whose projects were superlative.

We’ve been delighted that children and teachers were quite plainly shocked to see us coming to meet them personally with prizes. Teachers and principals were extremely proud that their students were recognized and rewarded. Now, there is no going back. While we will continue to track each child and school by the number of skills projects we collect each week, and their grades for each project, we know there is no replacement for surprises, personal connections and recognition. And we know this means we’ll be writing even more postcards, and making even more visits with prizes in 2013.

Links:

My Family Tree
My Family Tree

Nishu Anand from P.N Anglo High School, Patna. A family tree project stood out from the pile of hundreds of skills projects. We looked at the beautiful shades of orange, yellow and brown make the most unusual but beautiful tree impression on a large piece of cheap white paper. As we started monitoring the first activity skills projects handed in by the children, we saw a parchment similarly made just as beautiful. We realized it was the same boy whose unique sense of design and skill stood out in all his work and was easily identifiable. In fact we realized that he possibly used the same three colours because he didn’t possess any others. The confident, powerful strokes with the great combinations and aesthetic use of the colours surprised us, as his skill and ability paralleled professional designer work we had seen before. We wondered if he himself knew how talented he was... we visited his school to give him an award and are talking to the local newspaper to print photos of him and his artwork. 

 

Md Shahid Raza, Miller High School, Patna. As we sat monitoring the fourth activity for Jaane Kyun?, we realized that this activity was particularly multilayered, having many different elements to evaluate as it’s a group activity. The more activities we saw, small parts were sometimes being left out or some concepts seemed unclear, even though the effort and attempt was apparent. We finally came across one activity which was complete in every way and beautiful and creative as well. Each aspect of it was included the way it was supposed to be. Concepts were surprisingly clear and very well presented, and each step of the activity, including little pointers and notes given in the instructions had been clearly and creatively presented. As we looked for the names of the group of students who had made this project, we saw only one name and realized that it was only one child that had done the entire project: Md Shahid Raza. We were very surprised he had completed the project by himself, it could not have been an easy task. It would take an exceptional child, to be able to do this. We sent him a personal postcard and went to visit his school to congratulate him and his teacher. 

Getting to the bottom of it: solving problems!
Getting to the bottom of it: solving problems!
My teacher is an entrepreneur
My teacher is an entrepreneur

Nishu Anand from P.N Anglo High School, Patna. A family tree project stood out from the pile of hundreds of skills projects. We looked at the beautiful shades of orange, yellow and brown make the most unusual but beautiful tree impression on a large piece of cheap white paper. As we started monitoring the first activity skills projects handed in by the children, we saw a parchment similarly made just as beautiful. We realized it was the same boy whose unique sense of design and skill stood out in all his work and was easily identifiable. In fact we realized that he possibly used the same three colours because he didn’t possess any others. The confident, powerful strokes with the great combinations and aesthetic use of the colours surprised us, as his skill and ability paralleled professional designer work we had seen before. We wondered if he himself knew how talented he was... we visited his school to give him an award and are talking to the local newspaper to print photos of him and his artwork. 

 

Md Shahid Raza, Miller High School, Patna

As we sat monitoring the fourth activity for Jaane Kyun?, we realized that this activity was particularly multilayered, having many different elements to evaluate as it’s a group activity. The more activities we saw, small parts were sometimes being left out or some concepts seemed unclear, even though the effort and attempt was apparent. We finally came across one activity which was complete in every way and beautiful and creative as well. Each aspect of it was included the way it was supposed to be. Concepts were surprisingly clear and very well presented, and each step of the activity, including little pointers and notes given in the instructions had been clearly and creatively presented. As we looked for the names of the group of students who had made this project, we saw only one name and realized that it was only one child that had done the entire project: Md Shahid Raza. We were very surprised he had completed the project by himself, it could not have been an easy task. It would take an exceptional child, to be able to do this. We sent him a personal postcard and went to visit his school to congratulate him and his teacher. 

 

One afternoon, our Master Trainer Sarwat received a phone call and had an extended, hearty and enthusiastic conversation with the school teacher, Mrs. Sangeeta Sinha, P.N Anglo High School, Patna. She had apparently just called to tell Sarwat that she, while going though the Teacher Manual to prepare for the second activity Entrepreneurs are Everywhere, realized that this activity was very different from what her students were used to, so she had come up with her own solution. She took two days before that Saturday to do the whole activity at home, so by Saturday she had a sample project ready. After the story was read in all the classes, everyone was explained what to do next for their activity and she walked around to all the sections showing them the sample project she had made so that they were clear about what to do. It would have been one of their first group activities, in which they had to go out into their neighbourhoods and interview a local entrepreneur and then write a newspaper article about him/her. She happily told Sarwat that the students had already submitted their newspapers and had made them beautifully as well as correctly, and she was ready to submit them to us. She had called Sarwat to reassure her that the students were able to do even the second activity and there was nothing to worry about. And inspired teacher can make a huge difference.

 

Pooja Kumari from Gandhi Arya Kanya Uchha Vidyalaya, Mansoor Ganj, Patna.

 

As our team sat in our office buried under projects, charts and papers, Abha passed me a small and flimsy booklet to evaluate. Still trying to find a universal way to evaluate the ‘presentations’ of these projects as it was still the first activity, The Little Box of Big Skills, I picked up the booklet and began reading the neatly written paragraph stories and realized exactly how subjective this process can be. As I flipped the pages I realized that the paper had uneven edges, and the project was actually pieces of scrap paper torn neatly and stapled together. I read through the stories and they were beautiful and original, explaining the skills in very unique but accurate ways. At the back of each story were drawings in pencil also representing what happens in the stories. It was a complete and creative skills project which when we began to evaluate and give marks, we gave Pooja 11/12, one of the highest marks we had ever given. Pooja is brilliant.

 

 

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Attachments:
Teachers in Bihar playing skills games
Teachers in Bihar playing skills games

Be! Schools launches in 70 schools in Bihar with stories that teach skills to 30,000 children

School is back in session and Be! Schools has launched in Bihar to teach children in Grade 9 entrepreneurial skills! We are starting with 70 schools in Patna, and expanding to 1,000 schools in the state this year. Leading up to the launch, the Going to School team trained eight Master Trainers to conduct teacher training sessions. In late July, we conducted a 5-day training with 170 government school teachers to help them teach Be! Books and conduct entrepreneurial skills projects in their classrooms.  Eventually we will train 2,000 teachers across Bihar. 

Teachers told us over and over that they’d never been to a training like this, and they were excited to teach these books and skills to their classes. 

Kamini Singh, teacher at BMP Higher Secondary School in Patna, told us “So far we had not been trained to teach children in ways that would interest them. Even the most absent minded children love stories and enjoy games. That’s why children will never find these books and activities tiresome.”

“I like the new approach of group discussion and questioning method where different opinions can be expressed.” Sanjay Kumar Chaudhary from Patna High School, Gardanibagh said. 

“Like children, adults also love colours. The stories attracted everyone and I found the colours exciting.” Sangeeta Sinha, P N Anglo Sanskrit Senior Secondary School, Naya Tola, Patna

After the training, several teachers called our offices to urge us to send books quickly. Our Master Trainers personally delivered books to 70 schools—with a total enrollment of over 30,000 students in Grade 9. Some schools have over 1200 students in Grade 9! Traveling through monsoon rains, the Master Trainers were welcomed by principals and teachers with steaming cups of ginger tea.

Master Trainers will continue visiting each school in the upcoming week to further guide teachers and collect completed skills projects that allow children to practice skills in their real lives. 

Playing skills games is fun!
Playing skills games is fun!
Our team delivering books to schools
Our team delivering books to schools
Girls make skills projects after reading Be! Books
Girls make skills projects after reading Be! Books

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Going to School Fund

Location: New Delhi - India
Website: http:/​/​www.goingtoschool.com
Project Leader:
Lisa Heydlauff
Director
New Delhi, India
$14,820 raised of $47,500 goal
 
335 donations
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