education in small steps and full circles
conformity with our mandate to work for social change through changing
the cultural dynamics of the world, Micro Steps will undertake the
following ongoing projects as funding permits.
Micro Steps will develop a curriculum for two to three week camps that
will help set a sound and exciting foundation for life. In these camps,
11 and 12 year old children will study thought-provoking
passages that reflect the common ground of the world's
and philosophies. Many of these center on variants of the golden rule
or the law of universality. Critical thinking skills will be
developed. Challenge education will be experienced and, as a
of the camp, children's reading skills will often improve dramatically..
Every culture has children's rhymes or the equivalent. Many of the
messages are neutral or positive in nature, but some are extremely
negative or about history that has long past and has little relevance
in the world of children today. Micro Steps intends to sponsor contests
or create other incentives to create new children's rhymes for every
numerically significant culture and language group.
HILL - Changing Second Language Learning Paradigms in China
Students in China are very diligent and are excellent at memorization.
However the methods of teaching language are not sufficient for most
students to truly acquire a second language. Out of this need, and with
the help of a small army of TA's, a program was developed called
Holistic Integrated Language Learning or HILL. This is a collaborative
effort between Micro Steps and Guizhou University.
HILL uses a number of commonly accepted second language
acquisition theories, assumptions and methods. HILL understands that
the fear of "losing face" is a significant barrier to acquisition of a
second language. Secondly, language is fundamentally used to search for
meaning, therefore (at university level) using a language to search for
meaning generates enough interest and enthusiasm to help students
forget they are speaking a second language and begin to communicate in
a naturalistic way. There are other assumptions and theories that we
have structured HILL around, but these two are the most important, all
embracing and likely responsible for most of HILL's success.
Projects in Under-served Communities
conformity with our mandate to work provide opportunties for
underserved communities, Micro Steps will undertake the following
ongoing projects as funding permits.
Support and Encourgement
of Rural Preschools
Educators agree that children who attend preschools jump
their peers who were not able to attend. Many countries in the world
struggle with the cost of elementary, secondary and high
and simple do no have the extra funds to create and maintain the cost
of preschools. In the early 1980's Mrs. Frances Fletcher began to train
preschool teachers in Swaziland. Many of these teacher were absorbed
into the growing private and religious preschools. Others simply went
home and started a preschool in their comunnity. With little besides
knowledge they gained from the training, these teachers struggled
financially and were not able to afford much in the way of school
supplies. Our contribution to this educational endeavor is to purchase
school supplies with a case worker to some of these rural
preschools. The case worker makes unannounced visits to these
preschools and quickly surveys the need. The case worker makes a list
what she determines would enhance the school and presents it to the
teacher on the spot.
Libraries in Rural Areas
Education is a major expense to governments everywhere. In many
developing countries, this problem is especially acute. Often the
support for urban schools is greater than for rural schools. Many rural
schools have a space for a library but no books to fill it. It is a
rare occurrence, under such circumstances, for children to have access
to books. Most lessons are delivered by the teacher, written on a
blackboard and copied into a notebook. This project will place books in
small rural libraries in developing countries where there are currently
few, if any, books.
Educational Support of
With the world-wide spread of HIV/AIDS there are increasing geographic
pockets of large numbers of orphans. UNICEF, through studies,
determined that the best way to minimize further emotional trauma to
such children is to keep them in their home villages where extended
family and friends can continue to nurture them. The emotional and
growth of such children is best served by trying to keep them in their
home village and to educate them there.
Based on this, our approach is to focus on those orphaned young
children who have been able to remain in their home villages or have
been moved to a village where they have family. We will help, where
possible, to sponsor children to attend school by paying for their
school fees and school uniforms. As part of this process, we will do
everything possible to create and maintain a healthy attitude in such
children with respect to the gift of their education.
ESL / EFL
Many people are thirsty to learn English. Many countries have programs
to allow children and adults to study English. We intend to produce
materials, using short stories as a basis, to assist in this teaching.
In conjunction with universities and governments, we will offer a large
number of short stories that will be recorded in English and can be
printed in both English and a local language.
We will also spearhead other ESL / EFL projects via internet based
Micro Loans for Education
Micro Loans have proven to be an effective way to jump start
economic development. We intend to use Micro Loans to jump
educational projects that might not otherwise see the light of day.
Implementation is some time off, but if you have interest or ideas in
this regard, please contact us.
Educational Research Projects
conformity with our mandate to work to undertake research that can
change educational dynamics, Micro Steps will undertake the
following ongoing projects as funding permits.
Among the thousands of existing languages in the world, English stands
out as the most widespread "lingua franca." Why this is the case we
will not debate, nor will we attempt to argue if other languages are
better suited. Airline pilots who wish to fly internationally must
know English. In the same way many academic disciplines use English as
their "lingua franca."
However, when compared to a language such as Italian, the complexities
of learning English are daunting. The primary reason for this is that
Italian has a single sound-syllable relationship. This is not the case
in English. In English, the letter "a" has many sounds it represents,
as does "b" and "c."
Montessori 's methods of teaching children to write and then read, work
well in Italian, but do not work so well in English.
Micro Steps intend to investigate the economics of the inconsistencies
of English and to estimate the social and economic cost of
learning and learning disabilities that are causally related to the
inconsistencies of English.
If you are interested in any of these projects, please contact us.