Changing perspectives through K-8 microfinance with educator Debbie Burns
Educator Debbie Burns has taught PreK through Grade 6 for over 30 years. For the past six years she has leveraged her passion for service by advocating the importance of service learning in educating active global citizens by seeking to instill a servant heart within her students. She agrees wholeheartedly with Aristotle that ”educating the mind without educating the heart, is no education at all.” In this podcast Debbie shares how that she and her colleagues teamed up with administration and parents to transform a grade 3 and 4 economics unit from “me” to “we”, using the One Hen Project to teach the academic principles of financial literacy while also teaching to the heart.
This podcast is one of ten in the HowTo@ConcordiaShanghai series. For information on how to contract the Limitless platform to benefit your organization email Ally here.
The impact of this project wasn’t just on the kids. It impacted us adults too.
Intro to the One Hen Project
One Hen, Inc. and its mission were inspired by the award-winning children’s book, One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference, by author Katie Smith Milway. The book is based on a true story and tells the story of a young Ghanaian boy named Kojo who makes a big difference by buying one hen, which in turn lays eggs and hatches more hens, until he eventually becomes the largest chicken farmer in the country.
One Hen, Inc. aims to inspire other young social entrepreneurs to follow in Kojo’s footsteps.
“Incorporating service learning is taking the academic principals that you need to be teaching anyway and using that for a real purpose servicing others.”
The whole unit is designed to develop in the students:
- Leadership skills
- Cooperative skills
- Basics in business
Additionally, the process will:
- Give kids a sense of the challenges faced by other areas of the world
- Touch kid’s hearts
- Free kids to apply their mind and hands to global issues as a response of the heart
A measurable student impact
- Moves money focus from oneself
- Teaches the principals of entrepreneurship
- Empowers through building a viable business
- Impacts others by funding microfinance loans
Impact on the greater community
“We should stop telling our kids that we want to prepare them to be able to leave school and be productive, positive change making, global citizens…through One Hen they have shown that they have the ability to do that at any age!”
- Adults responded dramatically to all the kids accomplished
- Funded KIVA microfinance projects
Class set up
- Use the One Hen Organization. It’s all there!
- Classroom and after school settings
- Advantaged and disadvantaged areas
Must-haves to ensure success
- Administration and staff that give their support to the messiness of service learning
- Understanding of service learning (one can acquire this)
- The One Hen curriculum
Hint from Debbie: “The first year we got the workbook and journals for all the kids, but found we really only used a few pages…and even then we needed to adapt them to our particular needs.”
Wish list items
- Parental involvement and support
- Months before meet with parents to set up a plan to stock and man the “store”
- Team planning for the unit
- Get up to speed on the story of Kojo and curriculum options of One Hen
Identifying the right partner
- Bankers (Concordia used their administrators, especially the CFO)
Your next step
Do the research!
- Service learning Guru: If you are new to service learning, connect with Catherine Berger Kay
- Ready made content: Go to onehen.org
- Have Katie Smith Millway be a visiting author for book week
- One Hen by Katie Smith Millway
- OneHen.org for curriculum
- Helen Rosenfeld is the executive director of One Hen, Inc. and was of major help, as well as Katie.
Tip from Debbie: “Helen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell her Debbie and Karin from Concordia International School Shanghai sent you.”
- Kiva.org for microfinance projects
Connecting with Debbie
Email email@example.com, Attention: Debbie Burns and we’ll make sure Debbie receives your message.