Final preparations

LAMPLAIMAT, July 24 – We have an early start this morning, beginning to go through the lessons in English and Thai, make any final adjustments and then, as our educational experts remind us, face the 60 percent of teaching that is process: how the lesson is taught.

Our local advisors believe that teaching by story-telling, while interesting, hopefully memorable and not too long, might still be boring. To make the process more interactive than a story and a discussion are, we’ve decided that a game might help. And, in the area of learning business through a large, group game, Stanford has once again provided us with useful experience. (The first time many of us met at Stanford was at a pre-term session where we were assigned various roles in a group, and different groups competed against each other to produce and sell greeting cards. The discussions that followed covered topics from ethics to teamwork, planning to leadership.) Drawing from that experience, we’re creating two games, one for investing on the first day, and another that will incorporate two lessons, production and marketing, on the second day. Our goal is to turn the stories and discussions, which are still somewhat more conceptual than our audience would like, and add an aspect that is more applied, more tangible.

As we slowly go through the games, we review the overall learning goals (making sure they are consistent with the players’ goals) the rules, the answers to potential questions, and where we will and will not exert control of aspects of the games.

Final preparations - Lamplaimat

Anita, our incredible translator (and CSR officer at PDA), manages to facilitate the day in two languages, keeping all parties involved and informed. Before we even finish the first game, the PDA staff comes up with an idea for a second game that incorporates the marketing and production lessons into a game of making and selling baskets made of paper strips representing bamboo. We’re delighted to see how well this is coming together: Our lessons now have lesson plans, an outlined agenda and formal teaching notes – and, perhaps most importantly, the support of everyone involved.

Scott creates game pieces

Tomorrow we’ll finish writing the basket-making game and test it with some of the staff here at the Lamplaimat center. Then, at 5 p.m., the show begins: our students arrive and, ready or not, the Barefoot MBA leaps from the page and becomes real.

LAMPLAIMAT, July 25 – Our test with the staff goes better than we imagine. Their creativity and skill with scissors and pens produces paper baskets more intricate and functional than we would have expected. (We assumed they would draw, color and cut out basket shapes; instead, they assembled three-dimensional bags with staplers, tape and paper, including exterior pockets, multiple color options and different handle lengths.) The feedback we receive is helpful.The questions the staff members ask are insightful for what our activity contains and what it does not.

We spend the afternoon making a few revisions. Soon, 5 p.m. arrives, and, slowly, so do our students.

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