"We are pushed to relate culturally many times every day, and so far we are measuring
up. The educators here are also very appreciative of our methods; in Botswana, the
"fail rate" for moving up out of 10th grade is approximately 80%. However, at Stepping Stones International (SSI), the NGO with which Courtney and I are affiliated, the most recent fail rate was
0%!! Students and educators all point to the success of the techniques we have shared
over the last 4 years."
~ Dr. Kathleen Brown, Director, University of Utah Reading Clinic in the College of Education
My colleague, Megan Bryant (UURC Reading Intervention Specialist) and I hold 8-Day training sessions in the Botswana Ministry of Education’s “Out of School” program that serves individuals who do not attend, or have not attended school. Many of these individuals do not read above a primary grade level, so we taught them the basics of teaching people of all ages how to read. We also met with many government officials, as well as faculty from several teachers’ colleges who are interested in adopting our “practicum method” of teacher education. Many of the sites these educators represent are out in the bush, with instruction happening under a tree.
Dr. Kathleen Brown on what stands out about her time in Botswana:
I was happiest about the response from the educators who told me that they have never had training like that which we provided. They found it engaging, motivating, and worthwhile. They told me over and over again how they wanted to use the same types of methods with their students around the country---especially older Batswana living in the bush.
On how her experiences inform what is included in classes at the University of Utah:
We will infuse our syllabi with global themes related to diversity, as well as common goals: literacy for all, high-quality instruction for all, as well as the opportunity to practice global sensibilities right here along the Wasatch Front, which is home to refugees from around the world—including Botswana.
Kathleen Brown & Connie Mogara on the radio in Gaborone, Botswana with DJ ZeeZee
L to R: Courtney McBeth (Hinckley Institute), Minister Unity Dow (Ministry of Education), Connie Mogara (SSI), Tinny Seitei (Operations Manager, SSI), Lisa Jamu (Executive Director/Founder SSI), Kathleen Brown (Director UURC), Megan Bryant (UURC)
Kathleen and Meghan visiting the classroom of a Reception (kindergarten) teacher at Tshwaragano Primary School who had previously been trained in our whole class models the summer before.
You can find videos, photos and more about the Botswana experience at our website!
Associate Director, Hinckley Institute &
Director of Global Internships for the Office of Global Engagement
Dr. Kathleen Brown
Director of the University of Utah Reading Clinic (UURC)
Intervention Specialist, UURC
Stepping Stones International is a non-governmental, non-profit organization registered as a 501(c)3 in Utah. SSI provides an after school program to 200+ orphans and vulnerable adolescents (ages 12-18+) who have experienced abuse, inconsistent schooling and/or have been affected by HIV. An important aspect of SSI's mission is to improve participating teens' English literacy and thus improve their economic prospects. SSI is working to build and improve Botswana's developing education system. Interns and educators from the University of Utah have the opportunity to be part of this progressive, important endeavor.