The Toolkit – Part 1: Foundations (12) – core activities

This post is part of the working draft of the DriverlessCrocodile Toolkit (read more here). I’d love comments, links to resources related to the theme, and original contributions.

Once your vision and mission are clear, you can start to think about the more specific set of “hows” that explain your main strategy for achieving your mission. For now, I’m calling these “Core Activities”.

To continue with the example of Saya Suka Membaca – and with apologies for the repetition, here’s how this might look in practice:

Vision: We work for a future where all children across Indonesia have the opportunity to learn to read, and to love reading.

Mission: (To do this we) … equip teachers, communities and families across Indonesia with the skills and resources they need to share a love of reading with their children.

Core Activities:

  • Creating Indonesia-specific reading curricula and resources that are effective tools for teaching reading, engaging for learners, and easy to use for teachers;
  • Producing high-quality, contextually relevant stories and graded reading books so that Indonesian children can enjoy the pleasure of reading as early as possible while progressing towards fluency and mastery of reading;
  • Equipping teachers to use these resources effectively through training and on-going mentoring, helping them to develop as skilled and inspiring teachers of reading who do their best for the children in their care;
  • Contributing to the wider literacy movement in Indonesia through generously sharing our knowledge and resources and by building and contributing to networks of people working for change.

Specificity, verbosity and rates of change

As we work through each of these levels – vision, mission, core activities – we’re describing something more specific, using a greater number of words to do so… and we’re probably describing something that will change more rapidly.

For example, in some places a high-quality reading curriculum and great stories might already exist, but achieving the mission (getting these resources into the hands of teachers, parents and communities) might a long way off. In this case the first two core activities could be replaced with the idea of finding distribution channels or funding models to get the resources out there.

There might come a day where teachers are highly skilled, but literacy might not be getting traction in homes and communities, in which case the word “teachers” might be dropped from the mission statement, or become a secondary activity.

From the general to the operational

Note that these core activities are still quite general, and don’t say much specific about how these things will be achieved. For example, “Equipping teachers through training,” could be achieved by in-person training, one-on-one mentoring, or using online or distance learning techniques – or a combination of several of these methods.

If you happen to have a clear (and exclusive) focus on a particular way of achieving your mission and vision (e.g. you decide to provide training untirely online and at a distance), it’s fine to make it clear in your mission or core activities (“We use online training to transform teacher education…”) but it’s important that you’re able to justify (to yourself and to your peers) why you’re not exploring other avenues to achieve your aims.

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