What can you do if you need money?
Learners find out about two local alternatives to the usual money and banking systems.
They explore whether one of the systems might be suitable for them.
- Warm-up (small group brainstorm);
- Lead-in (sharing & discussing ideas);
- Reading on the Web (finding out about LETS or microcredit);
- Reporting back (explaining how the systems work);
- Using what you read (large groups/whole class explore whether a LETS might be practical).
How can you get money? - warm up
- Brainstorm in small groups:
Give learners around 3 minutes to come up with as many ways as they can of getting money;
- Collect learners' ideas on the board. Put them in loose groups, e.g. illegal, borrowing, employment, selling things, charity...
- Ask learners:
Are there any problems with any of the methods on the board?
Will they work for everyone? If not, why not?
Focus on borrowing & bring out some of the problems, like the need for collateral; interest rates...
Alternative systems reading on the web
- Tell learners about these 2 people:
- A factory worker in a country in the North whose working hours (and therefore his pay) have been cut by half. He is not a rich man.*
- A woman in a country in the South who makes mats. She borrowed money from a money-lender to buy her materials and now she must pay a huge amount of interest on the loan.*
- Divide the class in half.
Tell learners they are going to find out about one of these two people, and the new idea that helped them:
- The learners' task is to be able to explain to someone from the other group how their system (LETS or Microcredit) works.
*If learners are not familiar with the terms 'North' and 'South' as used here, you may want to refer them to the North /South map sometime before doing this activity
How it works - reporting & explaining
After learners have finished reading, pair people up with someone who researched the same topic. Give them a short time to work together on the best way to explain their system to other people.
- Put together 2 pairs who read about different systems: learners explain to each other how their system works.
Encourage learners to check their understanding of what the other pair tell them.
- When groups have finished:
- Ask one pair who did not read about Microcredit to explain the system to the class;
- Ask one pair who did not read about LETS to explain it to the class.
Would a LETS work for us? - large group/whole class
The aim of this activity is to explore whether a system like LETS could be more realistic than people might think.
(In fact, I first did it with a class because I was pretty sceptical myself: it turned out to be a surprisingly positive experience, as we discovered that several of our skills, abilities and hobbies could be useful to other people. Often, these were not the first things we thought of - see note below.)
- Learners work individually.Give them a few minutes to make a list of:
- Goods and services they could offer other people;
- Goods and services that they would need or want.
- Who can do what?
If your class is small (max 15 students), you can do this as a whole class activity;
otherwise, groups of 10 - 12 are good, with a coordinator & a secretary.
- Get someone to start things off by telling the others what they can do, and what they want. (secretary records the information on the board or a large piece of paper)
- Coordinator asks if anyone can provide any of the goods or services;
and if anyone wants any of the goods or services that the first student offered
(secretary records all matches)
- Go round the group until all learners have had a chance to participate*.
- When everyone has finished, the group looks at how well things needed and things offered match up
either through discussion in the group, or individually (on tape, paper, or email), learners give their personal response to the idea of taking part in a LETS.
*Note: While it's important that all learners get the chance to take part, this activity works best if it is done in a pretty informal way:
Learners don't have to stick to what they put on their paper. People often realise they can do something that someone else wants, or that they could use a service someone else is offering, although they didn't think of it before the activity started.
© Chris Doye 1999
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Last Modified: 18th July 1999