What about the language barrier?
In truth, this project is meant for everyone, of every culture, economic class, and cookie preference.
Unfortunately, Asian education often omits creativity and exploration training in lieu of producing higher test scores and uniformity. While there is definitely a place for tradition and cohesiveness in culture, education that neglects personal identity in order to conform to rigid standards often leads to people who tend to follow orders instead of finding ways to produce results. I want to show that, through creative thinking, followers become leaders and produce much more for their society.
Strange Tiny People is meant to be accessible to all children, and I very much intend to eventually visit as many possible locations and spread as much awesome as my feet will carry me. But there has to be a starting place, and that place needed to be somewhere that is quite often lacking in creative education, as well as be geographically accessible via cheap methods of transportation (i.e., no air travel) so as to visit as many places as possible.
This is just the first voyage on this journey, kiddos ;~).
How long is the course?
Fortunately for the world, it is full of tons of beautiful and diverse languages. Unfortunately for me, I don’t speak all of them. In fact, I speak very nearly none of them.
Due to the language barrier faced with doing a project like this, it is unfortunately necessary that any organizations that wish to be involved in the STP project have an english speaking interpreter, or a class with basic English skills. (If your class speaks Mandarin Chinese 普通话, then a I may be able to still teach your class without a translator).
If your organization has no English speaking staff, please still get in touch by filling out e form. I will be working with many locals as I travel to try my best in securing local assistants to aid in the course; however this is subject to the availability of willing assistants.
Is a 3-week course enough to make a difference?
The syllabus (which is available for viewing here) is structured to be very flexible to the needs and time constraints of each organization, but the expected length of the course is approximately 2-3 weeks (assuming a 3-5 day class week).
So.. You're help poor kids to become starving artists?
Short answer: YES.
Long answer: It only takes a fraction of a second to light a match, another to start a fire.
Longerer answer: Of course, the more time spent training, the more you get out of it, but the core principles and instruction are what this course aims to instill. Empowerment and guidance are all that I can offer.
Teacher training is also offered to the staff of all the organizations worked with, in order to provide the children with on-going support as well as offer opportunities to future students.
It’s up to the children to do the real legwork. Fortunately, they are quite equipped to handle the load, as long as they have someone to show them how to start.
What happens to the stories?
Creativity isn’t just about artistic ability. People with a conditioned creative mind are able to realize different ways of solving problems, socialize and empathize with others, and are more open to very often unnoticed opportunities. From inventing the next cool gadget, to becoming an awesome painter, running for political office, or just making the best fried rice in town, creativity is often what separates being merely proficient in a skill and being a friggin Jedi Master at it.
There is no one that is just not creative. Everyone has creative ability, but you can’t instruct it from a text book. It’s a skill, and thus requires exercise to perform well, just like any muscle in an athlete’s body. Once properly trained and conditioned, creativity becomes natural, and finds it’s way into every thought, idea, and decision. You know those guys that seem like they just have it together, and make things seem easy where you’re always struggling? Jobs, Picasso, Curie, Waits, Page, Tessla, Chopin, Spike. Those are the guys who have put in the time training their brains to work creatively.
Now imagine these guys have had this training instilled since they were children. That’s the kind of people I know I want for the next generation.
How can I get the book?
The children’s stories will be posted here in the stories section along with their illustrations as they are completed, and eventually be published into a book, with all proceeds going to the charities worked with. The children retain all rights to their stories and will be given full credit in the book as well as the website.
How do I get you to teach at my school?
The book is expected to be available January 2014 and will be originally sold online, with the possibility of a retail release in the US and Asia. Sign up for the newsletter on the right or like the facebook page to keep updated.
How can I be a local volunteer for the STP project?
Simple. Just fill out the sign up form! While charitable and low-income schools and organizations take preference, all requests from any organization will be considered. All kids deserve a chance at more creative lives, rich or poor.
First of all, you’re awesome. You get a high five and a cookie.
Just fill out the volunteer form here and tell a little about your available skills and what you hope to get out of the project.
Also, if you are a student seeking internship credit, please have your professor or school administration send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . I cannot promise to meet all qualifications your class may have, but I am happy to do everything possible for anyone who is interested in helping others.