Hosting The State Education Minister – The Honorable Susan Close – in The Indonesian Classroom

What an experience it was teaching with the state education minister, her entourage, both our PEPS school leaders and several SRC representatives in my classroom!

Before the arrival of Susan Close (SA’s education minister), to the Indonesian room, I pre-warned my 5/6 class that during their Indonesian lesson, the education minister would be visiting to observe them learning Indonesian via TPRS/CI. With Marg’s (their teacher) help, we provided the ketua kelas & the tukang foto time to practice their jobs. The ketua kelas needed to ensure that he addressed the minister correctly incorporating an Indonesian twist: “Murid- murid berdiri dan kasih hormat kepada The Honorable Bu Susan Close”. The tukang foto’s job included taking photographs of the minister chatting with Lincoln – our host (pemandu)  and then ensuring the visit finished with a class selfie. The whole class then practised all of this a few times which was lots of fun.

We then returned to our current story, ‘Dua Mulut’ (2 Mouths)  beginning with a PowerPoint reading ala Terry Waltz as she demonstrated at the SA 2017 Fleurieu Conference. Unfortunately the minister missed this and arrived just after we began the post story activity.

The activity I taught was one that I had read recently on the iFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching Facebook PLN group. Students listened to and then illustrated 3 sentences read to them 1 by 1, from the story. They then swapped their clearboard with a friend. I repeated these 3 sentences many times incorporating reps and circling while students double checked that everything I’d said was included into the illustration given them by their friend. If the illustration was incomplete, they had to add the missing details. I then slowly read to them 1 by 1 three new sentences (that followed on from the previous sentences). Students listened to each sentence and added the new detail to the clearboard before swapping again with a new friend. I then repeated all the sentences, starting with the initial sentences getting as many reps as possible while students double checked again and added any missing detail to the illustration.

As Susan Close stepped through the doorway, the ketua kelas led the class greeting which appeared to blow her away.  Lincoln then stepped up and introduced himself and explained his role as host and translator. 

The lesson then continued with Lincoln translating and explaining to my left and the entourage standing along one side of my room and overflowing out the door!

While I was teaching, I was able to focus on my students and block out the fact that there were many extra bodies in our room. However as soon as the activity finished, I looked up and without intending to, made eye contact with the onlookers.  My mind instantly went blank!! That terrifying moment when self doubt creeps in and the could’ve/ should’ve list begins. Did the activity demonstrate #TPRS well? Should I have demonstrated kursi luar biasa? Did I incorporate enough circling? Etc etc All I could process was that the tukang foto had yet to arrange the class selfie which in hindsight was a good idea because Susan Close must have been in the Indonesian for way longer than the tight schedule had originally set out!! 

Later at recess when I thanked her for spending so much time in my room, she confessed that the TPRS observation had been what she’d been looking forward to the most!! What diplomacy. One of her comments that I loved was how amazed she was with the almost entire lesson being conducted in Indonesian. I truly hope that she appreciated the amount of communication in Indonesian that was happening as opposed to lots of talking about Indonesian in English as used to happen in my room!!

I would also like to acknowledge Margaret Roberts (back left in class selfie) for staying with me during the observation (her non- contact time) and supporting not just one of her colleagues, but also the TPRS Indonesian program.  After the minister left, Marg provided us all with a much appreciated brainbreak leading her students and me all in a quirky chant. Just what we needed. Terima kasih Ibu Marg; you are luar biasa!

Awesome Preposition Indonesian Brain Break – MI, Mi, Mi

One of the fantastic things we learned last week from our AIYEP visitors was a hand clapping rhyme that my middle and upper primary students absolutely loved.

Farah typed out the tweaked lyrics and I put them up on the smart board.

Mi, Mi, Mi

mi atas, mi bawah

mi depan, mi belakang

mi satu, dua, tiga

mi empat, lima, enam

mi ciyo, ciyo, ciyo

mi gulung, gulung, gulung

gulung-gulung kasur

 

I firstly asked the students to watch  Kak Farah, Kak Ricky, Kak Oscar & Kak Rini. They paired up and demonstrated the hand clapping rhyme. After a few repetitions, I then asked for volunteers to come forward and have a go with the ‘kakaks’. The aim was to get as many repetitions of the rhyme as possible before the students did it themselves and this would increase both their confidence and chances of success!! Again, the volunteer students had 2 goes with their mentor kakak’s.  The class then looked at the lyrics briefly. This was to purely show them what had been chanted and also to quickly translate to explain most of the hand movements.

Students were then asked to choose a partner (student or kakak partner) and be ready to start. We all together chanted satu, dua, tiga, (1,2,3) then began the hand clapping rhyme following along with the kakak’s. There was much hilarity while students had a go for the first time with a partner. Again, for the final time, students were asked to repeat the rhyme with this partner. Then to ramp it up, I asked everyone to change partners, ala Pak Iriantos’ workshop at ASILE. We continued chanting the rhyme and changing partners over and over again, after each run through. It was a great way for students to get repetitions on the rhyme with new partners in a fun way.

Here is a snippet showing you just how much fun it was:

2016 – AIYEP in South Australia

Have you or your students heard of AIYEP ? Even though AIYEP has been around for 35 years, I have only just  learned of it and then only by chance!

 

AIYEP (pronounced Ay-yep) is the commonly used acronym for the Australian Indonesian Youth Exchange Program. This program was established in 1981 and is fully supported by the Australian Government (DFAT) and the Indonesian Government (Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sport) and promotes peace and understanding between our two countries. Each year the program is based in a different state/Territory in Australia and in Indonesia it is held in a different province. This year, it is based in South Australia and Sulawesi.

 

The participants, 9 men and 9 women, aged 21-25 years, are chosen from applicants who are either undertaking tertiary studies or working in sectors that will contribute to improving bilateral relationships.

 

Here in SA, we are almost at the end of the first half of the program. 18 Indonesian youths have 3 days left before heading back to Adelaide to meet the 18 Australian youths who will soon be flying to Indonesia for the final part of the program. The Indonesians arrived almost 2 months ago and have enjoyed staying with host families in firstly a city setting and then lastly a rural setting while enjoying work experience placements relevant to their chosen career path. 

 

Our region is about to host the farewell ceremony for the Indonesian group who have been here on the Fleurieu Peninsular for just over 2 weeks. Having 18 Indonesian youths in our community has been such a bonus for our Indonesian language programs. Several local families have offered to be the host families for our visitors and are just loving the opportunity to get acquainted with their temporary adopted son/daughter! Due to Indonesian cultural norms, it is usually difficult for them to address adults by their christian name, so they were encouraged to address their host parents are Mum/Dad. The variations of this have been hilarious. At the Victor Harbor Christmas Pageant last night, I smiled each time I heard someone being addressed as ‘Mom’ or even ‘Daddy’. No matter how many times it is explained that ‘Mom’ is American and not used in Australia, it has continued! Too much exposure to USA TV content?

 

At PEPS, we were fortunate to host 5 for their work placement; 4 in the primary school and one in the kindergarten. The first week was crazy as our inaugural Twilight Pasar Fundraiser was to be held that Friday. They spent equal time observing classroom teachers and supporting Indonesian lessons. Due to crazy pasar preparations, I wasn’t able to explain in any detail about the pedagogy I’m using in my classroom but thankfully Sharon did at Victor R-7, which led to quite a bit of discussion last night at the Christmas Carol concerts between those from education sectors. Prima is so enthusiastic to learn more about TPRS and use it in her classrooms!! Isn’t that exciting?

 

The AIYEP group has had 4 days each week at their work placement and then each Friday, reconnected as a group and traveled around visiting local schools to perform a selection of cultural dances. Their first day of their cultural performances on the Fleurieu coincided with the inaugural Twilight Pasar and was easily one of the highlights of our pasar. The costumes and dances were amazing. Each participant wore traditional clothing from their regions: Aceh, Riau, Java, Kalimantan, Ternate, Papua, Sulawesi and Bangka Belitung. img_1818Consequently their clothing varied immensely, especially that of the women. Sylvi from Java wore a beautiful cobalt blue sarong and jacket with her hair gathered back for an enormous bun. I’ve only seen her in casual clothes; the transformation was breath taking. Fadilla wore a long dress that she adapted to represent the traditional clothing of Central Sulawesi. The bodice was pink and covered in twinkling gold sequins and she also wore a matching tiara. Her layered black skirt had colourful dangling beads hanging from each layer. Her gold earrings were attached to her ears over her kerudung which strangely looked fantastic! Hannet and Luis from Papua wore grass skirts together with lots of body paint and shell necklaces. Their clothing added such a lovely balance to the group as it is so different from the traditional sarong and kebaya.

 

At PEPS, we had Ricky, Oscar, Farah (Fadilla) and Rini in the primary school and Odah in the kindergarten. During the first week, I presented them with their timetable and sent them off to classes for observations and then in the second week, they were given a choice to continue observing or stay in the Indonesian room. I’m thrilled they chose the latter! Post Pasar, the students were restless, so it was perfect that we had decided to teach traditional children’s games to small groups of students. Oscar chose cublak- cublak suweng, Rini chose bekel, Ricky chose pecah piring and Farah chose lompat karet. Because it was to be a fun week, I asked the students to get into 5 groups and then asked each group which activity they’d like to learn/do. My activity was congklak which most students already know so I was able to get my group going and then walk around taking photos of other groups. Because all but congklak was unfamiliar, there were no disappointed groups. Boys tended to select Oscar & Ricky and it was lovely watching them play simple children’s games and have so much fun. It really was a fantastic way for the students to interact with our visitors.

As the first lesson of the 2016 timetable is a planning lesson, Farah, Ricky, Oscar & Rini used this time on the second Tuesday to film themselves demonstrating and explaining the rules for each game. It took them a while to adjust to speaking slowly and restricting their vocabulary but the final result is awesome. Here are the videos that have been uploaded to YouTube so far:

 

 

We are going to miss them once they leave our region this Wednesday morning!

 

However the main point of this post is not just to share what we have been doing but also so that you can share this information with your students. Lets hope relations between Indonesia and Australia continue to improve so that programs like this continue to be available for our students in their future. There are so few programs like this (that I know of) that encourage Indonesian Language students to continue with their language learning, offering them an achievable goal as it is a fully funded DFAT program.

 

For more information, see the AIYEP website.

Specialist Teachers Unite!

For the very first week of the year, the 5 specialist teachers at my school collaborated to present a united program to students. The 5 specialist are

  1. Performing Arts
  2. Digital Technology
  3. PE
  4. Geography
  5. Indonesian

We first discussed the idea during a No Tosh workshop last year with the idea being that instead of students coming to each one of our classes in the first week of school and hearing the same message over and over again from each one of us, we would collaborate and clarify our expectations together. Here are our initial notes:

 We met during the holidays and excitedly agreed to trial the program. The idea was that we all came to our timetabled lessons in the gym with a short activity prepared for a large group of combined class levels. The activities had to provide us all with the springboard to discuss group skills & minor problem solving through our school values of community, confidence & respect.

As none of us work full time and our days are spread evenly over the week, it meant that each day we either had 2, 3 or 4 teachers on deck at any one time working with 2, 3 or 4 classes respectively. Two junior primary classes received our combined spiel 5 times and the remainder received it 4 times yet because the teachers each day were never exactly the same and the classes who came were also never exactly the same, the dynamics changed significantly each lesson.

We began each lesson with our shared expectations and communicated to students clearly that this year there will be significantly more communication between class teachers, leadership and specialist teachers  through a new monitoring system we will hope staff will support to ensure that behaviours in our classes are followed up on.  Other issues we talked about included the fact that our lessons are only 50 minutes and thus all students to repsect the learning of others so that time isn’t wasted.

We then shared the microphone around and led an activity each. It was brilliant being able to focus on group skills and problem solving repeatedly with mixed group levels. We would ask students to get into groups and then after a few minutes, ask everyone to stop. This gave us the opportunity to talk about the confidence needed to be proactive and approach a group and ask to join their group, how the request needs to be answered respectfully and diplomatically, to be resilient and persist till you join a group, make strong choices about who you group up with etc. We did this over and over again in various ways all from our own specialist subject viewpoint and students definitely improved over the week.

My activities included Bu Cathy Berkata (simon says), kancil, buaya, mangga (get into groups of 3 and decide who will be kancil, who will be buaya and who will be the mangga. Berjalan kaki around the gym in your group and each time I say ‘buaya/ mangga/kancil’ the kancil stands with their hands cupped on their head for ears, the buaya lies on the ground and the mangga curls into a ball) and on the last day I extended the language by asking students to ‘cari satu teman – satu perempuan dengan satu laki laki’ and it was fantastic that students used the stop gesture (tidak paham) and others could translate for them.

The geography teacher came up with her own activity which involved rings of students representing different aspects of the globe and then the finale was asking them each to turn either clockwise or anticlockwise. The final movement was amazing and I filmed it which should be good for a future brain break! It truly demonstrates why the weather is never  predictable.

Natalie, our performing arts teacher did one activity where she divided the students by gender. Each group had to put themselves into a line in order of birthdate and then she turned on some very loud music. Each group did well with only a couple of errors (not bad for 2 groups about 40 students) and afterwards she sat them down and discussed with them the impact of noise, congratulated the studetns who had shown leadership & asked the groups to explain the methods used. It was a brilliant activity for upper primary.

Evan brought ipads to the gym and asked the students to get into teams of 10. Each team had to take one continous video on an ipad which was passed respectfully clockwise around the circle and each person had to film the person on their left saying one positive thing about the who was person filming them. The groups that worked collaboratively and respectfully completed the task had time to watch their film yet the groups that did not collaborate well had many disappointed team members who didn’t get a chance to use the ipad. IMG_1615

We met on Thursday afternoon to review the program and we all agreed the week had been a huge success and one we’d be keen to repeat in 2017.  The comments from staff were also incredibly positive noting that the sense of community created in the gym felt very real. We found it a great way to start the year because it gave us a chance to meet the new students and learn their names as well as the names of a few of our many new reception students. It gave Evan and Les some breathing space in which they could learn about our school and students in a collaborative atmosphere before we all go it alone next week . All up the sense of community was strong not just for students but also for the 5 specialist teachers!

PEPS’ First Ever Bilingual Assembly

Last Friday,  year 5/6 Roberts ran the school assembly. It was amazing!

However before I explain in more detail why it was amazing, I have to explain a few things….

Their teacher, Margaret, has incorporated Indonesian wherever possible into her classroom routines. Displayed in her room are the classroom phrases students use and know well, including

  • Boleh saya ke w.c.
  • Boleh saya cari minuman
  • Jangan lupa, cuci tangan
  • Jangan lama lama
  • Sudah!
  • Sampai jumpa
  • Terima kasih
  • Apa kabar?
  • Boleh saya pinjam…

These phrases used to be the cornerstone of my language program before I discovered TPRS. These phrases were thus the limit of my student’s fluency because these were they only phrases that were repeated from lesson to lesson, term to term. (Other vocabulary was limited to ‘themes’ and once the theme was finished, the vocabulary was rarely used or covered again.) Margaret has always supported the Indonesian program where possible in her classroom yet lately she has taken it one huge step further. During her release time, she can often been found joining her students in their Indonesian lesson!! I am so touched and impressed for many reasons that she gives up her non face to face time to join us. I really appreciate her feedback on the many aspects of the lesson and love it when we run through the target structures that she has acquired later in the classroom.

So I really shouldn’t have been surprised when Margaret announced that she wanted to run a bilingual assembly!! She gave me a copy of the script and together with Ibu Mia, we were able to easily translate the dialogue using the target structures students have covered to date. This exercise in itself demonstrated just how powerful TPRS is when the initial structures are high frequency ones. Using the following target structures, the year 5/6 class were able to conduct PEPS’S first bilingual assembly:

  • berkata – to say
  • nama saya – my name is
  • mau – want
  • berdiri – stand
  • diam – quiet
  • duduk – sit
  • kasih – give
  • lihat – see
  • dengar- listen
  • sudah – already
  • sampai jumpa – goodbye

The assembly went so smoothly and I was immensely proud of the fact that students could conduct an assembly in two languages and that it was 100% comprehensible for all students in the audience. The very first sentence was “Murid-murid, berdiri dan diam untuk Advance Australia Fair.” Immediately the entire assembly of students stood quietly! Wow!! The class teachers, who had no idea of what had been said, were puzzled when the entire student body stood up.  Not realising why, class teachers immediately insisted that their students sit down! The students were confused! They had just been asked in Indonesian to stand and now they were being told to sit down!! The sight of the entire school getting to their feet en masse was very moving for me. The students who  had spoken the words had used no hand signals, yet the students fully understood it and immediately followed instructions!

jessica & flick

I also spoke at the assembly to formally welcome Ibu Mia to our school. Once again I was blown away by their comprehension and was so incredibly proud. I spoke in Indonesian and when I asked them all, “Paham?” they answered en masse, “Paham!” Ibu MIa then presented a trophy to our principal that her students had made especially for our school. When I held it up to show the students they all agreed: “Astaga!” It blew Ibu Mia away!

astaga

recieving presentation

What an amazing assembly! To think that our students now know enough Indonesian to conduct an entire assembly is pretty cool! Congratulations to the year 5/6 class. You have certainly set the standard now and I really hope that the next class who runs the assembly is also keen to conduct it bilingually!

Staying in the Language

One of emphases of TPRS/TCI is for the whole class, including the teacher, to stay in the TL (Target Language) and in the USA, there is a 90% target! We don’t have any such emphasis in the Australian Curriculum, in fact our curriculum appears to largely expect teachers will teach in English.
In order to not only record our progress of how many minutes each class stayed in Indonesian in each lesson without blurting (speaking in English) but also to add a level of competition between classes, I introduced the student job of timing just this. A student in most lessons now sits at the back of the room with an ipad, next to the Pembantu Guru, whose job it is to squeeze a plastic pig loudly each time any English is spoken. This is easily the most favourite job we have so far explored! Each time the pig is squeezed, the timer (Penghitung Waktu) stops the timer and records the time. At the end of the lesson, if a new record was achieved, it is added to the board. The second number alongside is the total number of repetitions we get in a lesson of the target structures.
Here is the first photo I took in week 4 with the very first scores:

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And here is week 5:

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Here is week 6:

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And finally last weeks:

IMG_9747The funny thing about this latest shot is that 6/7 Turley came in to class and were determined to beat their score. They agreed it was pathetic that the 6/7 class had the lowest time. They tried and tried and yet someone would blurt out in English after just a few minutes. Finally with 11 minutes to go, they all realised this was their final chance and it was so impressive how they all dug deep to keep a lid on their blurting. It was such an accomplishment for them. The very next class though, was the other 6/7 class. When they walked in and saw that they were the only class yet to beat their initial score, they all decided then and there to not only set a new PB, but to also totally thrash the other 6/7 class. And boy did they ever!! 33 minutes was far in excess of what I was expecting from any class in first term!! I had actually said to classes all I’d really hoped for was 10 minutes!! What made me smile though was that whenever a 6/7 student asked, ‘Boleh saya Bahasa Ingris?” The rest of the class would shout “Tidak boleh!”
So now there is a huge inter class competition between the two year 6/7 classes!! I don’t know who is more challenged by this determination of the two classes to only use Indonesian in class; them or me!! My challenge is that whatever I say has to be 100% comprehensible to each and every student!! No easy feat I can tell you! Today because 6/7 Clark wanted to reach the target of 40 minutes, we went into recess slightly and ensuring comprehension remained, I had to resort to a few quick written translations on the board so that I could continue without blurting myself!! Made me feel a little guilty but it is sooo hard when we have only been using TCI properly for barely 8 weeks!!

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Week One Bridge Program at PEPS

What a week! Our Bridge partners returned home with Marg & I Saturday night and after a good nights sleep, Sunday was spent catching up on washing and looking at a few of our local tourist attractions.

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IMG_9727 I had hoped to grab some time to program but other than a quick look, it didn’t happen. Thankfully I had done some the week before I left. We all went to bed absolutely exhausted again Sunday night and would’ve preferred having one more day before heading back to school!

On Monday, I decided to teach as per usual to give Pak Pahot & Ibu Eliza the opportunity to observe TCI methodology in the Indonesian classroom. I didn’t say anything beforehand, other than to warn them that I don’t teach Indonesian the way other language teachers in Australia do, as I thought it would be easier to answer any questions afterwards. However, I was disappointed later when there were no questions or comments. I later realised that both Pak Pahot and Ibu Eliza are classroom teachers, not language teachers! After school we discussed the schedule for Tuesday. Both said they had lessons that they’d like to teach. Ibu Eliza had brought a lesson about the 7 presidents and Pak Pahot wanted to teach younger students about 10 native Indonesian fruits. This worked out perfectly with the timetable for Tuesday as the 2 year 6/7 classes were first and the last two lessons were firstly a year 1 class and then a year 2/3 class, so we headed to the SSO room to prepare for our lessons using the PC’s which was easier than getting them onto the school wifi.

Consequently Tuesday was a lovely day for us all. I supported both teachers for 4 of the 5 lessons I usually teach on Tuesdays with translations and classroom management while students thoroughly enjoyed being taught bilingually. Ibu Eliza’s lesson had several components to it and in retrospect would have been less rushed if we had spread it over 2 lessons, yet because we had so much to get through in 50 minutes, they didn’t have any time to get distracted. Students were divided into 7 groups and then given a page with a small picture of one of Indonesia’s past or present presidents at the top. Under the picture, students had to write down 5 questions they would like to know about that president. The questions written by students were varied and ranged from what is his/her name? to: Was he/she a popular president? Each group then had to choose one of their questions and then they were given a paragraph of information about the president they were focusing on. Students had to read through the information to find the answer to their question. Any other information they discovered was written underneath a picture on another sheet handed out to groups. Had we enough time, Ibu Eliza had hoped that each group could share what they had learned about each president, however we were getting close to the end of the lesson, so we jumped straight into the next step which was to hand out another sheet with 7 boxes and 7 pictures of each of the 7 presidents and have students glue them on in order of presidency writing their names down underneath. By the 2nd lesson, Pak Pahot had simplified this for students by numbering each picture on the back! Students then had to ask each other for names of each president. The students responded well to this lesson and as the students needed to work quickly there was little time for off task behaviours. I did enjoy a quick discussion with one group who had Joko Widodo. They asked me to confirm if he was the current president who supported the death penalty. When I confirmed that it was, they then all had a really great discussion on their own opinions. I was so impressed with their comments and that they didn’t all agree yet respected each others opinions.

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After recess, in my non contact time, Sandy, the year 3 teacher, Skyped us for a mystery Skype. The original plan had been to do the mystery Skype from Sydney but for many reasons, this didn’t happen. Because the aim of a mystery Skype is to guess the location of the other ‘school’, we couldn’t tell anyone at all where Pak Pahot and Ibu Eliza come from beforehand!! We sat in the Indonesian room while the Year 3’s remained in their room, each with maps of Indonesia in their laps. There first question was, “Do you live in the Northern Hemisphere?” which was a great one as it eliminated so much of Indonesia and didn’t take them long to hone in on Medan! It was lots of fun even though the poor students were confused when I asked them to look at us and in doing so turned their back on us as the webcam was on the PC yet we were projected up onto the smart board!! Sorry guys!!

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The students then asked a few questions including;
What are your houses made from? Cement and bricks
Do you have any pets? Pak Pahot has a dog called Whitefang and Ibu Eliza has fish and chooks.
What do you do in your spare time? Reading and cooking
What musical instruments do you play? Pak Pahot plays the guitar, the organ and angklung
Do you have any children? Pak Pahot has a 9 month old son named MIchael.
Who do you live with? Pak Pahot lives with his wife, his son and 3 younger brothers whereas Ibu Eliza lives with her husband and niece. Sandy has blogged about the Mystery Skype in more detail on her class blog. Read the post here and read what the students wrote about the experience!

My one and only lesson I taught that day was introducing reception students to the numbers 1-5 and then it was lunch time.

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After lunch, Pak Pahot showed a powerpoint he had put together of the 10 fruits he wanted to focus on. He explained that there are over 400 different varieties of fruit in Indonesia and no matter where you are in Indonesia, you will come across a huge selection to enjoy We then looked at the powerpoint and learned what they are called in Indonesian and for many students, we also learned what they are called in English!! Fruits included banana, starfruit, soursop, durian, rambutan and mangosteen. Students then worked in groups to match 5 of the fruits to their Indonesian names using pencils. Each group was then asked to stand up. One student held the sheet while the second student pointed to each of the fruits and the third student said their name in Indonesian. Students were fascinated with the variety of fruit available and surprisingly quite a few have tasted them either here in Australia or on holidays in Indonesia.

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We then had just enough time to fill up our drink bottles before presenting at the staff meeting. I introduced both our visitors, explained about the Bridge Project and then Pak Pahot presented a powerpoint presentation about his school, his students and the various programs running at their school.

IMG_9723Afterwards there was a brief question and answer opportunity where teachers asked specifics about special education programs, how remedial students are catered for (after school), the school day, etc. I then briefly introduced staff to the AEF website which is an amazing resource for Asia & Australia’s Engagement with Asia. It’s about to be updated too!! I also circulated a timetable for teachers to nominate blocks where Pak Pahot and Ibu Eliza could come in and observe lessons.

The rest of the week was spent by visiting various classrooms which ranged from receptions to year 7’s and covered most subject areas, including PE!! The Sports Day warmup in particular was a huge hit!

IMG_9730The only subject Pak Pahot has yet to observe and is really keen to see is science, so a note in the daybook will hopefully tick that box for him.

Yesterday they spent quite a bit of time with the Year 5/6’s in Mrs Roberts class to work on ‘biodata’ letters for students in Ibu Elizawati’s class. We looked at one of the ones that Ibu Eliza had brought with her which was all in Indonesian and then looked at the various dot points our students would include in their own biodata.

IMG_9714Interestingly, two culturally different aspects arose!! Our students want to add their beloved family pets as they are considered parts of our family and secondly most of the students in the year 5/6 class either don’t have a religion or did not know what religion they are!! What a contrast to Indonesian students!! When I asked Pak Pahot what students could write if they don’t have a religion he was at first confused!! Such a foreign concept for Indonesians!!

Thursday finished with a whole school assembly which was attended by a large number of parents as it was being run by the year 2/3 class. After welcome to country and the national anthem, Pak Pahot & Bu Eliza had everyone riveted with a Batak song and dance. The applause at the end was incredible and a true indication of how much we all thoroughly enjoyed the performance.

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After school we were invited to drop in to Sandy’s house to get a tour of their chili garden. The look on Pak Pahot’s and Ibu Eliza’s face when they realised just how many chili bushes there were was priceless. I too was impressed and particularly enjoyed the delicious sambal Ibu Eliza made to go with our fish that night!

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As I don’t work Fridays, today we are enjoying a lazy morning and then we will head in just before recess to join Marg and her year 5/6’s for a Skype call to Port Macquarie where the other 2 teachers from Medan are being hosted. The last lesson on the timetable is choir which I doubt wild horses couldn’t keep Pak Pahot from attending!!

To round off the week, we went out to dinner and Pak Pahot enjoyed tasting kangaroo!

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