Braemar College recently hosted two teachers from Indonesia as part of the government funded Australia-Asia BRIDGE School Partnerships program.
The aims of the program are to build intercultural understanding among teachers and students, give students direct personal experience to motivate language learning, and support high quality Asian language teaching and programs in Australian schools.
We have seen immediate benefits from the program with Wilem Floerani, Theo McCoy and Freyja Barter taking the top three places in the recent State Finals of the VILTA Indonesian Oral Competition after receiving coaching from our Indonesian visitors just prior to the competition.
The focus of the BRIDGE program at Braemar College was Year 9 Geography and RUMAD, but Indonesian language students will also continue to benefit from knowledge gained through the cultural exchange experience.
The two visiting teachers, Dodi Damhudi and Unang Hermawan were from a village in Indonesia with around 2,000 people where they have their own language. They said that they found things very different here.
According to Dodia, they have gained a great deal from their time at Braemar College in terms of seeing how we teach, and how our school operates. They said that the main differences were that the curriculum and teaching here is more student centred rather than teacher centred, and involves project work whereas their school assessments are based completely on testing.
Their class numbers are limited only by how many students can fit in a room, and their Year 7 class comprises 38 students.
Dodi said, “We were selected by the government for the BRIDGE program because our school is funded by your government and we were sent here to observe Australian schools and take the knowledge back with us.”
He said there is no drama, art or music taught in their school. “We have musical instruments but no teachers.”
At his school, there are only three rooms. He said, “Our staffroom, principal’s office and library is all in one room.
Braemar College staff member, Rebecca Gregory who teaches Indonesian and hosted one of the visiting teachers said, “We have a lot of things in common with family and the importance of education, but we have a very different way of life. Australians travel a lot and we come in contact with different people every day. In Indonesia, it’s very hard to get a visa.”
Rebecca said, “The program provided a great opportunity for us to develop our fluency in Indonesian and for the visitors to develop their English speaking skills.”
Staff members, Rod Knowles and Lisa Fritz were also involved in the program.