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Waimea Heights Primary School TAS

Name: Linda Jolleys
School: Waimea Heights Primary School, TAS
Programme: Australia–Indonesia BRIDGE School Partnerships 

The experience

While most teachers were enjoying their summer holidays relaxing, Angela Molinaro led ten enthusiastic Australian teachers through Indonesia to discover the chaotic, colourful, historically-rich and cosmopolitan Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Makassar.

We trekked to Mount Merapi, an active volcano. The most recent eruption was in 2010, where more than 2,000 people were killed. The local people place their trust in a mystic who visits the mountain each day and informs residents of the unpredictability of the mountain and maintains the link between the government and the beliefs of the people. Some 300 people that live within 3.5 kilometres of the summit have built channels in the hope of directing the lava and using the ash from the previous eruption to construct bricks, household plates and dishes.

The outcomes

As a result of this experience, I have developed an integrated Arts, Design and Technology and Science unit that includes learning about volcanoes. This new unit offers significant opportunities for children to think more broadly about how people around the world deal with the dangers of volcanoes. Some of the topics for students to discuss include:

  • How can effective communication support the lives of people in dangerous situations?
  • Using Mount Merapi as an example, what is the role of indigenous leaders in government?
  • What could or should governments do to help the people who lost their homes?
  • What role do tribal beliefs and celebrations play in society?

Through developing students' knowledge of the unique traditions of Indonesia, they are able to constructively discuss the relationship between traditional beliefs and the tools that modern governments can use to look after their citizens. Students draw on their problem-solving and critical thinking skills to identify and understand the culture of Indonesia, and reflect more generally on the roles that traditional culture plays in modern society.

Acknowledgements

Image: Long house by Linda Jolleys; Blethrow Merapi1 by Bawolff (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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