By Sasha Anderson, 2018 Australia-ASEAN BRIDGE School Partnership Program Participant
The Australia-ASEAN BRIDGE School Partnership Program has enabled me and my school to begin our journey into global perspectives and intercultural understanding. It has been a fantastic opportunity for myself, my school and most importantly my students. Since becoming a part of the Program, Hawker Area School has been partnered with a fellow primary school in Brunei, Sekolah Rendah Tumpuan Telesai, and students from both countries seem eager to begin collaborating with each other. The core elements to the BRIDGE Program that we are excited to engage with are the professional learning, reciprocal visits, and the school-to-school project development.
In Sydney, we had the wonderful opportunity to meet our partners and the rest of the Australia-Brunei cohort. A key learning from our time in Sydney was centred around task design, in a workshop led by Chris Harte, which enabled us to start planning our cooperative project for our students. Our time in Sydney also gave us the opportunity to explore the city with our partner and play a small role in the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit that was going on at the same time. My personal highlight from the Program was working with all of the members of the Australia-Brunei cohort and the incredible evening function that was held at the Sydney Opera House!
The homestay component of the Program was a fantastic opportunity to introduce the BRIDGE Program, and my partner, to our school and community. In our rural town, the concept of a global partnership between international schools has been seen as quite an abstract concept, and being able to bring my partner teacher to my school helped bring the program to life for those around me. We were fortunate that the first day of the homestay was Harmony Day, so the school hosted a community morning tea, which allowed fellow staff and students to interact with our new partner teacher and see the potential of the program in a new light.
The project plan that we developed has two key foci: to allow students to create relationships and learn across cultures, and to give staff across schools access to best practice in the two countries, which in turn will provide the best outcomes for students. By facilitating cross-country task design once a term, we hope this will give students and staff alike the opportunity to expand their local and global thinking. Some of the ways we hope students will connect is via postcards, videos, songs and games. We are sharing our projects and collaborations online using Google Sites, and hope to utilise a number of further ICT platforms.
It is hoped that through an ongoing process of sharing and co-development between fellow Australian BRIDGE teachers, and our partners in Brunei, that we can create a bigger Australia-Brunei educational movement.
This goal would not at all be possible without the incredible support that the Asia Education Foundation and the BRIDGE Program have shown us.
For more information on the 2018 BRIDGE School Partnership Program offerings, please visit our website: www.http://asiaeducation.edu.au/bridge