Over the Term 3 break, thirty-two Australian teachers visited Indonesia to deepen their knowledge of the country, immerse themselves in the culture and further develop their connections with their Indonesian counterparts as part of the Australia-Indonesia BRIDGE School Partnership Program.
For three days, the teachers visited schools, cultural and historical sites and undertook professional learning sessions across Jakarta.
At Asisi School, Jakarta, Australian teachers were given the opportunity to engage with students who performed traditional dances, songs and Angklung demonstrations. The teachers were also treated to a briefing by the administration and principal and given a comprehensive school tour with access to all classrooms.
"It was a reciprocal sharing of cultures, with the Indonesian students asking questions about Australia and the teachers in turn asking the students about their schooling lives," said BRIDGE Project Officer, Jessica Stevens.
Ms Stevens continued saying in-country immersion trips give Australian teachers invaluable first-hand experience of the countries of Asia and various education systems and curriculums, which leads greater knowledge of Asia for both teachers, school leaders and students.
“By actually visiting Indonesia, teachers not only developed a deeper understanding than they couldn’t get in any other way, we’ve also found that students are far more engaged when hearing about their teacher’s personal experiences upon return. The diverse experiences frequently lead to more authentic and exciting classes for both students and teachers”.
The program also incorporated a range of professional learning opportunities including insight into the Indonesian art-based learning, the Indonesian education system and relevant curriculum, about which one participant stated that the session provided her a better understanding of the Indonesian education system and prompted the need to see the opportunities for Indonesian students to study as International students in Australia. Furthermore, it opened up new possibilities as to how we can continue to develop our BRIDGE partnership.
The high-level visit to the Australian embassy provided significant opportunity for participants to network with other Australian and Indonesian BRIDGE teachers, BRIDGE alumni, the BRIDGE team and an array of high-level diplomatic figures.
Program participant Elizabeth Moore, Mercy College VIC said “it was great to be able to explore Jakarta and network with fellow BRIDGE schools who were at different stages in their partnerships. Great highlights were gaining insight into the Indonesian education system and the high-level networking and events”
Danielle Cook, Bertram Primary School, WA said the highlight of the trip was visiting her BRIDGE partner school in West Java.
During the visit to SDN 023 Pajagalan/SDPN 58 Pajagalan, Danielle Cook and her colleague Danielle Ware reignited a connection with students and teachers within their partnership.
“The school visit was fantastic. It was a real insight into the Indonesian education system and the successes and challenges they experience. Their connection to culture was outstanding and made me reflect on what we can do better in Australia to make those some connections. We were well looked after by our school and made very welcome. Wonderful experience.”
“I hope our two schools will be able to build on our partnership in the coming years with, hopefully, in-country visits and additional projects” Danielle said.
The school visit by both Robert Newell and Phil Legge from Camden Haven High School expanded their 3-year partnership with SMPN 16 Singkawang to incorporate new teachers and school leaders. Robert Newell stated ‘The most amazing travel experience I have ever had. The bond with our host family was the best experience of the trip. Looking forward to further communication, collaboration relationship building and friendships between us all”.
Furthermore, Angela Molinaro, St Mary’s College, Seymour stated that due to her recent visit to partner school SMPN 20 Singkawang, “We are now determined to get a school trip to Singkawang before the end of 2019. Hopefully this will lead to on-going friendships and promote the personal relationships already developing. This should directly build our school's capacity in the Languages domain in the curriculum but also across other domains and all of the Capabilities. It will also hopefully inspire the students at SMPN20 to develop their language and intercultural skills.”
Read more about our Australia Asia-Pacific BRIDGE School Partnership Program.