Why Join AAS?
AAS ticks all the boxes for teachers wishing to expand their students experiences beyond the classroom. It is a vehicle for students to increase their Asian Literacy which is a focus of both the national Australian Curriculum and the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians.
How This Works
Members make contact with students and teachers in Bali and WA, forging friendships through emails, membership to AdoptASchool Wikispace, school visits, educator and student exchanges and sharing classwork.
BALI CALLING ALL SCHOOLS
(Journalist and Career Consultant, WA Education Department)
Bali is more than surf, sun and shopping.There is a new, soft voice, that is hard to resist, appealing to teachers to build a bridge for support to flow between Balinese schools and WA. It is a call that I heard often in two research tours that I did to Bali in October 2010 and January 2011.To help me understand the call better I invited a WA public school primary teacher, a WA public school secondary Student Services Manager and her primary and secondary-aged children to act as my consultants so that they could share their collective experience in helping me to analyse the Balinese schools’ needs in WA terms.
I asked them to mentor me in what was possible in current WA education, allow me to observe how two WA school children at different educational stages, from a government and independent school, would react to Balinese culture and hear first-hand what some Balinese teachers needed from us.
As tourism contributes to about 80% of Bali’s GDP with a small amount from agriculture tourists may overlook that the Balinese average income is around $100 dollars a month, average expenditure is about $5 a day and school fees range from $350 a year to $ 10,000 for some international schools. The needs of Balinese teachers can be wide-ranging but several were repeatedly suggested to me by the public, parents or teachers. They were for greater opportunities to build a partnership with schools that will bring mutual benefits to all sections of the school-community in WA or Bali. Made Sudra, a super fit, highly-respected Headmaster of SMA N1 Kuta Bali School, who is a former FIFA football referee, runs his big school with the quiet confidence of a gentle leader. The school has 72 teachers, 926 students, five Vice-Principals and 24 classes from Years 10 to 12.
“ I believe that there is a great need for high-quality professional development for our teachers and Australian teachers could share their ideas with Balinese staff,” he said.
Made Subawa, an English teacher, believed that professional development was limited, often organised by the government and too theoretical.
“ Teachers need professional development that is practical and can be applied in the classroom,” he said, echoing the sentiments that I heard repeated by other staff. Gede Eka Widana, who spoke fluent English, said that he was very interested in having Australian teachers demonstrate flexible ways of teaching English so that he could motivate his students. “I am very keen to work alongside an Australian teacher and am interested in any scheme which can sponsor me to visit WA,” he said. Gusti Ketut Atmaja, a Vice-Principal, said that an inexpensive way for the link to be made with WA schools was to develop on-line networks that would enable WA teachers to share their skills and resources with Balinese teachers.
One of the most significant steps in building networks has been done by WA’s AdoptASchool Association committee, led by Susan Cromb. These amazing pioneers coordinated a visiting tour of 2 Balinese educators last year to WA metropolitan schools that was recounted to me in Bali as an achievement on my visit to the school.
My need to seek fresh insights through a practical research project in Bali was to engage the services of Kylie Cranenburgh, Student Services Manager, in de-briefing daily with me in Bali for a week on my observations during my second Bali project and seeing how the two WA primary and secondary students adjusted to the new culture and environment. Kylie had presented workshops in the Eastern Goldfields district to Aboriginal staff and senior secondary students and her experience in working with multicultural adults and secondary students in a senior Perth college was information that I needed to make judgements in the context of WA secondary schools’ pastoral care for Balinese students visiting WA schools.
Education should be of the students, by the students for the students. My observation of the reverse integration by two WA students in Bali showed how naturally they assimilated with Balinese culture admiring wood carvings, Kamasen paintings or Gianyar textiles. They were surprised at the photographs of children from SMP N2 in Tegallanang where students sat on small wooden chairs and desks and played basketball on the field that fronted a mousy canteen of their village school set among jaw-dropping rice terrace views and hills.
What truly amazed them was the disciplined way in which all the children during recess and lunch took brooms and buckets to clean their classrooms – something that Australian school children do not do on a daily basis.
My meeting with Dadan Gunawan, A Muslim teacher working part-time, revealed that some things are common to all good teachers: passion for teaching, a desire to improve, commitment to teaching and respect for values and standards that he showed. Balinese treat children like deities and it was surprising to hear that teachers wanted to learn from Australians how to motivate many children that they believed did not value education. Dadan said that he would welcome the opportunity for Australian teachers to hold a seminar which provided motivational strategies for him to improve. He believed that Australian teachers had high standards and was happy to help on a cultural support level.
It is a call from Bali that Australian teachers should hear.