OWAT -One Word At a Time

I read recently a post on Keith Toda’s blog, Todally Comprehensible about OWAT’s and while I agree OWAT is an activity for advanced students, I was still curious to see if my upper primary students could manage this. Last week was an extremely short week for us with Monday being a public holiday and Tuesday a student free day; so it seemed a perfect window to try OWAT with the 4 upper primary classes I taught. 

I chose the following vocabulary which are both a mixture of vocabulary just covered and totally new words as well as a mix of verbs and adjectives:

Ambil -get

Nakal – naughty

Buka – open

Tutup – close

Lucu – funny

Sekarang – now

Jam – time

Besok – tomorrow

Sedikit – a few/ a little bit

Datang – arrived, came, come


I printed the words off onto card, cut them out and then wrote on the back the translation. For the word ‘jam’ I also put it into 2 sentences to demonstrate how it can be used: What is the time? (Jam berapa?) & It is 2 oclock (Jam 2). On the back of the lucu card, I wrote funny (haha) to distinguish it from funny (strange) and in retrospect adding the words ‘haha’ was confusing and I should have just left it as ‘funny’ which was clear enough. I then laminated the cards but in future I don’t think that is totally necessary. 

I lay the cards Indonesian side up on the shelf under my whiteboard, asked the students to “Cari satu, dua atau tiga teman” (get into groups of 2,3 or 4) and then explained the process:

1. One student from each group comes to the front and chooses one card. Before looking at the back, check to see if anyone in your group knows the meaning.

2. Together as a team, create a sentence using that word.

3. When the sentence is finished, put up your hand and I will check your sentence. (Check for grammar- pop-up only)

4. If I like it and tell your group bagus sekali, then return your card and choose another.

5. Repeat with the next card and this time, the next sentence must follow on from the first to create a story. Do not write 10 unconnected sentences. 

When there were only about 5 minutes remaining of the time, I asked the students to finish the sentence they were working on and then write the resolution for the story. 

I collected them and then read them out to the class correcting any grammatical errors as I went. This was an extremely challenging exercise for my students and a few groups created stories they were truly proud of. The groups had some fantastic discussions which must have included many repetitions of each new word because while I read the stories out, I added a few comprehension checks and students could confidently translate the new words. In contrast, the last lesson of the day was with a year 6/7 class who staggered into the Indonesian room and collapsed on the floor. They had come from PE where they had played dodge ball so they were very hot and exhausted! They begged to just lie down and do ‘relaxation like a reception class’!! I explained the task and offered that we could do it as a whole class instead if they preferred. Of course they jumped at this. Together they created a funny story about Cody falling over at KFC. I would be interested now to see which classes learned (not yet aquired) the new words best; those that worked in small groups where the words were repeated many times or as a whole class where the words were held up, spoken by just a few and then put into sentences. In reflection it is clear I should have circled to address this however everyone (including me) was too hot and tired and maybe we should have all just enjoyed free reading time? Oh wel…….

Here are a few of the stories from the year 5, & 6/7 classes:









While very challenging, there is definitely merit to this exercise and I am wondering if students will improve and more groups will create even better stories next time. It is truly rigorous! I loved that students worked collaboratively to create sentences, because I feel it helped those students who find free writes (fluency writes) challenging. Sometimes during free writes, I have students sitting facing the word wall overwhelmed, so this hopefully gave them an opportunity to be involved in the process of creating sentences and or stories.

I also believe that OWAT has postential for those of us in Australia struggling to create/design open ended assessment tasks that align with TPRS. The chosen words could be taken straight from the story just covered with students having the option to recreate the story exactly, recreate the story with a few added details or rewrite a totally new story.

How do OWAT’s align with ACARA- The Australian Curriculum?

1.1 Socialising – Interacting orally and in writing to exchange ideas, opinions, experiences, thoughts and feelings and participating in planning, negotiating, deciding and taking action.

1.3 Creating – Engaging with imaginative experience by participating in, responding to and creating a range of texts such as stories, songs, drama and muisc. 

1.4 Translating – Moving between languages and cultures orally and in writing, recognising different interpretations and explaining these to others. 

2.1 – Systems of Langauage – Understanding language as a system, including sound, writing, grammatical and textual conventions.

Membagi Ide Bagus – Student Free Day Links for Circling & Assessment

I would like to share with you a variety of links which we will either be covering at our PLC Student Free Day or will be useful as a follow-up afterwards. This hopefully will make it easier if all the links are together so that we can refer back to it later or pass on to others who were unable to join us.

Our schedule for the day will be:

8:30 – 9:00am meet and greet, grab a cuppa

9am  Aim (French) demo with Sarah Slee

10am Circling workshop

11am break

11:30am Strategies to assist with recording student progress

1pm Lunch

1;45pm Assessment & ACARA
– Assessment and reporting parameters and issues
– Designing assessments to reflect the AC intentions and AS
– Connections between TPRS & the AC

4pm finish


Links include:


1, Martina Bex has a great post entitled, What is Circling and it includes a free PDF hand out.

2. Terry Waltz has  circling cards available through her website, Mandarin Through Comprehensible Output as well as a Prezi demonstrating how to use them.

3. TPRS Q & A also has a post called What is Circling And How to do It?

4. TPRS Q & A is a great blog and this post entitles What Does the Goddess Laurie Clarq say about Circling is well worth reading.

5. A French Demo At a Blaine Ray Workshop – Carla Tarini is being coached by Blaine Ray on how to circle.

6. Circling does not always go smoothly or predictably which can be said of just about anything involving children and/animals, so they say! Keith Toda wrote a blog entitle Circling Troubleshooting which will help you identify why your circling efforts may not feel successful!

7. Here is another great video! This one is of Terry Waltz working with students for their first Chinese lesson. Here you can see Terry demonstrate a multitude of skills one of which is circling!

8. TPRS Lesson Demonstration – Great PDF which breaks down of circling


1. Martina Bex posted recently, End of Term Assessments which although definitely aimed at high school teachers, included some great ideas & interesting clarifications.

2. Fluency Writes (Free Writes) by Judith Dubios on her fantastic blog called TPRS Witch can be read here: http://tprs-witch.com/fluency-writing-2/ This post explains both what fluency writes are and why they are so useful.

3. Bryce Hedstrom’s Blooms Taxonomy for Foreign Language Instruction


Looking forward to our Student Free Day!! See you there and thank-you for supporting it!

Kursi Luar Biasa Update…

A few posts ago, I shared with you my adaptation of Bryce Hedstroms special person idea. Here is an update on how this has been going so far this term:

The kursi luar biasa (special chair) is definitely the most popular chair in my room! Students make a bee line to it when they arrive. They sit their expectantly, waiting for the spot light to shine on them and the 2 times I got carried away with other things and didn’t get around to interviewing them, they were soooo disappointed! However their frowns turned upside down when I promised them in front of the class that they would have first choice of sitting in the kursi next lesson!  

This week my questions finally began to gell and my peseverence is beginning to pay off. While the students in the kursi luar biasa love the attention, it remains tricky trying to keep the others engaged. Occasionally we get a student who has quirky answers to which we all listen avidly and intently but this doesn’t happen often mainly because I am still learning how to ask the right questions in the way that facilitates this! Then this week, I discovered that asking students to raise their arm instead of stand up keeps the discussion moving a lot smoother. Some students enjoy zoning out and regard it as passive defiance when I ask a question like, berdiri kalau tinggal di Port Elliot (stand if you live in PE) and then remain seated enjoying the quizzical looks of classmates. However asking questions like; angkat tangan kalau tinggal di Port Elliot, angkat tangan kalau tinggal di Goolwa etc (raaise your hand if you live in PE), has increased student focus while getting in multiple repetitions on key structures and has more students responding. Is this because I am trying something different or is it because it requires less effort from the students? For me too, it just flows so much better.  Try it!! 

Another positive has come with the introduction of the word ‘tahun’. This week I decided to have a subtle focus on the word tahun during kursi luar biasa when asking the student how old they were. I put it up on the board, and after asking the question, berapa umur? (How old are you) I repeated what the student said adding the word tahun. Using ‘tahun’ wasn’t a requirement for the student, I just wanted to put the word out there in case it came up in future coversations with Indonesian  (native speaker) visitors. Then I had a brain wave! With the word tahun, I could ask students a follow up question to tinggal dimana? (Where do you live?) with “Sudah berapa tahun tinggal di _______?” (How many years have you lived in ____)  With the older students, these questions that are a bit more challenging really keep them all focused. You  can almost hear the cogs turning in their heads and the satisfaction that comes with comprehension. 

I just love the way that kursi luar biasa covers so much of the Australian Curriulum requirements regarding student interests, family, pets, hobbies, etc.  It is such a great way to cover those topics in a personlised and meaningful way for students and also in a way that is narrow and deep! When I think of all the years I used to teach “kenalkan” (let me introduce myself) as my term 1 theme and then feel disheartened with how little my students retained from year to year,  it confirms for me the benefits made from making the switch to TPRS in my classroom.  

Fleurieu Hub Group Teachmeet

The members of our hub group are all implementing TPRS in their classrooms which is soo exciting! We agreed this year to meet once a term to discuss aspects of TPRS to help each other deepen our understanding of using TPRS in our classrooms. Attending our first Teachmeet were 9 teachers; 5 from local schools, one teacher on leave, one all the way from the other side of Adelaide and a teacher from Victoria via Skype! 

Our first meeting focused on assessment strategies. We had also wanted to discuss the report format but as that is something that each school decides upon and that we ran out of time, it was only touched upon briefly. Enough to realise though, that each school reports very differently and the Indonesian section of our reports varies hugely. From one school requiring just an overall grade each for effort & achievement to another school where the teacher has to write a personal comment for each student as well as a grade each for effort & achievement. One of our schools requires the Indonesian teacher to report specifically against all the ACARA achievement standards which I’m sure was not what the achievement standards were designed for.

At our previous meeting, we brainstormed for assessment strategies we’d like to share and then everyone volunteered to take one and explain it to evryone else:

1. Quick Quizzes – at the end of a lesson, ask 5 – 10 questions about the story you’ve created with your students. The answers can either be ya/tidak or benar/salah. Sharon shared how she has also uses quick quizzes to check comprehension by asking students to write down the English word for targt structures covered.

2. Plickers – Ann shared an online assessment tool called Plickers. This app uses only one ipad which is held by the teacher to scan students answers to teachers questions. 


Here is a pic from google to show what it looks like in a classoom: 

3. Ya/Tidak cards – Carmel shared her red & white laminated yes/no cards which she has yet to use because she feels that handing them out and using them would be too much of a distraction this early in the year. They looked fantastic. The idea is that the teacher askes a question and students answer using the cards. Great repetition for ya/tidak.

4. Listen & Draw – On a sheet divided into 4 or 6, students listen to the teacher and then illustrate the sentence in the specified square. While the students are drawing, the teacher repeats the sentence over and over again, getting as many repetitions  in as possible.

5. TPR  (Total Physical Response) – Teacher says a word and students do the actions. Great for introducing verbs in a fun and kinesthetic way. It is also perfect for introducing classroom phrases like duduk, berdiri, kasih hormat, kasi, pakai topi etc. Simon says is a popular TPR game to play and is loved by all primary students. TPR is a good brain break too. Asking students to close their eyes while doing TPR helps the teacher to identify which target structures need more repetitions!!

6. Dictation – As a post story activity, students write silently the sentence the teacher says. The sentence is then shown to the students via smartboard or data projector and any errors are fixed by rewriting the word/sentence on the next line. On the third line, the sentence is translated into English. A space is then left before beginning the next sentence.

We then discussed a behaviour management technique that Sharon shared with us previously. We are calling it ‘pandai/nakal’ to get repetitions of pandai (term 4 2015 kancil & Buaya story) and nakal (term 1 2016 tutup pintu story). The teacher takes a name of a student randomly (either by paper or paddle pop sticks) and puts it somewhere visible without showing anyone whose name it is. On the board is written pandai & nakal side by side and throughout the lesson, tally each time students are pandai or nakal. At the end of the lesson, if the tally marks for pandai are greater than those for nakal, theatrically announce the name of the student and present them with a reward. If the tally is the reverse, the name goes back in the pot/hat without mentioning the name. Hannah tried it this week and said it worked beautifully for her younger students!! 

We finished up by agreeing to meet again in March on our regional training and development day to ensure we have access to relevant and meaningful training. Topics to be covered include designing an open ended assessment task, how to record student progress & how to circle. I have also invited an AIM French teacher to come and do a demo lesson with us so we can experience AIM methodologies. 

Kursi Luar Biasa

I read of an idea in which individual students enjoy being interviewed just before Sharon pointed out that we haven’t fully covered aspects of the 3-4 & 5-6 curriculum regarding student personal information.  To me the idea of a special star student seemed a terrific way to not only cover this aspect of our curriculum but would also give middle and upper primary students the chance to shine and enjoy the limelight answering questions about themselves to a captive audience.

I have also been toying with the idea of how to widen student knowledge of Indonesian exclamations, so I decided to combine both together with ‘murid luar biasa’ and translated it to students as ‘the awesome student’ however this didn’t feel right, so in the second week I changed it to kursi luar biasa and for some reason, it felt better. Luar biasa is now the new Indonesian catch phrase and has been used constantly – to my delight!

I took the secretary chair and covered it with the beautiful Batak shawl Pak Pahot gave me in February and transformed it into the kursi luar biasa.

  I explained to students that anyone can sit in the chair with ‘first in, best dressed’ (rewards students who get to class on time) however once they’ve had a turn, they can not sit in it again util everyone who wants a go has done so.
While I only trialled the kursi luar biasa for 2 weeks, it was hugely successful. I began with our stock kenalkan questions and was pleasantly relieved just how much students have remembered even though we haven’t had a ‘kenalkan’ focus since term 1 2014!! This reaffirms my belief in the power of TCI/TPRS.  Next I started thinking of other questions I could ask students and that proved challenging. Questions that incorporated language structures they were familiar with and ones that students could answer using just the language they have acquired so far.

While I had thought my questions were largely lame, all students who have chosen to sit in the kursi luar biasa chair must disagree with this because there has been no shortage of volunteers. What I have enjoyed in particular is the opportunity to talk to  just one student and learn something surprising about them. I learned that one of my families has a pet snake, which was compelling for the class as well as for me!! It was pure gold because I could circle this information to include other students by asking if they too owned a snake, who was scared of snakes, have you seen a snake, are there snakes at school etc. E.g. Jodie sudah lihat ular di sekolah or  Jamie mau lihat ular di sekolah? Another student told us using ‘gado gado’ that her budgie had died that morning because her grandmothers dog had killed it. I’d never have known if not for her choosing to sit in the chair that day. But the most heart warming part of this was when the entire class said with compassion, “kasihan” that I knew the kursi luar biasa is well worth continuing with.

The session goes for as long as I feel that I  have whole class engagement and once I run out of questions or the class starts getting restless, we stop and move on. It is the perfect way to ask students personal questions in context and get repetitions of this language. I am looking forward to honing my questioning  techniques next year as well as developing a bank of questions which not only rely on known language structures but also lend themselves to open-ended answers.

Questions I have used so far include:

Tinggal dimana?

Umur berapa?

Siapa nama?

Kelas berapa?

Punya adik?

Punya kakak?

Siapa nama adik/ kakak/ ibu/bapak?

Punya anjing/kucing/tikus/burung?

Suka warna apa?

Suka makan apa?

Kemarin kemana?

Mau punya apa?
Feel free to add suggestions!!

Reporting and Assessing to the Australian Curriculum

On Wednesday last week, the Indonesian teachers met again with Mel Jones, the Coordinator for Primary Australian Curriculum (CPAC) for our region. The purpose of our meeting was to focus on reporting and moderation. Attending included Cheryl & Sharon from VH R-7, Jemma from C.A.S., Annie from G.P.S. and myself from P.E.P.S.

The meeting was brilliant on so many levels but mostly because we were able to attend training specific to the teaching of Indonesian with other local Indonesian teacher colleagues. Non-metropolitan language teachers know how rare these opportunities are! In fact ‘rare’ doesn’t even come close to counting the times! Let’s just acknowledge that this is the second time that we have been provided by DECD Indonesian language teacher specific training in our local area!! Let’s hope there are many more!

Our meeting began with the awesome question: How can sites that provide students with less than the recommended number of minutes of Indonesian instruction per week cover the curriculum and therefore report accurately against it? We discovered that several sites within our district are way under quota for no other reason than that the program is not supported nor valued by leadership. In both cases, the staff and principals have been lobbied, both verbally and in writing, offering various solutions to rectify the issue, yet it all seems to have been conveniently swept under the carpet. To return to the burning question, do teachers who cover less than half the amount of the curriculum due to time limitations, give their students ‘D’ & ‘E’’s or do they shift the goal posts and create their own bell curve? What is your take? We all agreed it was tough to grade the students poorly because of an administrative oversight/decision.

Mel then introduced the Reporting Resource: A-E Guide (see below)

reporting resource A - E Guide

as a baseline for devising a grading system relevant for assessing Indonesian language students. We spent quite a bit of time on this as between the 5 of us, 3 teachers use TPRS methodology and the other 2 use traditional methods. This lead to some interesting discussions and ensured the guide we agreed to was inclusive of both methodologies. Yet once, we started looking at student work against our determined criteria, we discovered that it didn’t completely recognize the Achievement Standards which students had acquired. For example, one piece of work we gave a ‘C’ using this criteria yet when we looked at it against the Achievement Standards, the work sample ticked more than 50% of the points, so how could it only be given a ‘C’? So we went back to the drawing board and agreed that the reporting guide is actually quite accurate as it stands and all we had to do was remove the ‘in new contexts’ for the grades ‘A’, ‘B’ & ‘C’ and then we were all satisfied with it.

Sharon began first with her writing samples from a free write she had done with her year 2’s. We all agreed the samples were amazing. Jemma was blown away and instantly wanted to know more about TCI methodology because if this is what year 2’s are producing, TPRS/TCI must be worth investigating! We discussed the task itself (write as much as you can about this picture –a picture from the folk story we have been focusing on this term – Kancil dan Buaya) and realized that we should have given the students more detailed instructions to ensure they were clear on how they could incorporate vocabulary from previous stories into their writing and thus achieve an ‘A’ for the task. For example, students could have included colours , numbers, body parts, clothing (kancil tidak pakai sepatu) etc.

We next looked at Cheryl’s task which was based on her terms focus on the Daniel Bradbury book, “Ada Berapa?” a beautiful counting book. She had created an A3 sheet with 5 pictures taken from the book and students had to write sentences about the pictures using the language modeled in the text. Cheryl was very apprehensive sharing her results after Sharon, which is understandable, yet for me, the student work she presented demonstrates clearly that TPRS/TCI methodology assists student language acquisition far greater than traditional methodology. Cheryl also asked for more information about TPRS/TCI and is keen to look at the Ben Slavic book, “TPRS in a Year”. We suggested she develop each skill one by one, so it is less intimidating. I really hope she does because it will help both her and her students enormously. We all start with baby steps.

We all agreed it was brilliant to have time to collaborate with colleagues in preparation for the 2016 implementation of the Indonesian languages curriculum.  For me, I was especially thankful for the chance to look once again at the curriculum through reporting eyes and be involved with the creation of a grading guide which is highly compatible for all language methodologies.

Indonesian Teachers Meeting With The District Curriculum Advisor

One of the local Indonesian teachers, Cheryl, organised a meeting with our District Curriculum Advisor , Mel Jones, and generously allowed Hannah (my student teacher) & myself to gate crash the workshop. With the implementation of the Indonesian curriculum (and thus reporting to it) in 2016, our familiarisation time has almost finished. While other teachers seem to have been overwhelmed with curriculum support, there has been little available for language teachers, especially, it seems for regional language teachers. Up to now, the only training we’ve accessed was organised inhouse. We invited Andrea to workshop our hub group last year and Intan also has helped where possible at our Intan conferences and AGM’s. Intan members also received an email this week from our marvelous and generous Intan president, Brent, advertising the following seminar for next Friday:

At our hub meeting yesterday, we followed the link to the above seminar excitedly, and then groaned as we looked at the price; $286!! With my annual T & D budget of $50, the difference is exorbitant. Hopefully if we ask our principals to contribute the difference with curriculum monies, it might be possible?? My principal in particular has been very supportive considering the inequitable amount of training available for specialist teaching staff.

So the possibility of sitting down to a locally held workshop specifically for Indonesian teachers to  help us “unpack” the curriculum, assess how well we’ve covered it to date in our classrooms and then design an assessment task that will help with reporting to parents and for moderation was too good to be missed.

We began by looking at the content descriptors in each of the substrands for F-2 and on a grid, writing the ways in  which they have been covered this year. This is how I filled mine in and considering it was done very quickly and off the top of my head, I was thrilled with the result:

Socialising – calling the roll daily and asking students ‘apa kabar?’

– Activities eg listen and draw, arranging song/story lines into the correct order

– songs

– brainbreaks iincorporating gestures and movement (eg kasi game, Bu Cathy berkata, )

– class instructions eg. cari satu teman, matikan lampu, Bu Cathy mau mengabsen, duduk di ekonomi (my room is set up like an airplane – kelas satu, kelas 2 & ekonomi),

– TPR (Total physical Response)

Informing – asking/telling stories

– target structures (new vocabulary) eg finding them in the text

– rearranging song lines and then singing the song together

– acting out songs/ stories

– illustrating song/story phrases

–  discussing the size of the jacket – terlalu kecil/terlalu besar/pas

– Movie talk  – eg Mr Bean

Creating    – acting stories/ songs

– writing shared class stories


– songs

– rearranging the song lines and siunging together

-making a shared class book – eg Sekolah Saya (year 3’s making it for our partner school)

Translating – comprehension checks

– word walls

– displays eg seragam sekolah, Boleh saya pinjam?, numbers,

– introducing target structures using visual pictures eg a picture of a cicak with the word  ‘cicak’ written underneath it, the same for dinding, jendela, kursi & pintu.

–  greeting adults who enter my room Pak/Bu

– presenting at assembly the different ways in which Indonesians greet each other

– contributing to class displays of ‘cicak di jendela’ & ‘cicak di dinding’

– grammar pop ups eg ‘c’ (cicak) is always pronounced ‘ch’

Reflections – cognates eg pizza, sprite, hotdog, jaket, hamburger etc

– etiquette eg  mencium means to kiss and to smell, kasi hormat,

–  cultural manners eg pointing, gesturing come here,

– the gender vs age difference (we are more focused on gender however age is of greater significance for Indonesians)

Systems of Language –  TPRS step 1 – introducing  the target structures eg repeat the TS in various voices  modeling the trilling of the ‘r’, the pronouciation of ‘c’, the short vowels etc.

– personalisation eg jaket Ebony terlalu besar? Ebony pakai jaket?

– basing stories around high frequency verbs eg makan, minum, pakai, kasi, punya and using these verbs in sentences which are meaningful and relevant to the students.eg Caleb mau  minum sprite? John mau pakai jaket?

– incorporating question words and negatives into my circling. eg. cicak di dinding. cicak di dinding atau cicak di jendela? cicak di pintu? cicak dimana?

– introducing conjunctions eg students answering apa kabar? with panas dan haus.

– using the roman alphabet to write the target structures on the board.

Language Variation & Change – Students ‘kasi hormat  kepada’ visitors appropriately.

– All visitors to our room are greeted using Pak/Bu

– use and discuss the cognates in stories

– greeting the first class of the day with selamat pagi and the rest with selamat siang. Encouraging students to greet Indonesian teachers out of class reinforces this.

Role of Language & culture – meeting our many Indonesian visitors throughout the year and understanding that Indonesian is their national language.

– Asking ‘Boleh saya Bahasa Ingriss?” before using in English in class.

– playing games like hom pim pah & batu, kertas, gunting to choose participants.

– choosing texts about cicaks, kancils, orangutan.

– greeting teachers appropriately eg hand to their forehead.

How great is that!! TCI, TPRS & TPR complement the Indonesian curriculum beautifully!!

We next moved onto the Indonesian Achievement Standards. Mel had already ‘unpacked’ it for us and this is what it looks like: (excuse my scribbling!)


We went through this together and discussed it with Mel. We had several questions for her which she will follow up for us:

1. Does the wording ‘such as’ mean for example or does it mean that the vocabulary include must be covered?

2. What does the ‘similarities and differences in meanings of words’ mean?

3. What does “comment on aspects of using Indonesian’  mean for teaching junior primary students?

4. We also want to know how a F-2 student can present a news report in Indonesian!!! (more to the point, why?)

Following on from understanding the achievement standards, the next component of this workshop was to learn how to use the achievement standards and the content descriptors to plan a unit of work. We realised then that we haven’t yet met to plan term 4. Sharon suggested using a kancil story from Siara Siswa which we all agreed had great potential as students love the wily kancil. Mel gave us a proforma which helped to break down all the aspects of the curriulum that could be covered via the kancil story. Here is my sheet:


After realising just how much potential this story has, we put our heads together to create an assessment task that is appropriate for F-2 students and will provide them with the opportunity to demonstrate a variety of achievement levels.

Mel shared this to help us:


We pointed out that it didn’t truly apply when using TCI to teach Indonesian  For example we took ‘name’ and demonstrated that if we asked a student, “ini pensil atau ini cicak?” while holding up a pencil, how could that be ‘lower intellectually’ challenging for language students? One could argue that circling operates at a lower intellectual challenge level yet because it is all conducted in Indonesian, that surely is requires a higher intellectual challenge!  Still it was food for thought.

Creating an assessment task definitely was a higher intellectual challenge!! We could all suggest many ways in which students could demonstrate pproficiency at a ‘C’, yet it was harder to provide students with an assessment task that provided them with the opportunity to demonstrate above average achievement. We wracked our brains and thankfully Sharon suggested showing students a picture from the Kancil story and asking them to tell the teacher as much as possible about the picture using Indonesian. The sentences would be graded:  ‘C’ if the student could accurately describe the picture using simple yet correct sentences, ‘B’ if the student could accurately describe the picture using complex sentences and an ‘A’ if the student accurately described the picture using complex sentences incorporating additional vocabulary from previous stories and class work.

Other sheets that Mel shared with us included:

image image

The one on the right also comes in all other year levels and will be available soon (hopefully early next year) digitally and the boxes can be checked off!

If you want any more iinformation  or would like your own copies of any of the handouts we received, please contact Mel on Fleurieu Teacher Talk on Facebook.


The Australian Curriculum – Indonesian

I have spent numerous hours looking through the new ACARA Indonesian curriculum using a TPRS/TCI headset. The more I explore it the happier I am, particularly because of the high frequency of the word ‘communication’. 

In the Preamble:


Through learning languages, students acquire:

communication skills in the language being learnt

-an intercultural capability, and an understanding of the role of language and culture in communication

– a capability for reflection on language use and language learning.


Learning languages:

  • extends the capability to communicate and extends literacy repertoires.
  • strengthens understanding of the nature of language, of culture, and of the processes of communication
  • develops intercultural capability
  • develops understanding of and respect for diversity and difference, and an openness to different experiences and perspectives
  • develops understanding of how culture shapes worldviews and extends learners’ understanding of themselves, their own heritage, values, culture and identity
  • strengthens intellectual, analytical and reflective capabilities, and enhances creative and critical thinking.

The overall Aims are given as:


The Australian Curriculum: Languages aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure students:

  • communicate in the target language
  • understand language, culture, and learning and their relationship, and thereby develop an intercultural capability in communication
  • understand themselves as communicators.

Then in the explanation of strands and sub strands, while ‘communication’ is the first of the two strands of language learning, it begins to become clear that the Indonesian curriculum reinforces the belief that comprehension is achieved through analysing aspects of language:

Strands and sub-strands

The content of the Australian Curriculum: Languages is organised through two interrelated strands which realise the three aims. The two strands are:

  • Communicating: using language for communicative purposes in interpreting, creating and exchanging meaning
  • Understanding: analysing language and culture as a resource for interpreting and creating meaning.

The strands reflect three important aspects of language learning:

  • communication
  • analysis of aspects of language and culture
  • reflection that involves
    • reflection on the experience of communicating
    • reflection on comparative dimensions of the languages available in students’ repertoires (for example, the first language in relation to second language and self in relation to others).

One puzzling fact about the Indonesian curriculum though is that while it recognises the importance of communication, the word ‘proficiency’ does not appear anywhere and the word ‘fluency’ appears just once for students in years F-7:

Years 5 and 6

Years 5 and 6 Band Description

Indonesian language learning and use

….. They (students) extend their oral fluency by focusing on sentence-level intonation and stress.

Surely the goal of a language program is to develop proficiency in that language?

2015 Intan Conference – Adelaide, SA

Yesterday (last Saturday) saw about 40 – 50 Indonesian teachers gather together at the Education Development Center in Hindmarsh for our annual conference. It was organised, as always, by our hardworking Intan committee and included many wonderful opportunities for us to belajar/mengajar (learn/teach) each other. Bersatu kita maju (United we progress)
The day began with the presentation of a goody bag upon registration. Each year the goody bag is heavier and heavier! This year’s bag contains mostly promotional information. The ones I think look interesting and have earmarked for perusal include :
The guide for the upcoming OzAsia festival,
Two magazines – Indomedia & Indobulletin
Information about the Treasure Ships exhibition at the SA Art Gallery
Outreach Education
Menu for Ketut’s Kitchen 95A O’Connell St, North Adelaide
Notepad from the Credit Union SA
Flyer about the Jembatan Project – a Flinders University initiative
A flyer for Michelle Kohler’s book, Teachers as Mediators in the Foreign Language Classroom (will check my class budget)
Adelindo Flyer – Great to learn there is a local business that repairs angklung! (link)
Flinders University 2016 Postgraduate programs list (definitely on my bucket list)
Language Perfect poster – world championship in 2016!! Offering $25,000 prize money – well worth investigating!!
Amansar journeys of discovery and learning flyer – hopefully soon our short sighted state government will realize the extent to which they are short changing language programs by refusing to sanction school trips to Indonesia. In the meantime, I look at this flyer and imagine a future where I can travel with my students to Indonesia….
Indo Ink order form
Asia Bookroom booklet – particularly interested in the ‘Our Jakarta’ series. Are they anywhere near the quality of the amazing books printed and published through Dyatmika School???
Lote Teaching Aids – catalogue, pen, keychain, bookmarks and sticker selection.
Not bad hey? Bagus kan?
After Brent informed us about the location of the amenities and the evacuation procedures, he welcomed Uncle Frank Wanganeen to welcome us to country.IMG_1975 Uncle Frank spoke briefly about his contact with his language – the Gana Language and his country – Narrunga. He told us that he had grown up in Adelaide during a time when there were unpleasant consequences for those heard speaking in the Gana language. Consequently it wasn’t till he was an adult that he could learn Gana. In the 1980’s there was a conscious movement to revive Aboriginal languages and today there are many resources available specifically aimed at teaching and learning Aboriginal languages, including YouTube videos!! Uncle Frank then acknowledged his ancestors and welcomed us to the land upon which the conference is being held both in the Gana language and in English! A beautiful start to our conference. I always find the welcome to country moving.
After Barbara Hatley was invited to officially start the conference,IMG_1978 Brent outlined all the reasons why the Intan conference is highly valued amongst Indonesian teachers. These reasons include the ability to collaborate, network, for professional development and to discover useful resources. Brent next officially launched the Intan website and outlined a Treasure Hunt competition cleverly designed to motivate us to investigate the website.
He then again introduced Barbara Hatley from the University of Tasmania IMG_1983who spoke about the role of theater and drama in Indonesian society both historically and in the present day. It was a fascinating presentation including photos and video snippets of a group called Teater Garasi who will be performing in the OzAsia Festival.
The next sessions were the ‘back by popular demand’ proficiency workshops. This year, the committee was very innovative, as the 3 workshops were provided by the AILF in Bali via Skype! IMG_1990The 3 workshops catered for different levels of proficiency and focused on quite different topics. The novice workshop focused on traditional games, the intermediate workshop topic was the mudik tradition, (the returning home to family after Ramadan), and the advanced workshop focused on modern day slang. As it was hard to choose, Annie, Sharon and I each went to one and on the trip home outlined all that we covered. Each workshop was led by a native Indonesian speaker and other than a few wifi connectivity issues, it was a great initiative. Ibu Putu Ayu Asri who led our session has promised to email a copy of the PowerPoint she used for our session. I am looking forward to receiving it as I only got the main slang words written down! Here are a couple of the ones I loved:
Lo = anda
Rempong = repot
PD = percaya diri
Semangat dong! = cheer up
Ciyus = serious/seriously?
Capcus = cepat, cepat
Sip = right/ok
Cekidot = check it out
KEPO = Knows Every Particular Object (knowitall)
BT = bad tempered
ilfil = ill feeling
ABG = Anak Baru Gede (teenager)
Jomblo = single
Aren’t they seriously bagus banget???
Following straight after the proficiency workshops was the first of 2 lines of available workshops. This first line included the workshop we presented on Teaching Indonesian with Comprehensible Input. This is the first time we have ever presented anywhere, so unsurprisingly we were nervous yet it made such a difference to be presenting together as a team. Our workshop ran for 45 minutes which wasn’t anywhere near long enough to do the topic justice, yet hopefully was long enough to give participants a taste of TCI. The workshop ran smoothly and to be honest, is a blur. We began with Sharon introducing each of us and then giving a bit of history about us and our hub group. We then showed 3 of Diane Neubauers videos (see here, here and here) as we believe that the impact of TCI is stronger with an unfamiliar language. We then began a TPRS lesson from term 1 which centered on Catharina’s Taylor Swift story. Annie demonstrated step 1 and introduced the target structures and modeled how to choose the gestures. Sharon told the story and then I pointed out the new page on my blog where I have been collating a list of TCI activities, some of which are perfect to do after telling the story. I then attempted to give a circling demonstration (which included a total mental blank on how to model 3-1) and then we finished up with questions while a slide show of students learning with TCI activities in our classrooms was projected up behind us. We fielded many questions including
How to extend the 4%ers (gave Diane Neubauer’s suggestion of offering jobs)
How to use TCI in high school where the curriculum is very structured and inflexible (explained that this too is an issue for TCI secondary teachers in the states who have various ways of dealing with this)
Overall the feedback we received afterwards was incredibly warm and encouraging. Following immediately after our session was lunchtime, which we gave us some extra time to chat with those who had more questions. Excitingly for me too, I got to meet 2 of my followers, one of whom has also been trialing TCI in her classroom!! Lovely to put faces and names to a few of my followers!!
We were all treated to a delicious lunch where the carnivores could choose between rendang and ayam goreng while the vegetarians enjoyed tempeh, cap cai and pecel – all served, naturally, with rice.
After this feast, we next could choose to attend a further selection of workshops. Sharon, Annie & I divided ourselves again between Brent’s workshop on assessment and evaluation and Daniel Bradbury’s Number workshop.

IMG_2002Brent’s workshop began with a focus on the aims of the Indonesian Curriculum.
The aims are:
1. Communicate….
2. Understand language & culture……
3. Understand oneself as a communicator…
I understand the first 2 aims and agree they are important aims for a language curriculum but have difficulty getting my head around the third. I need to research it in order to understand exactly what it means and then hopefully it will be clearer as to why it is listed as one of the overall aims. Personally, I feel that it should be in the health curriculum!! What do you think???
Brent then shared with us how he has identified each and all of the Achievement standards and demonstrated how they all link back to the content descriptors. He also shared with us several items developed by staff from his site. These include a very detailed rubric that his school site has put together which they use to grade student work, a suggested F- year 2 curriculum demonstrating how thematic units of work can be devised to achieve curriculum objectives.
The conference finished up with short presentations from various groups.
Pak Budi talked about the Jembatan project which aims to build bridges between Indonesia and Australia. IMG_2015He mentioned that in 2016, 2 internships will be available. Must keep that in mind!!
Chris from Indofest very kindly interrupted his tennis game to speak to us. Indofest, an annual Indonesian festival, has been running since 2008. It is usually held earlier in the year in Rymill Park however this year it will be held on October 5th in the Migration Museum, Art Gallery, State Library, SA Museum precinct and most importantly, there will be free parking in Adelaide all day long.
Helen Munro from The Orangutan Project (TOP) spoke. She is the current education officer and is available to visit schools. IMG_2018A variety of programs are available and can be designed to complement a variety of topics and age groups.
Jodie Edwards reminded us about the OzAsia festival which will be held the day before Indofest. This year it includes several exciting Indonesian performances.
Rosslyn Oldfield encouraged us all to get together with our hub groups. Hub Groups are support groups for teachers and are an informal gathering for teachers to support each other and learn from each other! Just like a teachmeet. There is definitely interest for a hub group meeting on the Fleurieu, so we asked people to nominate the best week day and have tentatively organised our next meeting to be in week 5, term 4.
The conference finished up with the drawing of the raffle which is always lots of fun as there were over 25 prizes!! First prize was generously donated by Amansar Travel and Diane was extremely thrilled to win a prize which included various day trips in and around Malaysia.
A huge thank you to the brilliant Intan committee and hats off to acknowledge that yet again, the conference was highly successful. So: yes Brent; it definitely did meet our expectations!
Makasih semua