Making TCI Videos

I have had so much fun making i+1 (at my students level with just 1-2 unfamiliar words) videos for my students. I was inspired to do this after watching Bu Anne’s videos on her YouTube channel Indonesian Fun For Juniors. Most of my videos on my YouTube channel were created pre-TCI and the language used is either English or incomprehensible (for my students) Indonesian. The final catalyst that resulted in me creating TCI videos was my 2017 trip to Agen when I backed myself into a corner by telling my TRT (substitute) that I would be posting videos for students to watch and Listen & Draw while I was away.

Before I left Australia, I asked a couple of classes what they’d like me to include in my videos and that really helped me include topics of student interest. Student requests ranged from pigeons to the Eiffel Tower! Taking the video was the easy part surprisingly; the most time consuming and challenging aspect is the narration.  Sometimes I really needed a word yet to be acquired by students, so I added it as a subtitle with its English translation.

I’ve since returned to Australia and have had fun exploring how to make videos from PowerPoints which are considerably easier to narrate but harder to locate appropriate visuals. My latest idea (which I will work on soon) is to use student illustrations instead, however this can only be done towards the end of a story. Then the next challenge will be to take a ‘leaf’ (cut?) from Alice Ayel’s YouTube videos and draw the pictures myself! For some reason, this is extremely challenging for me because I am the world’s worst drawer. In Indonesia, on our way home from the 2017 Agen conference, Annie & I spent a day with Ibu Mia at her school. In one class, I drew a camel – we were talking about speed humps (polisi tidur) – and my camel picture had the entire class in puzzled laughter! I had to ask for a volunteer to draw one for me!!

My latest video is called Belle Mau Punya Teman (Belle Wants a Friend). Belle is a gorgeous pup who belongs to a colleague and the idea of creating this video came to me while I was house sitting during the last holidays. Vicki lives in such a beautiful spot and has a variety of animals that it was a no brainer to collect video on my phone while I was there. Once I had the footage, I opened iMovie and started making the project. I had no idea of the video title while videoing; that came to me when going through the footage. When I make videos this way, I don’t have a script; I simply reduce the volume of the footage and narrate straight into the project and the storyline develops as I go. Consequently, the dialogue takes a lot of editing in order to keep inbounds (using only language my students know), staying SLOW and fitting the dialogue to the footage clip. Quite a tricky balance.

Have a watch and see how it turned out:

Hosting The State Education Minister – The Honorable Susan Close – in The Indonesian Classroom

What an experience it was teaching with the state education minister, her entourage, both our PEPS school leaders and several SRC representatives in my classroom!

Before the arrival of Susan Close (SA’s education minister), to the Indonesian room, I pre-warned my 5/6 class that during their Indonesian lesson, the education minister would be visiting to observe them learning Indonesian via TPRS/CI. With Marg’s (their teacher) help, we provided the ketua kelas & the tukang foto time to practice their jobs. The ketua kelas needed to ensure that he addressed the minister correctly incorporating an Indonesian twist: “Murid- murid berdiri dan kasih hormat kepada The Honorable Bu Susan Close”. The tukang foto’s job included taking photographs of the minister chatting with Lincoln – our host (pemandu)  and then ensuring the visit finished with a class selfie. The whole class then practised all of this a few times which was lots of fun.

We then returned to our current story, ‘Dua Mulut’ (2 Mouths)  beginning with a PowerPoint reading ala Terry Waltz as she demonstrated at the SA 2017 Fleurieu Conference. Unfortunately the minister missed this and arrived just after we began the post story activity.

The activity I taught was one that I had read recently on the iFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching Facebook PLN group. Students listened to and then illustrated 3 sentences read to them 1 by 1, from the story. They then swapped their clearboard with a friend. I repeated these 3 sentences many times incorporating reps and circling while students double checked that everything I’d said was included into the illustration given them by their friend. If the illustration was incomplete, they had to add the missing details. I then slowly read to them 1 by 1 three new sentences (that followed on from the previous sentences). Students listened to each sentence and added the new detail to the clearboard before swapping again with a new friend. I then repeated all the sentences, starting with the initial sentences getting as many reps as possible while students double checked again and added any missing detail to the illustration.

As Susan Close stepped through the doorway, the ketua kelas led the class greeting which appeared to blow her away.  Lincoln then stepped up and introduced himself and explained his role as host and translator. 

The lesson then continued with Lincoln translating and explaining to my left and the entourage standing along one side of my room and overflowing out the door!

While I was teaching, I was able to focus on my students and block out the fact that there were many extra bodies in our room. However as soon as the activity finished, I looked up and without intending to, made eye contact with the onlookers.  My mind instantly went blank!! That terrifying moment when self doubt creeps in and the could’ve/ should’ve list begins. Did the activity demonstrate #TPRS well? Should I have demonstrated kursi luar biasa? Did I incorporate enough circling? Etc etc All I could process was that the tukang foto had yet to arrange the class selfie which in hindsight was a good idea because Susan Close must have been in the Indonesian for way longer than the tight schedule had originally set out!! 

Later at recess when I thanked her for spending so much time in my room, she confessed that the TPRS observation had been what she’d been looking forward to the most!! What diplomacy. One of her comments that I loved was how amazed she was with the almost entire lesson being conducted in Indonesian. I truly hope that she appreciated the amount of communication in Indonesian that was happening as opposed to lots of talking about Indonesian in English as used to happen in my room!!

I would also like to acknowledge Margaret Roberts (back left in class selfie) for staying with me during the observation (her non- contact time) and supporting not just one of her colleagues, but also the TPRS Indonesian program.  After the minister left, Marg provided us all with a much appreciated brainbreak leading her students and me all in a quirky chant. Just what we needed. Terima kasih Ibu Marg; you are luar biasa!

Awesome Preposition Indonesian Brain Break – MI, Mi, Mi

One of the fantastic things we learned last week from our AIYEP visitors was a hand clapping rhyme that my middle and upper primary students absolutely loved.

Farah typed out the tweaked lyrics and I put them up on the smart board.

Mi, Mi, Mi

mi atas, mi bawah

mi depan, mi belakang

mi satu, dua, tiga

mi empat, lima, enam

mi ciyo, ciyo, ciyo

mi gulung, gulung, gulung

gulung-gulung kasur


I firstly asked the students to watch  Kak Farah, Kak Ricky, Kak Oscar & Kak Rini. They paired up and demonstrated the hand clapping rhyme. After a few repetitions, I then asked for volunteers to come forward and have a go with the ‘kakaks’. The aim was to get as many repetitions of the rhyme as possible before the students did it themselves and this would increase both their confidence and chances of success!! Again, the volunteer students had 2 goes with their mentor kakak’s.  The class then looked at the lyrics briefly. This was to purely show them what had been chanted and also to quickly translate to explain most of the hand movements.

Students were then asked to choose a partner (student or kakak partner) and be ready to start. We all together chanted satu, dua, tiga, (1,2,3) then began the hand clapping rhyme following along with the kakak’s. There was much hilarity while students had a go for the first time with a partner. Again, for the final time, students were asked to repeat the rhyme with this partner. Then to ramp it up, I asked everyone to change partners, ala Pak Iriantos’ workshop at ASILE. We continued chanting the rhyme and changing partners over and over again, after each run through. It was a great way for students to get repetitions on the rhyme with new partners in a fun way.

Here is a snippet showing you just how much fun it was:

2016 – AIYEP in South Australia

Have you or your students heard of AIYEP ? Even though AIYEP has been around for 35 years, I have only just  learned of it and then only by chance!


AIYEP (pronounced Ay-yep) is the commonly used acronym for the Australian Indonesian Youth Exchange Program. This program was established in 1981 and is fully supported by the Australian Government (DFAT) and the Indonesian Government (Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sport) and promotes peace and understanding between our two countries. Each year the program is based in a different state/Territory in Australia and in Indonesia it is held in a different province. This year, it is based in South Australia and Sulawesi.


The participants, 9 men and 9 women, aged 21-25 years, are chosen from applicants who are either undertaking tertiary studies or working in sectors that will contribute to improving bilateral relationships.


Here in SA, we are almost at the end of the first half of the program. 18 Indonesian youths have 3 days left before heading back to Adelaide to meet the 18 Australian youths who will soon be flying to Indonesia for the final part of the program. The Indonesians arrived almost 2 months ago and have enjoyed staying with host families in firstly a city setting and then lastly a rural setting while enjoying work experience placements relevant to their chosen career path. 


Our region is about to host the farewell ceremony for the Indonesian group who have been here on the Fleurieu Peninsular for just over 2 weeks. Having 18 Indonesian youths in our community has been such a bonus for our Indonesian language programs. Several local families have offered to be the host families for our visitors and are just loving the opportunity to get acquainted with their temporary adopted son/daughter! Due to Indonesian cultural norms, it is usually difficult for them to address adults by their christian name, so they were encouraged to address their host parents are Mum/Dad. The variations of this have been hilarious. At the Victor Harbor Christmas Pageant last night, I smiled each time I heard someone being addressed as ‘Mom’ or even ‘Daddy’. No matter how many times it is explained that ‘Mom’ is American and not used in Australia, it has continued! Too much exposure to USA TV content?


At PEPS, we were fortunate to host 5 for their work placement; 4 in the primary school and one in the kindergarten. The first week was crazy as our inaugural Twilight Pasar Fundraiser was to be held that Friday. They spent equal time observing classroom teachers and supporting Indonesian lessons. Due to crazy pasar preparations, I wasn’t able to explain in any detail about the pedagogy I’m using in my classroom but thankfully Sharon did at Victor R-7, which led to quite a bit of discussion last night at the Christmas Carol concerts between those from education sectors. Prima is so enthusiastic to learn more about TPRS and use it in her classrooms!! Isn’t that exciting?


The AIYEP group has had 4 days each week at their work placement and then each Friday, reconnected as a group and traveled around visiting local schools to perform a selection of cultural dances. Their first day of their cultural performances on the Fleurieu coincided with the inaugural Twilight Pasar and was easily one of the highlights of our pasar. The costumes and dances were amazing. Each participant wore traditional clothing from their regions: Aceh, Riau, Java, Kalimantan, Ternate, Papua, Sulawesi and Bangka Belitung. img_1818Consequently their clothing varied immensely, especially that of the women. Sylvi from Java wore a beautiful cobalt blue sarong and jacket with her hair gathered back for an enormous bun. I’ve only seen her in casual clothes; the transformation was breath taking. Fadilla wore a long dress that she adapted to represent the traditional clothing of Central Sulawesi. The bodice was pink and covered in twinkling gold sequins and she also wore a matching tiara. Her layered black skirt had colourful dangling beads hanging from each layer. Her gold earrings were attached to her ears over her kerudung which strangely looked fantastic! Hannet and Luis from Papua wore grass skirts together with lots of body paint and shell necklaces. Their clothing added such a lovely balance to the group as it is so different from the traditional sarong and kebaya.


At PEPS, we had Ricky, Oscar, Farah (Fadilla) and Rini in the primary school and Odah in the kindergarten. During the first week, I presented them with their timetable and sent them off to classes for observations and then in the second week, they were given a choice to continue observing or stay in the Indonesian room. I’m thrilled they chose the latter! Post Pasar, the students were restless, so it was perfect that we had decided to teach traditional children’s games to small groups of students. Oscar chose cublak- cublak suweng, Rini chose bekel, Ricky chose pecah piring and Farah chose lompat karet. Because it was to be a fun week, I asked the students to get into 5 groups and then asked each group which activity they’d like to learn/do. My activity was congklak which most students already know so I was able to get my group going and then walk around taking photos of other groups. Because all but congklak was unfamiliar, there were no disappointed groups. Boys tended to select Oscar & Ricky and it was lovely watching them play simple children’s games and have so much fun. It really was a fantastic way for the students to interact with our visitors.

As the first lesson of the 2016 timetable is a planning lesson, Farah, Ricky, Oscar & Rini used this time on the second Tuesday to film themselves demonstrating and explaining the rules for each game. It took them a while to adjust to speaking slowly and restricting their vocabulary but the final result is awesome. Here are the videos that have been uploaded to YouTube so far:



We are going to miss them once they leave our region this Wednesday morning!


However the main point of this post is not just to share what we have been doing but also so that you can share this information with your students. Lets hope relations between Indonesia and Australia continue to improve so that programs like this continue to be available for our students in their future. There are so few programs like this (that I know of) that encourage Indonesian Language students to continue with their language learning, offering them an achievable goal as it is a fully funded DFAT program.


For more information, see the AIYEP website.

Specialist Teachers Unite!

For the very first week of the year, the 5 specialist teachers at my school collaborated to present a united program to students. The 5 specialist are

  1. Performing Arts
  2. Digital Technology
  3. PE
  4. Geography
  5. Indonesian

We first discussed the idea during a No Tosh workshop last year with the idea being that instead of students coming to each one of our classes in the first week of school and hearing the same message over and over again from each one of us, we would collaborate and clarify our expectations together. Here are our initial notes:

 We met during the holidays and excitedly agreed to trial the program. The idea was that we all came to our timetabled lessons in the gym with a short activity prepared for a large group of combined class levels. The activities had to provide us all with the springboard to discuss group skills & minor problem solving through our school values of community, confidence & respect.

As none of us work full time and our days are spread evenly over the week, it meant that each day we either had 2, 3 or 4 teachers on deck at any one time working with 2, 3 or 4 classes respectively. Two junior primary classes received our combined spiel 5 times and the remainder received it 4 times yet because the teachers each day were never exactly the same and the classes who came were also never exactly the same, the dynamics changed significantly each lesson.

We began each lesson with our shared expectations and communicated to students clearly that this year there will be significantly more communication between class teachers, leadership and specialist teachers  through a new monitoring system we will hope staff will support to ensure that behaviours in our classes are followed up on.  Other issues we talked about included the fact that our lessons are only 50 minutes and thus all students to repsect the learning of others so that time isn’t wasted.

We then shared the microphone around and led an activity each. It was brilliant being able to focus on group skills and problem solving repeatedly with mixed group levels. We would ask students to get into groups and then after a few minutes, ask everyone to stop. This gave us the opportunity to talk about the confidence needed to be proactive and approach a group and ask to join their group, how the request needs to be answered respectfully and diplomatically, to be resilient and persist till you join a group, make strong choices about who you group up with etc. We did this over and over again in various ways all from our own specialist subject viewpoint and students definitely improved over the week.

My activities included Bu Cathy Berkata (simon says), kancil, buaya, mangga (get into groups of 3 and decide who will be kancil, who will be buaya and who will be the mangga. Berjalan kaki around the gym in your group and each time I say ‘buaya/ mangga/kancil’ the kancil stands with their hands cupped on their head for ears, the buaya lies on the ground and the mangga curls into a ball) and on the last day I extended the language by asking students to ‘cari satu teman – satu perempuan dengan satu laki laki’ and it was fantastic that students used the stop gesture (tidak paham) and others could translate for them.

The geography teacher came up with her own activity which involved rings of students representing different aspects of the globe and then the finale was asking them each to turn either clockwise or anticlockwise. The final movement was amazing and I filmed it which should be good for a future brain break! It truly demonstrates why the weather is never  predictable.

Natalie, our performing arts teacher did one activity where she divided the students by gender. Each group had to put themselves into a line in order of birthdate and then she turned on some very loud music. Each group did well with only a couple of errors (not bad for 2 groups about 40 students) and afterwards she sat them down and discussed with them the impact of noise, congratulated the studetns who had shown leadership & asked the groups to explain the methods used. It was a brilliant activity for upper primary.

Evan brought ipads to the gym and asked the students to get into teams of 10. Each team had to take one continous video on an ipad which was passed respectfully clockwise around the circle and each person had to film the person on their left saying one positive thing about the who was person filming them. The groups that worked collaboratively and respectfully completed the task had time to watch their film yet the groups that did not collaborate well had many disappointed team members who didn’t get a chance to use the ipad. IMG_1615

We met on Thursday afternoon to review the program and we all agreed the week had been a huge success and one we’d be keen to repeat in 2017.  The comments from staff were also incredibly positive noting that the sense of community created in the gym felt very real. We found it a great way to start the year because it gave us a chance to meet the new students and learn their names as well as the names of a few of our many new reception students. It gave Evan and Les some breathing space in which they could learn about our school and students in a collaborative atmosphere before we all go it alone next week . All up the sense of community was strong not just for students but also for the 5 specialist teachers!

PEPS’ First Ever Bilingual Assembly

Last Friday,  year 5/6 Roberts ran the school assembly. It was amazing!

However before I explain in more detail why it was amazing, I have to explain a few things….

Their teacher, Margaret, has incorporated Indonesian wherever possible into her classroom routines. Displayed in her room are the classroom phrases students use and know well, including

  • Boleh saya ke w.c.
  • Boleh saya cari minuman
  • Jangan lupa, cuci tangan
  • Jangan lama lama
  • Sudah!
  • Sampai jumpa
  • Terima kasih
  • Apa kabar?
  • Boleh saya pinjam…

These phrases used to be the cornerstone of my language program before I discovered TPRS. These phrases were thus the limit of my student’s fluency because these were they only phrases that were repeated from lesson to lesson, term to term. (Other vocabulary was limited to ‘themes’ and once the theme was finished, the vocabulary was rarely used or covered again.) Margaret has always supported the Indonesian program where possible in her classroom yet lately she has taken it one huge step further. During her release time, she can often been found joining her students in their Indonesian lesson!! I am so touched and impressed for many reasons that she gives up her non face to face time to join us. I really appreciate her feedback on the many aspects of the lesson and love it when we run through the target structures that she has acquired later in the classroom.

So I really shouldn’t have been surprised when Margaret announced that she wanted to run a bilingual assembly!! She gave me a copy of the script and together with Ibu Mia, we were able to easily translate the dialogue using the target structures students have covered to date. This exercise in itself demonstrated just how powerful TPRS is when the initial structures are high frequency ones. Using the following target structures, the year 5/6 class were able to conduct PEPS’S first bilingual assembly:

  • berkata – to say
  • nama saya – my name is
  • mau – want
  • berdiri – stand
  • diam – quiet
  • duduk – sit
  • kasih – give
  • lihat – see
  • dengar- listen
  • sudah – already
  • sampai jumpa – goodbye

The assembly went so smoothly and I was immensely proud of the fact that students could conduct an assembly in two languages and that it was 100% comprehensible for all students in the audience. The very first sentence was “Murid-murid, berdiri dan diam untuk Advance Australia Fair.” Immediately the entire assembly of students stood quietly! Wow!! The class teachers, who had no idea of what had been said, were puzzled when the entire student body stood up.  Not realising why, class teachers immediately insisted that their students sit down! The students were confused! They had just been asked in Indonesian to stand and now they were being told to sit down!! The sight of the entire school getting to their feet en masse was very moving for me. The students who  had spoken the words had used no hand signals, yet the students fully understood it and immediately followed instructions!

jessica & flick

I also spoke at the assembly to formally welcome Ibu Mia to our school. Once again I was blown away by their comprehension and was so incredibly proud. I spoke in Indonesian and when I asked them all, “Paham?” they answered en masse, “Paham!” Ibu MIa then presented a trophy to our principal that her students had made especially for our school. When I held it up to show the students they all agreed: “Astaga!” It blew Ibu Mia away!


recieving presentation

What an amazing assembly! To think that our students now know enough Indonesian to conduct an entire assembly is pretty cool! Congratulations to the year 5/6 class. You have certainly set the standard now and I really hope that the next class who runs the assembly is also keen to conduct it bilingually!

Staying in the Language

One of emphases of TPRS/TCI is for the whole class, including the teacher, to stay in the TL (Target Language) and in the USA, there is a 90% target! We don’t have any such emphasis in the Australian Curriculum, in fact our curriculum appears to largely expect teachers will teach in English.
In order to not only record our progress of how many minutes each class stayed in Indonesian in each lesson without blurting (speaking in English) but also to add a level of competition between classes, I introduced the student job of timing just this. A student in most lessons now sits at the back of the room with an ipad, next to the Pembantu Guru, whose job it is to squeeze a plastic pig loudly each time any English is spoken. This is easily the most favourite job we have so far explored! Each time the pig is squeezed, the timer (Penghitung Waktu) stops the timer and records the time. At the end of the lesson, if a new record was achieved, it is added to the board. The second number alongside is the total number of repetitions we get in a lesson of the target structures.
Here is the first photo I took in week 4 with the very first scores:

And here is week 5:

Here is week 6:

And finally last weeks:

IMG_9747The funny thing about this latest shot is that 6/7 Turley came in to class and were determined to beat their score. They agreed it was pathetic that the 6/7 class had the lowest time. They tried and tried and yet someone would blurt out in English after just a few minutes. Finally with 11 minutes to go, they all realised this was their final chance and it was so impressive how they all dug deep to keep a lid on their blurting. It was such an accomplishment for them. The very next class though, was the other 6/7 class. When they walked in and saw that they were the only class yet to beat their initial score, they all decided then and there to not only set a new PB, but to also totally thrash the other 6/7 class. And boy did they ever!! 33 minutes was far in excess of what I was expecting from any class in first term!! I had actually said to classes all I’d really hoped for was 10 minutes!! What made me smile though was that whenever a 6/7 student asked, ‘Boleh saya Bahasa Ingris?” The rest of the class would shout “Tidak boleh!”
So now there is a huge inter class competition between the two year 6/7 classes!! I don’t know who is more challenged by this determination of the two classes to only use Indonesian in class; them or me!! My challenge is that whatever I say has to be 100% comprehensible to each and every student!! No easy feat I can tell you! Today because 6/7 Clark wanted to reach the target of 40 minutes, we went into recess slightly and ensuring comprehension remained, I had to resort to a few quick written translations on the board so that I could continue without blurting myself!! Made me feel a little guilty but it is sooo hard when we have only been using TCI properly for barely 8 weeks!!


Week One Bridge Program at PEPS

What a week! Our Bridge partners returned home with Marg & I Saturday night and after a good nights sleep, Sunday was spent catching up on washing and looking at a few of our local tourist attractions.



IMG_9727 I had hoped to grab some time to program but other than a quick look, it didn’t happen. Thankfully I had done some the week before I left. We all went to bed absolutely exhausted again Sunday night and would’ve preferred having one more day before heading back to school!

On Monday, I decided to teach as per usual to give Pak Pahot & Ibu Eliza the opportunity to observe TCI methodology in the Indonesian classroom. I didn’t say anything beforehand, other than to warn them that I don’t teach Indonesian the way other language teachers in Australia do, as I thought it would be easier to answer any questions afterwards. However, I was disappointed later when there were no questions or comments. I later realised that both Pak Pahot and Ibu Eliza are classroom teachers, not language teachers! After school we discussed the schedule for Tuesday. Both said they had lessons that they’d like to teach. Ibu Eliza had brought a lesson about the 7 presidents and Pak Pahot wanted to teach younger students about 10 native Indonesian fruits. This worked out perfectly with the timetable for Tuesday as the 2 year 6/7 classes were first and the last two lessons were firstly a year 1 class and then a year 2/3 class, so we headed to the SSO room to prepare for our lessons using the PC’s which was easier than getting them onto the school wifi.

Consequently Tuesday was a lovely day for us all. I supported both teachers for 4 of the 5 lessons I usually teach on Tuesdays with translations and classroom management while students thoroughly enjoyed being taught bilingually. Ibu Eliza’s lesson had several components to it and in retrospect would have been less rushed if we had spread it over 2 lessons, yet because we had so much to get through in 50 minutes, they didn’t have any time to get distracted. Students were divided into 7 groups and then given a page with a small picture of one of Indonesia’s past or present presidents at the top. Under the picture, students had to write down 5 questions they would like to know about that president. The questions written by students were varied and ranged from what is his/her name? to: Was he/she a popular president? Each group then had to choose one of their questions and then they were given a paragraph of information about the president they were focusing on. Students had to read through the information to find the answer to their question. Any other information they discovered was written underneath a picture on another sheet handed out to groups. Had we enough time, Ibu Eliza had hoped that each group could share what they had learned about each president, however we were getting close to the end of the lesson, so we jumped straight into the next step which was to hand out another sheet with 7 boxes and 7 pictures of each of the 7 presidents and have students glue them on in order of presidency writing their names down underneath. By the 2nd lesson, Pak Pahot had simplified this for students by numbering each picture on the back! Students then had to ask each other for names of each president. The students responded well to this lesson and as the students needed to work quickly there was little time for off task behaviours. I did enjoy a quick discussion with one group who had Joko Widodo. They asked me to confirm if he was the current president who supported the death penalty. When I confirmed that it was, they then all had a really great discussion on their own opinions. I was so impressed with their comments and that they didn’t all agree yet respected each others opinions.



After recess, in my non contact time, Sandy, the year 3 teacher, Skyped us for a mystery Skype. The original plan had been to do the mystery Skype from Sydney but for many reasons, this didn’t happen. Because the aim of a mystery Skype is to guess the location of the other ‘school’, we couldn’t tell anyone at all where Pak Pahot and Ibu Eliza come from beforehand!! We sat in the Indonesian room while the Year 3’s remained in their room, each with maps of Indonesia in their laps. There first question was, “Do you live in the Northern Hemisphere?” which was a great one as it eliminated so much of Indonesia and didn’t take them long to hone in on Medan! It was lots of fun even though the poor students were confused when I asked them to look at us and in doing so turned their back on us as the webcam was on the PC yet we were projected up onto the smart board!! Sorry guys!!

The students then asked a few questions including;
What are your houses made from? Cement and bricks
Do you have any pets? Pak Pahot has a dog called Whitefang and Ibu Eliza has fish and chooks.
What do you do in your spare time? Reading and cooking
What musical instruments do you play? Pak Pahot plays the guitar, the organ and angklung
Do you have any children? Pak Pahot has a 9 month old son named MIchael.
Who do you live with? Pak Pahot lives with his wife, his son and 3 younger brothers whereas Ibu Eliza lives with her husband and niece. Sandy has blogged about the Mystery Skype in more detail on her class blog. Read the post here and read what the students wrote about the experience!

My one and only lesson I taught that day was introducing reception students to the numbers 1-5 and then it was lunch time.



After lunch, Pak Pahot showed a powerpoint he had put together of the 10 fruits he wanted to focus on. He explained that there are over 400 different varieties of fruit in Indonesia and no matter where you are in Indonesia, you will come across a huge selection to enjoy We then looked at the powerpoint and learned what they are called in Indonesian and for many students, we also learned what they are called in English!! Fruits included banana, starfruit, soursop, durian, rambutan and mangosteen. Students then worked in groups to match 5 of the fruits to their Indonesian names using pencils. Each group was then asked to stand up. One student held the sheet while the second student pointed to each of the fruits and the third student said their name in Indonesian. Students were fascinated with the variety of fruit available and surprisingly quite a few have tasted them either here in Australia or on holidays in Indonesia.



We then had just enough time to fill up our drink bottles before presenting at the staff meeting. I introduced both our visitors, explained about the Bridge Project and then Pak Pahot presented a powerpoint presentation about his school, his students and the various programs running at their school.

IMG_9723Afterwards there was a brief question and answer opportunity where teachers asked specifics about special education programs, how remedial students are catered for (after school), the school day, etc. I then briefly introduced staff to the AEF website which is an amazing resource for Asia & Australia’s Engagement with Asia. It’s about to be updated too!! I also circulated a timetable for teachers to nominate blocks where Pak Pahot and Ibu Eliza could come in and observe lessons.

The rest of the week was spent by visiting various classrooms which ranged from receptions to year 7’s and covered most subject areas, including PE!! The Sports Day warmup in particular was a huge hit!

IMG_9730The only subject Pak Pahot has yet to observe and is really keen to see is science, so a note in the daybook will hopefully tick that box for him.

Yesterday they spent quite a bit of time with the Year 5/6’s in Mrs Roberts class to work on ‘biodata’ letters for students in Ibu Elizawati’s class. We looked at one of the ones that Ibu Eliza had brought with her which was all in Indonesian and then looked at the various dot points our students would include in their own biodata.

IMG_9714Interestingly, two culturally different aspects arose!! Our students want to add their beloved family pets as they are considered parts of our family and secondly most of the students in the year 5/6 class either don’t have a religion or did not know what religion they are!! What a contrast to Indonesian students!! When I asked Pak Pahot what students could write if they don’t have a religion he was at first confused!! Such a foreign concept for Indonesians!!

Thursday finished with a whole school assembly which was attended by a large number of parents as it was being run by the year 2/3 class. After welcome to country and the national anthem, Pak Pahot & Bu Eliza had everyone riveted with a Batak song and dance. The applause at the end was incredible and a true indication of how much we all thoroughly enjoyed the performance.



After school we were invited to drop in to Sandy’s house to get a tour of their chili garden. The look on Pak Pahot’s and Ibu Eliza’s face when they realised just how many chili bushes there were was priceless. I too was impressed and particularly enjoyed the delicious sambal Ibu Eliza made to go with our fish that night!



As I don’t work Fridays, today we are enjoying a lazy morning and then we will head in just before recess to join Marg and her year 5/6’s for a Skype call to Port Macquarie where the other 2 teachers from Medan are being hosted. The last lesson on the timetable is choir which I doubt wild horses couldn’t keep Pak Pahot from attending!!

To round off the week, we went out to dinner and Pak Pahot enjoyed tasting kangaroo!


Our Week In Sydney with The Bridge Project

What an amazing week we’ve just had here in Sydney for the Bridge Project. While we sit at the airport waiting for our flight, doing a last minute catch up with Erin and Mel who are also hosting 2 partner teachers from Medan, I’ll try to give you a brief picture of our full on 4 day training and development.
Marg & I first met our partner teachers, Pak Pahot & Bu Elizawati, in the breakfast queue at the Novatel. Pak Pahot is a year 2 teacher and Bu Elizawati is a year 6 teacher at a school called SDN 025443 Medan Barat which apparently is rated number 1 in Medan. Of the 400 odd students who apply to enrol each year, only 100 are selected!


Over the past 4 days there has been a strong emphasis on collaboration, planning and communication. Presenters recommended a variety of ways in which we can achieve all 3 successfully with our partner schools and time was provided to not only make a start on them but also so that we could familiarise each other with our school calendars, so that any planned projects avoid school holidays, religious festivals and national exams.

IMG_9639We also spent time discussing cultural differences. Our partner teachers have already noticed differences with punctuality, environmental pride, traffic and the differences between Indonesia and Australia with the use of right hands to pass items.

Thursday afternoon, we were given a challenge:

IMG_9675This was a brilliant and fun way for all of us to explore Sydney. The resulting photos on Twitter were varied and the shared experiences were vast. Check out #bridgeproject!!


Another fun outing was lunch at the local Giants stadium.

IMG_9662After lunch, 2 of the stalwarts (proud muslims) explained about the various programs they run which target disengaged youth and promote education. Very impressive. Afterwards, we enjoyed a tour through the facilities:




Presenters over the 4 days included Mike Bartlett & Danielle Leggo, education officers from from Sydney Olympic Park (SOP). The program they run there is truly amazing and caters towards both local and distance students. It largely focuses on sport, agriculture & sustainability and can be accessed either face to face or by video conferencing. Thirty thousand students annually access the ranger led Australian curriculum aligned activities learning about the local wetlands and other local habitats and there is also an online Koori classroom! One great suggestion from Michael was to set up a collaborative project to study the migratory birds that fly from Siberia to Australia, transiting Indonesia! For further information about SOP, regardless where you are globally, check out their website and youtube channel. They are currently searching for non Australian classrooms interested in an international 2015 netball challenge.

Joedy Wallis from AEF, divided the group so that the Australian teachers and the Indonesian teachers could each focus on their own curriculums to identify areas compatible for collaboration as well as identifying goals and outcomes for student learning. She pointed out the areas of the curriculum covered by the bridge project include:
ict capability
critical and creative thinking
personal and social capability
ethical understanding
ICL (Intercultural Understanding)
which together create successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active informed citizens.
Joedy outlined some history behind the inclusion of the ‘Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia’ priority in the new Australian curriculum. The global shift which has lead to policy changes and the Melbourne Declaration, first signed in 2008 (changes advocated by AEF) provided the impetuous behind our Bridge partnership meeting this week. This promotes student acquisition of 21st century skills. all beneficial for Australia; socially, culturally and economically.

Joedy promoted twitter to all, encouraging all teachers to sign up and discover just how amazing it is for professional learning and sharing. She also promoted the AEF website (which is currently undergoing a huge update to become even bigger and better), the AEF newsletter and #AEFchat on twitter (details on the website) which currently run monthly but will happen more frequently if the number of teachers on twitter increases.

Julie Lindsay from Flat Connections presented on Thursday for 2/3 of our day focusing on the challenges connected with our partnership schools beyond face to face and how to sustain global connections and collaborations. She raised an important point about the need for deep global learning and the importance of constructing a legacy. Encouraging teachers to think deeply and creatively so that whatever project our students create, it will be their legacy.
Julie suggested a variety of online tools through which this could be achieved:
1. (not free) which is a multimedia networking tool was recommended highly by Julie for asynchronis communication if both schools can not be online at the same time.
2. – highly recommended. students can record their voices along a given video/photo
3. Wikispacess – where students and teachers can collaborate on projects
4. blackboard collaborate – students present for 1-2 minutes about their learning to an international audience.
5. asynchronous global debates between classrooms
6. wevideo
7. Animoto
8. Edmodo – private; great tool for creating discussions)
9. Hangouts
10. Skype
11. Padlet – a private forum for groups to share

Before any actual planning, it is critical all teachers agree on a cyber safety policy and have in place an agreement to monitor all students.
Projects could be based on a range of activities:
research (joint?)
problem solving – kerja sama tentang kebanjiran?? find something in common and explore issues!! eg rivers, sea,
artifact and co-creating (eg making video alone or by collaborating with partner students)

Most of the suggested project ideas would be entirely undertaken in English which would create opportunities for deep ICL for classroom teachers. Julie suggested students take the learning home (al la flipped classroom style although she didn’t name it!) which gave me the idea of tasking students to record themselves teaching their parents ‘siapa nama’ & ‘nama saya”. Could create a funny yet educations video about specific target language!
Other flipped ideas that arose over the 4 days included a flat Stanley project whereby students make a puppet of themselves and then send it to their partner school who then takes it with them in their every day life photographing everything and creating a journal which is then returned to their partner school either digitally or by snail mail. Another idea I really love which would be perfect for a look and discuss activity is called, A View From Your Window. Tasking students to take a photo from a window at home and then writing a caption about it.
Julie’s presentation was chocker block full of suggestions with little time to fully explore and trouble shoot. Most teachers felt totally overwhelmed and this confirmed for me just how fortunate we are at PEPS to not only have had a ICT Coordinator for the past 3 years but to have someone of Kathy’s high expertise and dedication in the position. Teachers were also concerned about poor tech support on return to their schools, which again for Marg & I, is rarely an issue!! Our highly capable tech team of Darryn & Kathy is second to none! What they don’t know isn’t worth knowing!! One principal told us about a class set of computers still in boxes at their school because they only get 2 hours of tech support per week!!
The second part of Julie’s time with us was task based. We had to create a digital story with our partner teachers. I quickly wrote a script which I then typed up in Pages and emailed to Marg, Pak Pahot & Bu Eliza. Using Puppet Pals, we quickly made a film entirely in Indonesian about the transport we used in Sydney yesterday which Pak spiced up with some evil laughs!! We uploaded it to Youtube and then pasted the link on the Bridge Padlet to share with everyone.


Pak Donny, the Indonesian translator and coordinator, constantly stressed in his translations, that the partnership is all about our students and should benefit them not the teachers and that all projects must keep that in mind! There was also a huge push to encourage Indonesian teachers to review their learning style (methodology) so as to adopt more western aspects. I can see that encouraging students to ask questions, to be more confident in exchanging opinions has benefits but it is a huge cultural shift and with it comes other aspects of western culture. Other factors which must be considered is that class sizes at our partner school are enormous. Classes range from 34 to 46, Class rooms too are not large and school furniture is also not conducive to more ‘creative’ styles of learning. I can see benefits in encouraging a methodology shift but would like to explore ways in which it can be done that are more sympathetic culturally. It makes me feel like a missionary rather than an educator.
It had been an amazing week, meeting teachers from almost every state. We have swapped email addresses and Skype handles as well as following each other on twitter so that we can keep in contact and help each other with any upcoming challenges this year as well as sharing our successes. Marg in particular was brilliant with this. She has already arranged a Skype call with Mel & Erin this coming Friday!! Another teacher has offered to set up a Facebook page for us all and Aaron will create another Padlet too. The September study tour will be a reunion for those of us who sign up for it!

Goodbye Sydney!

IMG_9673Thank You so much to everyone involved for such a memorable week and in particular to Pak Aaron, Ibu Bonnie & Pak Donni.

First Week Reflections of Introducing TCI to all Classes

Wow, last week was a baptism of fire! I went home Thursday afternoon and it took Trixie till 7, before she could convince me that a dog walk would actually be a good thing! Thank goodness for daylight saving! Until that point, I was comatose on the sofa trying very hard not to fall asleep! Needless to say it was a very short dog walk and I crashed into bed an hour later! Boy, did I sleep well!

I learnt so much last week and here is my summary:

Week 1 – what did I learn?
1. Don’t try to cram too much into a lesson. It’s much better to go slowly and deeply than complete everything in the lesson plan. Keep it simple, short and engaging.
2. Be confident and failing that, pretend to be confident!
3. Be consistent across all classes. I had a few hiccups with my behaviour management plans when I came down heavily on disrespectful students in one of my classes. At the point of almost holding the phone to contact their parents, students in one class quickly reminded me that I had promised them a weeks grace! Be very interesting now to see if that close call makes any difference compared with the other class where 3 students parents were contacted! Another area of inconsistency was the new toilet routine. I only talked about it with the classes in which the need to go to the toilet came up. Maybe if I continue this way, it will avoid a focus on going to the toilet, which with the younger students, follows with a steady stream (oops) of students suddenly desperately needing the toilet.
4. The pictures of staff and pop celebrities were a huge hit – looking forward to adding photos of siblings and students!! I am still blown away with how effective the pictures were for getting in repetitions, although next week, I must focus on maximising the repetitions by speaking much more slowly and also throwing in a comprehension check!! eg what does ‘siapa nama?’ mean?
5. JP & MP students were far more receptive than UP. I have been thinking about this constantly and think it could have been for many reasons. Were the JP lessons more engaging or was my apprehension about the introduction of the new pedagogy with the older students coming through in the delivery? I also went too fast, covering too many new target structures in each lesson, when I should have heeded Catharina’s advice; deep and thorough! I should have stayed with nama saya/siapa nama saya for second lesson, not CWB (circling with balls). Students looked bewildered and then I stressed, overthinking the process. So next week, I will leave CWB, return to nama saya & siapa nama, leaving CWB for another week.
6. Following through with parent calls made a huge impact (3 from one class). It was the first thing students talked about when they returned to their class!! They couldn’t wait to tell Kathy, their class teacher!! I made the 3 phone calls during the last lesson to ensure I spoke to all parents before the students left school. All 3 parents were very grateful for the call, especially when I pointed out that I have taught these boys, the entire time they have been at PEPS. I explained that the call was about recognising patterns in their bahaviour and disrespect and wishing to work as a team to put a stop to it early in the year so that they are successful with their learning. The first parent was happy to deal with the issue himself whereas the other 2 parents have agreed to come in and meet with us all (class teacher, performing arts teacher & me) next week. Hopefully this gets around and the other students realise that I am going to be very tough this year with non compliant behaviour.
7. Personalising takes so much longer with our large classes. May need to revisit this briefly each lesson to ensure all students experience their time in the spotlight.
8. MP students used the stop sign very well; even when I was explaining in English!! How great is that! Wonder if the stop sign will be used in their own classrooms?
8. Monyet talking and gesturing was hugely popular with all classes!! I deliberated quite a bit about using him with UP classes considering he is a JP prop but they all thoroughly enjoyed his input and also enjoyed revisiting the JP siapa nama song.
9. Comprehension checks were fantastic! Asking “nama saya’ means ….. (puzzled look on my face) is a much more effective way of getting repetitions in than by just asking what does that mean?
10. One lesson of nama saya is not enough for reception students!! I will need to revisit it next week.
11. The first lesson for all classes included completing the sentence at the top of their front cover; nama saya……… Students throughly enjoyed this for several reasons. It was a familiar task ( we used to begin each and every term with this), it was an opportunity for students to catch up with each other while working and it got them moving after a long time seated on the floor (brain break).
12. Piccadilly circus (Play is The Way) was more successful with the second 6/7 class because
a) they were familiar with the game (Natalie also did this game with them!) &
b) they had a time to beat! Competition!! May be beneficial to repeat this brain break to see if scores improve further now that they have all played it at least twice!

What I had trouble with:
1. The reception class contained a number of students presenting a huge range of emotions. Some were confident, one boy was so terrified that he stood the entire lesson (luckily he has an older brother who was very similar so I confidently continued knowing that by next week he should be slightly more acclimatised to the overwhelming institution of school), while most looked only slightly shell shocked! It was their first day at big school; they’d just bonded with their teacher and then she accompanied them to the other end of the school and left them in a totally unfamiliar classroom with a largely unfamiliar adult! I knew a few of the students through their older siblings but on the whole, I don’t think they remembered who I was. Poor darlings! Once they relaxed and realised they were going to have fun, most of them got totally carried away and were extremely silly! I always forget just how silly they can get and it is so difficult to bring them down gently without terrifying the student still in flight mode! I hate to think about what they’ve told their parents about their first Indonesian lesson! The highlight for them and lowlight for me, was with the focus on nama saya. In anticipation of the many,many years of reception students being at first convinced that my name is Blue Cathy, I included many repetitions of saying nama saya Bu Cathy and then asking Siapa nama saya? (What’s my name). Together they decided that Bu Cathy was too boring and named me Bu underpants!! I just focused on repeating, nama saya BU CATHY and hope like heck that next week they have forgotten my ‘new’ name!!
2. Talking so much makes me thirsty! I really must make a much greater effort to stay hydrated. I only achieved this on Tuesday!
3. Beginning with a new pedagogy requires considerable energy and focus – I was exhausted by Thursday (my Friday). Consequently Thursday was not a good day to begin using an unfamiliar strategy (CWB) for the first time, especially with classes that I really needed to be on my toes with.
4. I only used my new laser pointer (huge thanks to Annie for organising this) once this week with one of middle primary classes. I felt uncomfortable and this was largely because I knew it would cause a sensation with students. I think I will be more comfortable when I need to point to something around the room rather than something on the white board!
5. Having ‘bukan’ & ‘tidak’ both written on the board was confusing. Would be considerably less confusing to just have the one word needed on that day.
6. I MUST remember to keep my pop up grammar brief. Pop up grammar is intended for the 4%ers and is not a mini lesson!
7. Not stopping to do comprehension checks when responses became automatonish. Stopping will get their focus back to the target structure by giving the meaning one more tweak.

What to incorporate into my week 2 lessons
1. I want to film one of the 6/7 lessons both for student and teacher evaluation.
2. MP & UP lessons on Wednesday & Thursdays need to take into account end of the week teacher & student tiredness, especially in the early weeks of term 1.
3. I need more practise with circling – will put up a poster on the back wall for handy reference when my mind becomes blank!
4. I need to move on, have a bail out activity up my sleeve or use other ways to get reps if something is not working.
5. I must revisit nama saya and siapa nama saya to ensure enough reps are achieved.
6. Maybe introduce the laser briefly to cut down on its novelty when it is eventually needed
6. Focus on the ‘Pleased to meet you” script. Mime first with monyet and me with monyet being the celebrity. Take photos using the ipad and discuss using ya/ bukan.
7. 5 min lesson chunks may help with all grades to keep it moving and engaging.
8. Having selected students sit in ‘first class’ (one of Catharina’s suggestions) on seats behind the students seated on the floor.
9. Reduce students seated for long times on floor. Look for active ways to include increasing reps.
10 Time to write daily student and teacher reflections!

How was your first week at school? Was your learning curve as steep as mine?